The Art of Listening


“Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence.” – Eckhart Tolle

We can all tell when we’re really being listened to, probably because it doesn’t actually happen all that often. I know that I interrupt – a LOT. I’m incredibly energized by stimulating conversation and get SO excited when the topic is something I relate to! I want to interject, ‘Oh! Yes! I read about/experienced/heard about/have thoughts about that too!’ Or I want to understand better so I’ll ask, ‘Okay, so wait, who/when/why/where was that…’ Regardless of my good intention or desire to understand better, interrupting or looking away or just not being fully present doesn’t make the speaker feel good. So, for me, it’s a work in progress.

To really turn off the mental chatter, look into another’s eyes, and hear what is being said – without any interjecting, mind wandering or phone checking – can be such a beautiful exchange of energy and, the wonderful thing is, words do not have to be spoken in order to convey that you understand. That you relate. That you care.

Whether we realize it or not, being the field of conscious presence Eckhart Tolle is talking about gives whomever is speaking permission to be honest. It is such a gift, this simple act of being present. Not only in our personal relationships, but at the store. At work. Every day.

“Far more important than what you are listening to is the act of listening itself, the space of conscious presence that arises as you listen. That space is a unifying field of awareness in which you meet the other person without the separative barriers created by conceptual thinking. And now the other person is no longer “other.” In that space, you are joined together as one awareness, one consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle





Once you have started moving inward …it is very, very dark. Because for lives together you have never been inside, your eyes have been focused on the outside world…

…So when you suddenly come in from the outside, your own house looks dark. But if you sit a little while, by and by the darkness disappears. There is more light; your eyes are settling. For many lives together you have been outside in the hot sun,k in the world, so when you go in you have completely forgotten how to enter and how to readjust your eyes. Meditation is nothing but a readjustment of your vision, a readjustment of your seeing faculty, of your eyes…By and by, when you have adjusted to the inside light, you will see that you are the very source. The seeker is sought. Then you will see that the treasure is within you, and the whole problem was that you were seeking for it outside.

…You are rich, infinitely rich – as rich as nature itself. But you are looking in the wrong direction. The direction is wrong. That’s why you go on missing. And it is not that you will not succeed in life – you can succeed. But still you will be a failure. Nothing is going to satisfy you because nothing can be attained in the outside world that can be comparable to the inner treasure, to the inner light, to the inner bliss.

-excerpted from Intimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other, by Osho © 2001

Are you looking in the right direction for that which you seek?

Make your life sparkle.


Your life should not be okay.
Your life should be sparkling.
Happy, contented, complete.
Buddha’s life is not okay.
Krishna’s life is not okay.
Ramana is not okay.
They are K.O.
You understand?
They knocked out the nonsense out of themselves.
An ‘OK’ life should not be accepted by any intelligent being.
You have to discover, or unclothe your own Buddha Self,
your own Christ Consciousness, your own Shiva Being.
If you wish to know how, come to Satsang.

~ Mooji

“Satsang is the invitation to step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will burn only what you are not.”

Lately I’ve been feeling like a worker bee within a giant hive – I wake with a start, no time for anything but rushing around. I work a full day and feel exhausted by the time I leave to come home. Once home, I take care of children, pets, dinner, laundry, shopping and whatever else needs ‘doing’ and fall into bed late…only to get up and repeat the very same scene the next day. I feel like I’m on autopilot and it drains me.

It’s easy to give myself excuses and say, “Oh this is just a busy time. This is just temporary. I’ll get back into yoga and meditation and working out once everything settles down.” But then, suddenly, a month, 3 months, 6 months or more have passed and I am still spinning my wheels in the same frantic pattern.

The truth is, there is ALWAYS time once we make it a priority. And that little seed of discomfort within, when we don’t make time? That is our Higher Self whispering in our ear, ‘Time to stop existing and start living.’

We OVERthink.

We OVERworry.

We OVERemphasize trivial matters that our Ego has convinced us are important.

Joy is simple. Happiness is simple. Contentment is simple. The key word is gratitude. WE make it hard with our desires. Always wanting, suffering, bitching, moaning….

It takes nothing more than a walk in nature or star gazing to remind me of just how simple contentment can be. The key is in these four S’s:

Silence. Simplifying. Smiling, both internally and externally. Slowing down.

Ahhh…I feel calmer just reading those lovely words.

Ask yourself: What really matters? I bet it isn’t zooming through rush hour feeling aggravated, spending hours to make your house sparkling clean, or buying that new set of dishes you can’t quite afford. I imagine those trivial worries as items cluttering my counter, and with a sweep of my arm, I knock them all down and it feels sooooo good.

Spending a half hour mopping my floors every day will NOT make my life complete. But 15 minutes of meditation, and a 15-minute moonlit walk just might.

Ask yourself: what clutter can you knock down from YOUR internal countertop?

Make your life sparkle. Now, in this very moment, which is all we ever have.



You ARE the peace.


“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace! You are happiness, find out. Where else will you find peace if not within you?”

~ Papaji

Isn’t it true? When we’re in a good mood, feeling fine – everything seems to go our way. We hit all green lights on our way to work, our kids do what’s asked of them without complaining, and we love our jobs.

When we become agitated, just the opposite is true. We notice every single annoyance and ignore the multitude of blessings that surround us. The traffic lights are all still green, we just don’t notice it. We’re too focused on all the things we DON’T like.

The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ (for lack of better terms) are both always there. And, in fact, they are interchangeable based on our perspective! We decide. Day by day. Minute by minute. Breath by breath.

This life isn’t happening to you. You are creating it. So why not create a life filled with as much joy, peace and gratitude as possible? It’s a misconception – an EXCUSE we use – that we have to ‘look for’ and ‘find’ good things in life. It is an error to believe that joy is something that exists outside of you. Everything you need is right in front of you. Within you. All you have to do is open your (inner) eye and see it.


Communicating Your Reality


“…words can be communicative only between those who share similar experiences.”
Alan Wilson Watts, The Way of Zen

I stumbled upon this quote this morning, which was quite apt because I’ve been thinking about communication styles and the uncountable differing realities we humans have.

How often have you been asked, ‘What are you TALKING about?’ in a heated discussion with your parent/child/lover/co-worker? I will venture to say that it has happened at least once.

Likewise, how many times have you been in a conversation where someone is expressing an opinion and you think to yourself, ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing!’ It’s happened to me many times.

What IS ‘reality?’ Surely, MY reality is different than yours. Yes, we can probably all agree that the sky is blue, scrambled eggs are usually a breakfast food, and Barack Obama is President of the United States. But we each come from our own individual family with its own belief systems, feelings, habits and circumstances, so my feelings about eggs or blue skies or the President may be VERY different than yours. We grow up with different friends and experiences than anyone else. And due to the unique variables of these experiences and who is in our lives at any given moment, our definition and understanding of these situations may be completely different than someone who hasn’t encountered anything similar.

Sometimes my mind is like a runaway train. Depending on my state of mind, confidence level, or even how much sleep I’ve gotten, a simple statement may be interpreted as something with hidden meaning, and suddenly there is a novella being written in my head, completely fictional and borne out of fear. Then, the funny thing is, I TREAT THAT LITTLE STORY AS FACT, unbeknownst to the speaker of the original statement – which then leads to misunderstanding, resentment, and hurt feelings; not to mention confusion and maybe even exasperation on the other side.

Can you relate?

Perhaps this is why we feel inexplicably drawn to some people. We might say, ‘You really GET me!’ And we get them, without feeling we have to interpret what is being said. Many times when this happens, we find that that person came from very similar circumstances as we did. We may be able to complete each others sentences or share almost identical belief systems. Oh what joy it is to feel understood! The need to explain oneself vanishes, and you find yourself resting comfortably in this kindred spirit’s presence.

Remember that each of us comes from very different origins, none better or worse than our own. And be grateful for those who just ‘get’ you. It’s no small blessing.



Own Your Way.


I like walking because it makes you own your way. Whenever I walk somewhere, not only do I remember the way, but I also feel like I have a legitimation to be there. I visit a place by train, and I am a tourist, I walk to the same place on foot, and the place is suddenly mine, we belong together, I don’t feel like an alien anymore. I like that feeling. -Christoph Rehage


It’s not realistic or feasible for most of us to do what Christoph Rehage did – spend a year just walking. But it IS very possible for each and every one of us to own our way – to take off the blinders of our habit-driven and technologically-hypnotized lives and start paying attention.

Stop what you’re doing.


What does the sky look like in your corner of the world right now? How long has it been since you simply gazed in wonder at the clouds?

Your thoughts are a veil on the face of the Moon.
That Moon is your heart, and those thoughts cover your heart.
So let them go, just let them fall into the water. – Rumi

Close your eyes – listen. What do you hear? The chirping of birds? The laughter of children? The wind in the trees? Rain hitting the pavement?

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?  Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? – Henry David Thoreau

Open your eyes. What can you see? What do you really see? Look closely at the color that surrounds you, the veins of the leaves, watch an ant and see where he goes. Marvel in the miracles of this planet.

You didn’t come into this world.  You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.  You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts

How long can you go without checking your phone?

There is nothing so much like God in all the universe as silence. – Meister Eckhart

How many minutes can you sit in silence without giving in to the urge to fidget or turn on the t.v. (OR LOOK AT YOUR PHONE?).

Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates

Own your way. No matter what waits for us after this life, all we have is now. I encourage all of us to shed the insignificant that we mistake for significant and make it matter. Easier said than done? Maybe. Or maybe that’s just an excuse we make so our Ego can stay fed. I think it begins with simplifying, silence and connection to Source. Remember, everything you need is already within. Can you find it?