Meditation as listening
My meditation practice changed a lot during lockdown. Some of the things that used to encourage me to practice had shifted, and I was given the space to notice that.
I realised that I could no longer make myself do any practice that feels trying to get somewhere, or to master a technique, or as a self-improvement project. It seems I used to be more motivated to meditate when I was trying to find a cure for emotional discomfort!
So what does that leave? At the moment (until things change again), it leaves meditation as an act of listening.
To the rise and fall of body sensations.
To the flow of emotional energy.
To the presence in the land – of the air, the ground, the plant and animal beings.
To something wiser than what my thinking mind knows.
To the insights that can only be received by the imaginative part of me.
Just listening. Not judging, or fixing, or trying to make something happen.
Listening more deeply.
There’s an indigenous teaching about the importance of ‘deep listening’, which I have come to think of as listening with the whole of my body.*
To me, that sometimes feels like like listening with my eyes, or seeing with my ears. A brightly-coloured flower seems to speak to my eyes; or a sound can bring me information just as directly as anything visual.
Going into lockdown gave me the space to take baby steps towards deep listening. Coming ‘out’ of it is giving me the desire to continue.