“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness,
courage to fear, hope to despair.”
~ Howard Thurman
Grounded in the previous, deepening days of practice, we explore being with that which you might not want to hear: sensory experiences (sounds, images, tastes, smells, physical sensations), emotions, voices, and messages. These could come in the form of physical pain, a sound or smell you can’t stand, challenging feedback or criticism from others in your life, or even advice that’s difficult to digest. Remembering what it feels like to listen without judgment and expectation, see if you can tune into an experience rather than immediately blocking it out. Explore what it feels like to become present to your breath as you listen to the hard stuff. How might your breath support you? Try to simply listen without immediately responding, especially with constriction or defensiveness. What do you notice when you simply listen and allow?
Remembering how allowing can support our capacity to welcome, explore how a grateful heart might help you listen to discomfort. See if you can take in these more challenging experiences as opportunities to learn and grow from the messages being shared. Practice this only as long as it feels safe: Stretch your capacity to sit with discomfort without harming yourself. Tune in to your body serve as a channel of feedback that can guide you while you explore this practice. How is your relationship with that which feels difficult impacted when you listen open-heartedly?
Deepening the Practice
For nearly 30 years, Glenn Singleton and his colleagues at Pacific Educational Group (PEG) have been working with organizations — and the individuals within them — to build capacity to talk explicitly about race. Listening and staying present are central to all aspects of PEG’s Courageous Conversation principles. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the organization is hosting a weekly, online Courageous Conversation in which participants are invited to explore “multiple perspectives on race, racial consciousness, and systemic transformation in this unprecedented moment.”
Should you be inspired, please leave a reflection below…