I just picked up The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life, by one of my favorite authors, Mark Nepo. He talks about the connection between listening deeply and the authenticity of spirit that is so essential for our well being. "We must meet the outer world with our inner world, or existence will crush us… If we don't assume our space as living beings, the rest of life will fill us completely the way water fills a hole." (p. 11)
"When we can listen deeply, we are strengthened to feel that everything around us lives within us and that everything within us lives as part of the world. When we experience both the circumference and center of the circle of life at once, we are then in the larger Self, the Universal Self, as Carl Jung describes it." (p. 4)
"But how do we listen? It is so simple and so hard. So obvious to begin and so elusive to maintain. In this lies the vitality of deep listening. To keep beginning. Over and over. To keep emptying and opening. And simply to keep listening. For to listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear." (p. 5)
"In truth, listening deeply and inwardly allows us to keep meeting the outer world with our inner being, and this mysteriously keeps us and the world vital. Often, the nature of the dance cycles us from being self-centered to being other-centered to being balanced as an integral part in an integrated whole. And when we're blessed to experience those balanced, integrated moments, it becomes clear that everything is relational. Everything inside us and between us is circulatory – and ongoing exchange of what matters." (p. 12)
"In my life, I have known truth and beauty and peace to be ever-present companions that I often sit beside, bemoaning their absence." (p. 15)
Enjoy your listening Self.