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Listen. For the sake of listening. Not everything is about answers. Listen. Do not seek to be anywhere else in this moment. Listen and do not fight or recoil from the sounds around you, whatever they are. Melt into them. Listen. It can be about that. It does not have to be seeking answers to questions sacred or mundane. Listen. I hear the bird chirping and I think of how animals live their lives with purpose and wonder if they live with pleasure too. If they do, I think it is more about basic instinct need for pleasure. We, humans, are cursed with thought, and we get so lost there that we lose our ability to listen. To listen to the natural hum around and within us that lets us sink into a pure place of being or that alerts us if danger is near. Either way, we are past being able to simply be or react/adapt, and we get lost in the static, in the unnecessary noise.

And how do we exist in this world, the one we were born into, and at the same time find our way back? In part, it may be that it takes time, like a learned re-evolution. It is maybe like the idea of unsuicide in The Overstory by Richard Powers. Of being and teaching through being. How can I square my desire to be surrounded with books with my desire to be kind to this planet? Listen. Listen. Listen. Do not try to do or figure out next steps or a plan. Listen, and notice what you hear, even if it’s nothing, even if it is the hum of machinery, even if it is your own heart beating within your chest, even if it is your breath. Listen.

To listen without needing to do is such a challenge for us humans. And it is essential. Listen, if you will, if you can, in different places, and practice passive noticing. By passive noticing I mean not trying to do or solve anything, not trying to get from point A to point B, but by being aware, simply for the sake of being aware and alive in this moment. A wave of sadness is coming over me, like a reverse sunrise, and that is okay too. I do not need to attach reason and explanation. I do not need to build up a million stories of why. I can notice it, and be in it, and know that like a cloud or a wave it will pass, and it may come back again. Listen. Simply listen.

Retrain your body to take in, to absorb, without needing to do anything about it. Be a baby bird in a nest, still unable to fly, dependent on another for food. Your only job is to be in the nest and listen. Sometimes that means listening to your own chirp or the chirp of the others in your nest, and in this way you discover your voice. Listen to your voice, again, without the need to do anything other than listen. Yes, ideas may come to mind. Visions, questions, possible paths. Hold them gently and keep listening. Do not take any of them as musts.

Listen. You may, at some point, hear the greater existence all around you, the very hum of the earth. Listen then too. Do not rush up from your seat into a frenzied doing. Do not allow your mind to be tricked into thinking you have it all figured out. Listen, and do nothing other than listen. Listen for the pure sake of listening. Let listening, not answers or more likely more static and confusion, be the goal.

Let listening be the raft and the water and the wind and the self.

Listen, I do not have answers. Neither do you. We are fumbling and stumbling through this life as best we can. What I ask of you, if you are willing, is to try to quiet the static. Notice the static as clutter as much as physical things, or files on your computer, or food stuff your body does not want or really need. How do you quiet the static? You listen. You listen into it and through it and beyond it. You immerse yourself in the moment of where you are and do not try to tell yourself that you need the ocean or the forest or pure silence.

You listen, as an animal would, to the environment you are in, and you listen well and also softly, gently, not grasping. You feel the rhythm as part of you, and if there are answers you need, and if there are answers you are ready for, they will appear as if in a clearing, because the static no longer hides them. You can see them for what they are – no more, no less.

Listen. Not for a way to save or change anything, not yourself or the world around you. Listen. This may do nothing for the minutiae humans have filled our days with, but it will gently reawaken who we used to be before we turned thinking into a curse.

The words begin to unravel, perhaps because I know that for now, until I have more practice, the static will seep back in and maybe take over for a while. That is okay. That is nature. When I can, when I remember, I will guide myself back to simply listen. And I will meet myself in that meadow of listening for its own sake. For the listening that brings me back into alignment with the world beyond what I can hear, see, and touch from a place my body inhabits. Listen. Listen.

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