Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The sacred art of listening – nourishing loving relationships


To listen is to lean in softly
With a willingness to be changed
By what we hear
-Mark Nepo

What happens when there’s a listening presence? When we’re fully in that listening presence, when there’s that pure quality of receptivity, we become presence itself. And whether you call that God or pure awareness or our true nature, the boundary of inner and outer dissolves and we become a luminous field of awakeness. When we’re in that open presence we can really respond to the life that’s here. We fall in love.

This state of listening is the precursor or the prerequisite to loving relatedness. The more you understand the state of listening– of being able to have the sounds of rain wash through you, of receiving the sound and tone of another’s voice– the more you know about nurturing a loving relationship.

In a way it’s an extremely vulnerable position. As soon as you stop planning what you’re going to say or managing what the other person’s saying, all of a sudden, there’s no control. You’re open to your own sadness, your own anger and discomfort. Listening means putting down control. It’s not a small thing to do.

We spend most of our moments when someone is speaking, planning what we’re going to say, evaluating it, trying to come up with our presentation of our self, or controlling the situation.
Pure listening is a letting go of control. It’s not easy and takes training. And yet it’s only when we can let go of that controlling that we open up to the real purity of loving. We can’t see or understand someone in the moments that we are trying to control what they are saying or trying to impress them with what we are saying. There’s no space for that person to just unfold and be who they are. Listening and unconditionally receiving what another expresses, is an expression of love.

The bottom line is when we are listened to, we feel connected. When we’re not listened to, we feel separate. So whether it’s the communicating between different tribes or religions, ethnicities, racial groups or different generations, we need to listen. The more we understand, the less we fear; the less we fear, the more we trust and the more we trust, the more love can flow.

Isn’t it true to that to get to know the beauty and majesty of a tree
You have to be quiet and rest in the shade of the tree?
Don’t you have to stand under the tree?
To understand anyone, you need to stand under them for a little while
What does that mean?
Its mean you have to listen to them and be quiet and take in who they are
As if from under, as if from inside out.

 by  Tara Brach
Adapted from her book Radical Acceptance (2003)

Delight, Discover, Dare: The Alphabet of Happiness -- 'D'

Happiness comes in many forms. The more we reflect on happiness, the more we will notice it in day-to-day life. The more focusing on happiness becomes a daily habit, the faster we train our neural pathways to make happiness our default setting. Sound good? Here are three ways to increase your happiness now, all starting with the letter D.
Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight. -- Hannan Arendt
The potential for delight is everywhere. Just as a beautiful landscape delights the eye, and songs universally delight the ear, you are wired to be delighted by the awesomeness of life. The sublime beauty of nature exists all around you -- all you have to do is notice, appreciate and take it in. By making the time to savor an experience or a moment of connection, you will delight in the joy of being alive. This is not something external. From infancy onwards, (just watch a baby laughing) we are born with the innate capacity to be delighted. Delight is also not a cerebral concept. It's an undeniable feeling that washes over you, through you and lights you up from your very core. From the quiet feeling of profound communion to the high-intensity of a peak experience, delight shows up in many ways. Whether you are immersing yourself in the rhythms of dance, the thrill of savoring a sunset, the ultimate chocolate creation, or the way someone else is mirroring your own magnificence, allow yourself to delight in the feeling of delight. You are connecting with the potential for full-out joy that is your birthright. What has surprised and delighted you?
"Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." -- Goethe
Have you ever had an amazing idea come to you in the shower, in dreams or at seemingly random moments... and then proceed to start doubting yourself that it was possible? If you are open to it, inspiration shows up; the real question is "Do you dare to act on it?" I love the quote by Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
What if you got yourself out of the way and trusted that the inspiration has come to you for a reason? What if you gave yourself permission to explore it? Not in a "This is not realistic" approach, but in the "Imagine what it would feel like if..." way. Then, what if you dared to take the first step in realizing it? By having the courage to make the first move, you are officially in the game, and that brings a higher level of attunement, engagement and openness to all the wonder that can come your way. The idea that the Berlin Wall could fall was inconceivable and ridiculously bold for a long time... but it happened. By daring to dream in and act on an inspiration, you open yourself up to what life wants to bring forth. As you take one small step and then another, you may be surprised to notice that the universe is conspiring to help you in unexpected ways. Dare to let life flow through you.
The greatest journey is not outside yourself; it's from the inside that you discover who you really are.
Though it's tempting to resist the struggles that come our way, (Really -- do I have to deal with that too?) what if they can be viewed as doorways to discovery? When you reflect on the lessons that you have learned by dealing with previous challenges, you discover how much stronger you've become as a result. When you cultivate self-compassion and consider that even when things didn't go your way, there just may be a bigger plan, you discover a growing sense of inner peace and self-love. As you have access to more love for yourself, you discover how much easier it is to love others. When you risk being authentic and expressing vulnerability, you discover that it brings you closer to the people that matter, rather than further away.
As you approach life with curiosity instead of fear, you uncover areas of interest that you never knew you had. When you challenge yourself to rise to an occasion and test yourself in new endeavors, you discover how brave you are and how far you can go. As you immerse yourself in a pursuit where hours feel like moments, you discover the timelessness of being in flow, and that you can tap into something greater.
When you listen to your inner voice in the stillness, you discover how deeply you are connected to all of life, and that you already have everything you need... inside of you.
What delights you in life, and what have you discovered when you dared to follow your dreams?
For more by Randy Taran, click here.
For more on happiness, click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Only Power of the Mystic

 -by Hazrat Inayat Khan

 Listen To Reading!

The only power for the mystic is the power of love.

Every kind of power lies in this one thing which we call by the simple name: love. Charity, generosity, kindness, affection, endurance, tolerance, and patience--all these words are different aspects of one; they are different names of only one thing: love. Whether it is said, 'God is love,' or whatever name is given to it, all the names are the names of God; and yet every form of love, every name for love, has its own peculiar scope, has a peculiarity of its own. Love as kindness is one thing, love as tolerance is another, love as generosity is another, love as patience another; and yet, from beginning to end, it is just love.

Remember therefore that for higher attainment on the spiritual path, study is secondary; all knowledge of occult and psychic law, all magical powers, are secondary. The first and most important principle is the cultivation of the heart quality.

One may ask: How to cultivate the heart quality? There is only one way: to become selfless at each step one takes forward on this path, for what prevents one from cultivating the loving quality is the thought of self. The more we think of our self the less we think of others, and as we go further the self grows to become worse and worse. In the end the self meets us as a giant which we had always fought; and now at the end of the journey the giant is the stronger. But if from the first step we take on the path of perfection we struggled and fought and conquered this giant which is the self, it could be done only by the increasing power of love.

What do I mean by love? It is such a word that one cannot give one meaning. All attributes like kindness, gentleness, goodness, humbleness, mildness, fineness, are names of one and the same thing. Love therefore is that stream which when it rises, (it also) falls in the form of a fountain, and each stream coming down is a virtue. All virtues taught by books or by a religious person have no strength or life because they have been learned; a virtue that is learned has no power, no life. The virtue that naturally springs from the depth of the heart, the virtue that rises from the love-spring and then falls as many different attributes, that virtue is real. There is a Hindustani saying, 'No matter how much wealth you have, if you do not have the treasure of virtue, it is of no use'. The true riches is the ever increasing spring of love from which all virtues come.

--Hazrat Inayat Khan from "The Bowl of Saki"

Prescription for happiness

Video from KarmaTube

Some days, you need to remind yourself about what's truly important in life. So sit back with a cup of your favorite beverage and give yourself a few minutes to savor this sweet video, which gives you a prescription for happiness in two minutes, starting with "show up."