The fact that this was one of the best seminars so far was due partly to the variety of subjects we covered: the importance of listening (to the self and others), of writing, and of focusing on our breathing, as well as the role which suffering plays in our happiness. The main reason, however, was the clear demonstration by one participant of the entire point of the seminar. Namely, that we easily dismiss things if they do not fit into our narrow band of relevance, and that when we listen more closely we make life easier for ourselves. (That demonstration appears at 26:34 in the video below.)
Here are links to pieces which highlight the main subjects we discussed:
- Listen To Yourself (p.289)
- Write Stuff Down (p.327)
- Are You Still Breathing? (p.520)
- Finding Meaning In Everything You Do (p.9) Also: Don’t Walk Away Now (p.564)
Listening to yourself is about being particularly aware of what is happening on the inside, and noticing the signals your body and mind are giving you. Pay attention to whatever thoughts and feelings arise, regardless of how ridiculous you may think they are. Don’t judge them. Don’t analyse them. Just honour them. They may be subtle and fleeting, so look out for them. They are part of you and they are relaying useful information. They may be showing you the way, or merely telling you where you are. Learn to tap into this reservoir and make the most of it.
But don’t blindly trust the messages. Your mind, remember, is always capable of mischief, so some of the signals may be misleading. The more you investigate how you function, the more trials you run and the more evidence you collect, the more accurately you will be able to ‘decode’ the information which your body is giving you. (This was the subject of a previous seminar: ‘TS 10 – Calibrate The Machine’.)
It’s not just about listening to yourself. The discipline extends to listening to others. And whilst you are listening to others, continue to listen to yourself. That way you will hear much more than just their words. In order to be able to do this effectively, you need to be quiet and still. It’s the same as meditation; a fact which was explored at length in this seminar. The more you are tuned in to yourself, your environment, and the other person, the more effective you will be. And you can be unbelievably effective.
There is a real need for us to listen to others. Not only because it helps us to recognise and overcome our own self-importance, but also because it can make a real difference to the other person. Simply by listening, we create the possibility for healing and transformation. However, it’s not quite as easy as we think. We all struggle to listen properly and there are many reasons why. (See ‘Active Listening’ for a list of distractions.) It takes practice, but there are opportunities every day to listen. Whether to ourselves or to others, the closer we listen, the more we are likely to hear.
01:05 – You can practise every day
01:30 – Listening to yourself
04:30 – Listening to others
06:25 – Conflict resolution
07:50 – Listening & meditation (part 1)
09:08 – Listening helps you and the other person
11:00 – It’s difficult, but there are opportunities every day to practise
12:43 – Access your internal wisdom; listen to the signals from within
15:07 – Writing exercise (& the value of writing stuff down)
17:11 – Early evidence of how this works
17:51 – Listening & meditation (part 2)
20:13 – What role does suffering play in this work?
24:50 – Are you still breathing?
26:34 – The unequivocal demonstration of the whole seminar