Learning to listen

Written by Gede Prama

Hungry souls, burning souls, that’s a scene that appears everywhere. Let alone in hospitals and on highways, even in holy places, there are many hungry and burning souls. But this is not an ingredient to disparage the government, nor is the material so that everyday life becomes full of anger, but it is the material to immediately develop a beautiful heart. With a beautiful heart, not only you will become less angry, but also making the earth look like a beautiful paradise. The habit of seeing everything as a beautiful paradise, it is possible to guide the soul to meet a beautiful paradise after death.

One option available in this case is learning to listen. Not only because listening can relieve the burden of others, but also make us able to meet a deeper face of knowledge. Initially, someone will be hearing from the outside. Afterwards, he will learn to hear from the inside. As long as he/she diligent and sincere, just a matter of time we can hear the secret messages. In other words, perseverance and sincerity to listen is one of the menus of spirituality that should be considered. Especially if you want your soul to grow deep and beautiful.

As a starting point in learning to listen, always see people who want to be heard as suffering souls who need help. Get to know the network of their suffering. From financial problems, to a burning family conditions. From childhood full of problems, to families that are full of calamities. This starting point is needed, not only to alleviate the burden of people’s suffering, but also to keep you awaken along the way. Especially because when accompanied by compassion, the spiritual journey will be maintained and protected.

After making sure the starting point is right, keep all your passions and desires from correcting other people’s mistakes. Friends who acquire a lot of reading and high education especially, never use his/her reading and education to rape other people’s lives. Reading and education are medicine that come from the past, which are not necessarily right with today’s problems. Deeper than that, excessive lust to correct others makes one lose their own energy of empathy. A kind of energy that greatly eases the burden of others, while making the journey of the soul becomes deeper.

In psychology there is a not knowing approach as one of the therapy approach. Listen to other people with a mind that is relatively empty of the framework of wrong – right, bad – good, dirty – clean. See and treat them for who they are. Once again as it is. If a thought of giving advise arises, especially in the form patronizing, then it should be stored first in our inner warehouse. At the same time, focus the energy to listen to the person in front of us. The position of our body should lead to the person we are listening to. Our eyes should look in a cool and gentle way. And with a voice intonation that is always kept in a soft tone.

In order for our inner energy not to be absorbed by the other person who is being listened to, try to avoid getting swept away in the sad feelings of the person being heard. Instead, see all the feelings of that person just as the sky looking at the clouds that are passing by. Remind yourself again and again: “Everything passes with time. All just passing through”. Once we feels tired, especially feeling more anxious inside, touch the clear-quiet space between the two breaths, between the two minds, between the two feelings, between two memories. Then quickly return to your core task of listening.

When people tell us their stories, try not to carry a personal agenda while listening. For example, when people tell us about their problem, never mention that our own problem is bigger than theirs. When people share stories that their children are naughty, don’t interrupt with stories that our child is more naughty. It will only pollutes our noble duty in listening. As soon as the other person seems to run out of story, catch him/her with questions that can make their inner trash cleaner. Give an opinion that can make him feel less guilty. And also give him the advice that can help him feel that he was growing beautifully.

If the other person is asking for an opinion or suggestion, be assured that your opinions and suggestions are not full of blame. Especially because no one likes to be blamed. Moreover, he was injured in his soul. For that reason, keep in mind and speech away from all forms of judgment and rejection. Instead, choose suggestions that contain a lot of energy of acceptance. Guide them to be the best version of who they actually are. Never force them to follow your tastes and life calling. It will only alienate others in their own bodies.

After listening for quite a long time, and already convinced that you recognize the natural call of the other person, guide him to step back to his original natural call. As simple as a fish that grows easily in water, birds that fly beautifully in the air, people who grow beautiful in their own natural calling will come out of their trouble easily and beautifully. Every now and then remind yourself and your interlocutor, the rabbit’s food are grass, the pigeon’s food are corn. Likewise the human soul. Equipped with sensitivity, guide the other person to grow like a frangipani flower or lotus flower.

Frangipani flowers grows on dry soil, lotus flowers grows in wet ponds. Both are different, but both grow beautifully as they are. Every friend who often guides people in this way will one day grow deeper and deeper. Not only is it rich with outside knowledge, but it is also rich in knowledge from within. If diligent and sincere, it is not impossible that one day you will understand the knowledge in the secret realm. And that’s what all souls really miss.

Author: Guruji Gede Prama
Photo Courtesy: Putu Wirawan
Translated by: Family Compassion

About the author

Gede Prama

Gede Prama started his spiritual journey through a dialogue with his symbolic Guru in a village at the north of Bali. The journey is then being enriched with his experiences of studying abroad, his meetings with the world greatest spiritual Gurus: His Holiness Dalai Lama, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as Professor Karen Armstrong; and also being deepened by his intense meditation practices.

Despite the fact that he was once a CEO of a large corporation with thousand of employees, and was traveling abroad frequently for the purpose of teaching, yet, being deeply moved by the Bali bombing incident in 2002, he then decided to leave everything and went back to his home island.
He has never leave Bali for the past few years. In fact, he rarely leaves the silence of the forest where he lives, except for the purpose of teaching at the sacred sites within Bali.

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