tmbt: deep listening
So how often does it happen? You’re singing a song to yourself that you didn’t hear anywhere and you get in the car, turn on the radio, and it’s playing? Not often, I’d bet. It happened to me tonight. I’ve been thinking about this song, wondering if I could get away with covering it as a tripped-out jazz/blues number. I sang it from Pearl St. past Canyon Blvd. to my car and got in and was practically on-beat with the song… “she says she talks to angels, she says they call her out by her name…” Holy cow! What made it even more intense was that I was walking late at night in an oddly-lit, deserted parking lot next to the creek… lots of rustling sounds and shadows, so was a little rushed to get into my car and feel safe instead of creeped out. Then wham! this song is on?
It got me thinking about listening. Where I was walking back from tonight was a gathering with one of my buddhist teachers, Sakyong Mipham, who gave teachings he said he’d been waiting to give for some time. He had been waiting, watching, listening for the right time. So what is it that we are listening for when our wish is to find the right time, to spring into action when the conditions are primed to sync up our wishes with everything happening around us? My hunch, and my experience (as highlighted in hearing Chris Robinson sing along with me just now) is that we are not waiting for one big sign, we are just watching it all. At some point, a little pocket in the atmosphere of spinning people and beings of all kinds opens up and lays an upturned hand into the space before us. If we are listening with the ears of our true selves, I think we see the hand. If we aren’t – if we are distracted, simply too busy trying to push our own hand into the air for what we want from a place of neurotic mind – we miss it. What we want doesn’t fit perfectly anywhere.
I have a doctor-friend, Dr. John Douillard, who recently noted a saying that he hears from a lot of teachers: “Do less, accomplish more.” His version? “Do nothing, accomplish everything.” I think what he means is that if we relax and stop trying to me the makers of the happenings, that the universe, or God if you will, just sends these hands, these angels, these opportunities that we need only say “Yes” to.
Maybe if we simply sing the song of beauty that wafts to us, we’ll start to notice that it’s simply the song that the radios of our world are tuned to.