Mindfulness Activity #84
Good Morning. When we began practicing together, I was writing primarily to help each of us to use mindfulness to cope with drastic changes in our lives caused by COVID-19. Recently, some of our practices have focused on extending your mindfulness practice outwards towards others in service of better relationships, communities, and ultimately a better world.
One of the most important things that mindfulness can help us to do to improve relationships and our connections to others is to LISTEN to each other.
We have practiced listening to nature sounds with focus and attention before. For most people, this is a fairly pleasant practice. It is significantly more difficult to listen to something we do not want to hear without turning away. Imagine if we did mindfulness to the sound of nails on a chalkboard? Listening to someone you disagree with or whom you dislike is more like that than listening to peaceful nature sounds. Why? Because judgment gets in the way. When we listen to someone we disagree with, we often half listen. We are listening in order to form the content of the next thing we will say back as soon as we get the chance. Mindful listening to others involves listening with full attention to the sounds and sights available to you…without speaking. Listen non-judgmentally. If you notice a judgment, restate what you heard in your mind without judgment (e.g., I noticed that I disagree with her, not she’s stupid).. You do not have to agree with someone to listen, and you do not have to disagree either. You can simply listen.
For today’s practice, take a few breaths in and out, filling your lungs to capacity before exhaling. Then click the following musical piece and just listen as it changes moment to moment.
When you are finished. Take a moment to reflect on listening. As you move throughout your day, make an effort to truly listen to the words and experiences of others. Do not listen with an eye for what you agree or disagree with, just listen and let them know that you heard them.
People are interesting. I wish you interesting interactions today!