Did you ever have a day where you kept getting the same message over and over?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  The message was to listen… to deeply listen.

Twitter, Chopra and Nightline

I found myself on Twitter late in the morning.  I was composing “my tweet” to post for others to read.  My timeline of tweets (messages) coming in from people I “follow” was streaming by in the background.  It’s easier to talk on twitter than to listen.  Aware of the fact that most of the tweets I receive I don’t read, I’m always surprised when someone replies to or re-tweets one of my messages.  I do try to pick up on messages that intrigue me and reply to them.  Occasionally, someone replies to my reply.  As Harry Nielsen, sang years ago “Everybody’s talking at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying…”

One tweet that caught my eye yesterday gave a link to a website with a Nightline video where Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer were debating the future of God.  I clicked the link and started watching the video.  Most Internet videos I stop after a minute or two if they don’t really really immediately catch my interest.  There’s just way too much stuff coming at us, we have to be selective.  I think I’m developing that “short little span of attention” that Paul Simon sang about.

I stayed with the Nightline video to the end… it was worth the hour and a half that I devoted to it.  The subject matter of bringing together science and spirituality for our positive future is one of my main interests.  If you’re interested, here’s the link to the video: Nightline debate.

It was truly a spirited debate, everyone getting a little feisty with perhaps the exception of Jean Houston.  Everyone had their opinion and really wanted to get it heard.  I’m not going to go into details of the discussion here other than to say that there were plenty of examples of where the panel did not totally “hear” what the other person said… or did not understand it… and selectively picked out words or parts of comments to strongly disagree with.  Once again, more talking without totally listening.

Later, I did a search of Twitter tweets for any comments on the debate.  Happily, there were a fair number of people simply thankful that the conversation was being held.  Yet there were a large number of comments by people who were so entrenched in their beliefs, one side or the other, that it was apparent they had not actually “heard” the other position.  In my opinion, this is one of the biggest problems facing our country… the inability to hear and honor a viewpoint that differs from ours.

Listening to My Wife, Listening to Jimmy Carter

Last night my wife and I were watching a movie… Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.”  She kept having comments about the movie.  Each time I would pause the movie so we wouldn’t miss anything.  This cycle of watching, pausing, her talking, then continuing the movie went on a number of times.

At first, I did not mind.  I like listening to her comments.  However as the interruptions continued, I began getting antsy.  Towards the end of the movie during one long break, every time she paused talking I would go to un-pause the movie.  Finally she said, “don’t worry, honey, I won’t talk anymore.”  That hit me!  What was more important… finishing the movie on “my time” or listening intently to the thoughts of someone I love so deeply?

How many times do we all get caught in that trap?  We get it in our minds that we are doing something, saying something, got to finish something… we get this selfish tunnel vision that things have to be done our way and on our time schedule… it becomes so much about me that there’s no time for you… heaven forbid, someone try to talk to us and interrupt what we’re doing or saying.  Have you ever talked to someone who was staring at a computer screen, and did not bother to look up at you?  Have you ever been the one who kept staring at the screen when someone was trying to talk to you?

Suffice it to say, I stopped the movie and really listened to my wife.  Her observations about the film were so deep, and most likely I’ll write about them soon.

Later when the movie was over, we played one of the extras on the DVD.  It was the complete speech by Jimmy Carter from 1979 where he spoke to the American public about the need to sacrifice.  Moore had used one clip in the movie, I would encourage you to listen to Carter’s full speech sometime.  He gives us a warning about our becoming so self absorbed in ourselves and in our obtaining things that he fears we will lose what is truly great about America and all of us as people.  It’s hard not to listen the Carter and realize we did not heed the warning.

Truly Listening

It’s not too late.  We can still listen to each other.  It begins with each one of us.  Yes, we have a lot to say and a lot to do.  We also have a lot to learn and a lot to give.  One of the best gifts we can give is to listen to others.

Life is not about you or me individually… life is about us, collectively.  There’s nothing wrong with expressing ourselves and our unique creativity in the world.  But, we must keep in mind that that’s only one side of the equation.  We must also be the listeners to others as they express their unique selves.

One of the most important things you can do each day is to take time to listen to others.  Deeply listen.  Stop what you’re doing and focus upon them… hear what they’re saying… not thinking about what you’re going to say… attempting to truly know where they are coming from… that kind of listening.

Spirit speaks to us every day but our ego frequently keeps us from listening.  It’s time to listen to Spirit.

Spirit speaks directly to everyone.  Listen to your intuition as Spirit speaks to you.  Take time each day to go within and to listen.  As you do, I believe you will gain insights that will deeply grow your life.  I believe going within will give you a deeper sense of connection to everything and everyone.

Spirit speaks through everyone.  Take time each day to listen, to truly listen to other people.  Take time to understand alternate viewpoints.  Take time to give the gift of your attention to someone else.  As you do, I believe you will gain insights that will deeply grow your life.  I believe that listening to Spirit as it speaks through others will give you a deeper sense of connection to the Spirit within you.

It’s time for you to stop… to look… and to listen… to deeply, deeply listen.  What do you hear?

Mark

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!