The Listening Window

October 8, 2020
Oakland, CA
Overcast and cool

“Close your hearing door and open your listening window.”

In the old days (prior to Covid), I was riding on the local municipal buses in Oakland, CA, where I live. One evening the bus was particularly crowded. I was sitting, but many people were standing, including a mother holding her six-month old baby in one arm while hanging onto the pole with the other. The baby began to cry, quickly escalating to a piercing shriek. The mother was trying to comfort her baby, but the desperate cries continued.

“That is one angry kid,” I said to the gray-haired woman sitting next to me. “That is a very hungry child,” she said, giving the baby the dignity of calling him a child. “His dinner is right next to him and he can’t get it.”

I fell silent, embarrassed. I was only thinking of the annoyance of the screaming baby, but my fellow passenger was listening to how the baby felt, his hunger, his frustration. She was a listener and she opened my ears simply by saying what she heard. I realized that I was only hearing, not listening.

We may not know how to influence the non-listeners in our lives, but the lady on the bus showed me a way – Speak Up! Say what we are hearing. We may awaken someone to listen with a deeper level of understanding, just as the bus lady did for me.

This means living with our listening ears wide open like the deer in the picture above.

Today, I am recommending a new book about listening in relationships, Being Together: Practical Wisdom for Loving Yourself and Others, by Padma Gordon. This book is based on the experiences of real people. It is practical, helpful, and available on Amazon here.

Your friend,

p.s. A proof copy of The Healer’s Way, by Rahul Patel, will be printed on October 12. By next month, I will have a copy! I will let you know when they are available. Also, the new website for Rahul Patel will be up soon.

p.p.s. What I am reading: Becoming Quan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion by Stephen Levine. Available on Amazon here.

3 thoughts on “The Listening Window”

  1. I love it when wisdom comes to you from a stranger! Unexpectedly.
    We’re just sitting around teaching each other!

  2. Good story Devianiben. Helpful for poor listeners like myself. I realize I never answered your email asking how I coming along with our book. Like you I am going very slowly. I’m still on the chapter about meditation walking. I continue to practice that. I was doing well listening to the sound in my head off and on all day. However that suffered a setback when we went to stay in my house in Crockett. Trupti moved out of the downstairs apartment after renting in 7 years. She has moved to Boulder to help with her Mother. I was a bit stressed while there working hard and making decisions to upgrade the apartment. Anyway I forgot to listen to the sound in my head. Now that I’m back in Pismo I am trying to listen again.
    Hope you are well and congratulations on finishing your teachers book. Let’s text or talk about our experience with Nada when you have time.

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