I am a firm believer that being a good listener is a skill that’s developed over time through self-observation and dedication. Likewise, it’s an ability everyone can work to achieve. Some of us, for any array of historical reasons, might have a little more work to do than others to be a better listener (I’ll be honest and place myself in this category). Hopefully, however, any extra challenges can help further ignite one’s zeal to persevere.
This blog is less about listening to others, and more about listening to the workings of our own mind. And doing so, with objectivity and patience, is essential to becoming more adept at listening to those around us. Starting right now, I invite you to better understand the desirable and less-desirable fluctuations of your mind. Such positive self-confrontation can be one of the most indispensible, empathy-inducing, and growth-ensuing gifts.
While meditation and yoga provide excellent platforms for inward listening, this awareness can and should be brought into everyday life. When you are joyful, listen and reflect upon what it is that brings such happiness. If you find yourself in a funk, try to sit and listen to your mind as you would a very dear friend. You might find the battlefield clears more readily and is replaced with new understanding.
When darker emotions creep into mind, such as jealousy, aversion, or strong attachment, find the courage to objectively acknowledge their presence and patiently listen for their source. Discovering their origin will not only allow you to weed accordingly, but also deepen your empathy for yourself and subsequently all others.
I certainly commit to joining you in this pursuit, one day at a time.
Oh -- one invaluable tool as you work: remember to breathe.
“The first duty of love is to listen.” -- Paul Tillich
Sophie Herbert is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student), a singer-songwriter, and a visual artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.