Learning How to Listen

Tree in FogFollowing the world’s commands and the inner divine’s are really two different things. And life offers us many opportunities in teaching us how to listen to what is needed. For most of us it takes many false starts, twists and turns, as we learn to tune into our own knowing. To be as the Buddha says: A Light Unto Oneself.

We cannot be equally devoted to two realities. Either we are inwardly focused and leaning into what is true or we are outwardly focused and being drawn this way and that way according to other people’s and society’s dictates. At some point, we have to make up our own minds about where our allegiance lies. In the end, it becomes about following your own heart, which leads to an altogether different center of intelligence opening up and guiding.

I acknowledge that this isn’t always easy to do and sometimes the stakes are very high. We might be risking a lot by following inner prompting. It can be especially scary and difficult in the beginning, as we learn how to attune to what may be a very silent and subtle knowing. Any resistance in our system to listening to this knowing may muddy it up. It takes both practice and the willingness to make mistakes along the way as we learn how to listen. Following the still small voice over time makes that voice more and more obvious until it is eventually second nature. Just as learning how to walk, to swim, and to speak a language takes time, so does this. Especially as it isn’t the normal way in which our society collectively operates.

It may look crazy to others for anyone to move in this way in their life. It may go against the collective agreement of how things should be. And this places the risks and consequences at an even higher mark. Luckily there are others in the world who are also doing this. And if you are lucky enough to have some of these folks as friends (which is mutually beneficial), it can be invaluably supportive as you continue growing in the ability to listen and follow divine guidance.

The stakes may be high, but the payoff is very much worth it. What we get in return by being in cooperation with Universal Will, is that the sense of self that we are in so many ways trying to dissolve by being a spiritual seeker thins out as personal will lessens. When we give ourselves over to divine will, what has always been right here becomes apparent: full unification with life without any layers of separation lying in between.

If we place our bets that surrendering will pay off in terms of getting rich, having things always go our way, or wishing to have a better life, then this isn’t the full surrender that life is asking for. Learning to trust where life is pointing has its own rewards. So, leave your ideas of equal exchange at the door, and see what true riches are in store for you when you truly let go.

As the saying goes: Freedom never looks the way we imagine it will. And that is a good thing!

Photo by Luke Andrew Scowen