When Do We Take Time for Listening?
Many of us feel we are always running out of time. The present rushes into the past, pushing us into the future. We struggle to keep up with the flow of time in our lives but find ourselves carried along to the next thing.
We fear if we take time for listening, or catching our breath, we will fall behind and miss whatever is next.
Even in the worlds we create for ourselves, spiritual life is not bound by time.
Spiritual life lives in the present moment. We let go of the memories and fears, the anxiety and regret which distract us.The rhythm of spiritual life allows the pressures of time to fall away so we can listen more clearly. We stop, listen to sacred stillness, and the depth which we can so easily miss is with us.
We do not control the schedule of spiritual life. I know people who work hard to organize spiritual life and become frustrated. Others do not become interested in spiritual life until something sparks it in them.
Listening to sacred stillness is not something it takes time for us to learn. Taking time for listening is not complicated, even when it can be challenging.
Spiritual life grows in us as we take time for listening. Contemplative practices may help us grow in openness, but they do not make us more spiritual.
When do we take time for listening? How do we experience our days and nights in ways which allow us to take time for listening?
Are there steps we can take to help us become people who take time for listening?
Each of us approaches our need to take time for listening in our own way.
When We Take Time for Listening During the Day
Some of us want to take time for listening by being as organized as possible. We look at our calendars and designate time for listening to sacred stillness. Many of us want to establish a daily contemplative practice and have set times each day for listening. We might choose a particular place for listening once or twice each day.
I know people who commit to take time for listening to sacred stillness when they wake up each morning. They want listening to be their highest priority, the first thing on their schedule.
Other people need to get themselves awake and moving before they can listen effectively. We may have responsibilities to other people in our families. Some of us need to have some coffee or tea and eat something before we can listen well.
An essential part of taking time for listening is finding what works best for us.
For many of us, our days are more intensely scheduled than our nights. We may face responsibilities and expectations which mean we do not choose how we use our own days. Some of us have long commutes or regularly travel for work.
We may want to establish a regular schedule to take time for listening, but it might not be possible for us. I know people who take a walk at a regular time each morning or each afternoon. It can help us to move around and change our perspective.I also know some people who spend the first ten or fifteen minutes after arriving at work in their cars. It is important for them to take time for listening between their commute and starting their work day.
There are many suggestions and recommendations about how to take time for listening during our days. The key is what works for you.
When We Take Time for Listening During the Night
I know people who build a contemplative practice of listening to sacred stillness in the morning and the evening. It is important to them to seek balance and take time for listening twice each day.
Many people find it as challenging to take time in the evening as it can be in the morning. They may spend time with their families and friends. Some of us continue working into the evening.
There are benefits to practicing twice each day. The essential aspect of listening is when our practice helps us become more open to spiritual life. It is not about simply following rules or guidelines.
Another way I take time for listening during the night is when I wake up or cannot sleep. Many of us struggle at times with sleeping.
I have found a contemplative practice of listening can help me relax physically and spiritually.
When we take time for listening during the night we help ourselves restore our natural rhythm.
Listening to sacred stillness allows our bodies and our minds and our hearts to fit together. We are not controlling or forcing ourselves to relax. Our breathing and thinking and feeling take time for listening.
When we take time for listening it does not necessarily resolve our problems. It helps us approach whatever is keeping us awake from a place of prayerful openness.
When We Take Time for Listening
We take time for listening and become more open to spiritual life around us and within us. No matter what schedule we choose a contemplative practice of listening helps us become people who listen.
Our lives are typically spent immersed in things which distract us and discourage us from listening. When we take time for listening regularly we practice not allowing ourselves to be distracted.
Sacred stillness is in the universe all around us and in our own hearts and minds. When we take time for listening we pay attention to life on a deeper level in more intimate ways.
We may choose to follow someone else’s guidelines or their example. What is most important is we find an approach which helps us and we follow it.
When we take time for listening we become more open and honest.
When will we take time for listening today?
How will we set our priorities to take time for listening regularly this week?
[Image by nathanmac87]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.