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Learning the art of listening

The art of truly listening is sometimes a hard one. A number of my close friends know the challenges I’ve gone through especially the one dealing with pain management. It’s humbled me and taught some crazy life lessons. I don’t think I am specially wise or misplaced! But what I’ve often told those that I love is that I don’t want to be remembered for any challenges. I don’t even wish to see myself in this way.

Again, even in trying to be positive, one must be humble. It is the only way to feel genuine empathy for anyone who needs help or even just a listening ear. Another aspect of hearing is to be present. Being truly present seems to be an art that is disappearing from the tribe of modern humans. I am guilty of this far too much. Guilty with oh gawd, has so & so messaged me back? What shall I have for dinner tonight? All this while someone has graced me with their sole attention.

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My favourite spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh uses a special poem from the Lotus Sutra to explain this :

The universal door manifests itself
in the voice of the rolling tide.
Hearing and practicing it, we become a child,
born from the heart of a lotus,
fresh, pure, and happy,
capable of speaking and listening
in accord with the universal door.
With only one drop of the water
of compassion
from the branch of the willow,
spring returns to the great Earth.

I like spring. But I think any day is a good day to spare a drop of water. . .

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