Posted by on Feb 12, 2012 in Listening | 2 comments



God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.   – Mother Teresa

It’s early in the morning.  My house is entirely quiet right now.  As I slow down my busy mind, I can start to tune in and notice that there actually are sounds happening.  The low gentle hum of the refrigerator, an occasional car passing by, birds chirping.  This focus on the sounds around me reminds me of something I used to do with my first grade class.  A listening walk.  The Listening Walk was such a treat because it was a great way to get twenty five six year olds to be silent for about a half an hour.  Ahhh.  Quiet times were always a treat when I was a teacher.  I would give each child a clipboard with a piece of paper and a pencil and off we would go around the schoolyard.  Sometimes the kids would get so excited by a sound that they would almost shout it right out loud.  Something would stop them and I would silently motion for them to write or draw the sound on their list.  Somehow there was a certain reverence that the class had on these walks.  No one ever did shout out during the Listening Walk.

I used to take a lot of time to be silent and listen.  I had a daily meditation practice for many years in my twenties and thirties.  But for many years now, I seem to have lost my connection to this art of listening in the quiet hum of early morning.  My heart tinges with sadness and an adolescent yearning to get reacquainted with this silence, this stillness.  Not sure why the yearning is adolescent, but it is clear that it is.  Maybe my earlier experiences with meditation were like the elementary school Listening Walks.  And though I thought that there was a quiet maturity in the rich fruits of my meditations in those earlier days, I now notice that I did often want to shout out what I had learned in some exuberant way.

I now believe that I actually do have a quiet maturity about me. Or the possibility of quiet maturity.  Yes, I still have the twenty seven year old Patricia who lives on and will always live on inside of me.  But the quiet maturity of middle age is calling me.  And a return to a meditation practice is calling me.  Now is the time.  I’ve tried to force it several times since I stopped, inexplicably, about ten years ago.  It was never the right time.  But it is clear that the time is now.

Listening in stillness is quite different than listening in chaos. Of course, learning to listen in chaos is a quite a very challenging thing to do.  Not for the faint of heart.  And in some beautiful unraveling of my life path and the clear sight of looking back to see what you’ve been doing, I can now see that I indeed took on the huge challenge of learning to listen in the midst of the grand loud parade of life.  Listening through dozens of moves into new living spaces, listening through deep emotional and physical pain, listening through many troubled relationships, listening through grief, through despair, through constant change.

And now, I don’t want constant change.  I want stillness, quiet, consistency, predictability.  I’m not sure if I will achieve those things in my life.  But I feel certain that this call to begin meditating again, meditating from this new place where I have developed deep listening skills in spite of whatever chaos is going on around me will bring some pretty powerful gifts.  Ooh, I can’t wait!

How about you?  Are you listening?  You can absolutely begin listening from where you are.  It doesn’t need to be some Himalayan mountain top; it can happen in the midst of your crazy chaotic life.  Just consider the possibility of listening from where you are right now.  Life is talking, listen up yo.


  1. I have had that same calling for sometime but it is only getting louderas the days pass. I feel the need to do yoga and meditation. I must do it now.

    It’s funny I just realized after reading this, that I do have those ” callings” people talk of…but I always thought my callings are insignificant to there callings (I know I should never compare myself to others).

    Maybe this is the path that will lead to other things…

  2. Hi Rose,
    How are the yoga and meditation coming along?
    Much love, Patricia

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