Listening 

by Samantha Kinkaid

During meditation, we are invited to listen to what is present, what may be calling for attention in each moment. In our personal practice - on the cushion or the street - there are opportunities to meet, greet and welcome the range of life experiences as they arise.

After we are practiced at the skill of listening, the movement between inner and outer sounds and vibrations can become a subtle art, a dance, a poem. After we have sincerely welcomed emotion, thought, sensation, a friend, client, stranger, we are indeed open and receptive. We can then hear and feel a deeper listening, beyond the function of the ears, beyond a protocol or technique. This is beautifully captured in the words of Lorin Roche in the Radiance Sutras, a translation of the Vijnana Bhairva, Verse 15:

Bathe deeply in that ocean of sound
which is even now vibrating within you,
resonating softly,
permeating the space of the heart.

The ear that is tuned by rapt listening
Learns to hear the song of creation.

First like a hand bell,
Then subtler like a flute,
Subtler still as a stringed instrument,
Eventually as the buzz of a bee.

Entering this current of sound,
The Listening One
Forgets the external world, becomes
Absorbed into internal sound,
Then absorbed in vastness,
Like the song of the stars as they shine.