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  • Mary Davis

The Art of Listening


Speaking our truth is one of the best ways to get to know ourselves. Many a heart can be healed by the simple act of uncensored expression in the presence of quiet compassion.

So while it may seem passive to find yourself on the listening end of a conversation, you are giving a precious gift.

I’m not sure when my self-conscious veneer started to crack, but I must admit I talk to horses a lot these days.

They don’t interrupt me when I’m talking; they nod between bites of grass; they have compassionate eyes.

They are the perfect sounding board for esoteric thinking and they can handle a wide range of emotions without getting squirrelly.

Their silent kindness reminds me of the incredible service to humanity given by a good listener.

Yesterday I had a long chat with Floyd.

After much thinking, I had come to the conclusion that self-love is the foundation of spiritual practice. When we acknowledge the beauty and divinity within, we open to beauty and divinity in all things. I was working through this, wondering how I had missed the obvious for so many years.

It started pretty innocently.

“Hi Floyd. You’re SO beautiful … and so am I!”

And with that I started to cry. Why? Because I haven’t thought of myself as beautiful in a long time and saying the words had played a tender chord in my heart.

I went on to tell him how we have radiant light that shines out from within and that our radiance does not stop with this skin or these bones, or that fence or this field;

that our radiance connects with divine light and becomes far more vast, extending up to a limitless sky, encompassing as much as we can bear to hold within our vibration.

And off I went, going all cosmic on him.

He stood there listening, then walked closer and laid down by the fence near me. I talked on until I felt my heart break open and integrate the lesson.

What a blessing to be able to speak it.

Great listener, that horse.

Perhaps we can all take a cue from Floyd and listen patiently while someone sorts something out.

Or while someone vents, or cries, or rambles on.

Sometimes we just need to speak the fears out of our minds to disarm them.

Sometimes we just need to speak the dreams out of our hearts to embolden them.

Sometimes we just need to be in the presence of quiet compassion to heal something.

And with a small act of words, and a big gift of listening, the healing begins.

In The World:

  • Active listening is easy. There is no need to fix anything. Relax; listen as if there is no place you'd rather be; nod between bites of grass; and convey understanding. Your simple loving presence is all it takes.

In The Heart:

  • I give love to others today by giving the gift of compassionate listening.

Compassion can be a practice. Holding "space" for another who is hurting is a wisdom of the heart that we can hone. —Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

Floyd

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