by Troy Chapman
I believe “the truth is out there,” as they used to say on the old X Files series. Of course so is the beauty and the peace and the good and the right. For me, these things are real and they are present. Not somewhere else or sometime else. They are here now; they are “reality.”
Then there is our perception of reality. These are two different things. Reality is what it is, but our perception is always shifting. Sometimes it’s clear and accurate, often it’s not. When it’s not, we say, “The world is confusing. Things are not clear.” We say this because we mistake our perception of reality for reality itself.
Reality is perfectly clear. What we should say is, “My perception is unclear right now, I’m not seeing well.” That way we would focus on fixing our perception when “things are not clear,” rather than getting frustrated or angry with life.
This is why conscious listening is important. The problem, whatever it is, isn’t out there, it’s in here. Life never stops speaking peace to us, nor love, happiness, hope, humor and wisdom. It’s speaking but we have the TV or the headphones or our own constant inner babble drowning it out. “Speak up!” we scream, but life for the most part won’t shout about these things. It simply keeps speaking quietly and tells us, “If you want to hear, quiet down.”
This is the first thing we need to know about listening. It’s us that need to do it. It’s us that need to change our ways. In relationships with others, we argue and accuse the other of being in the wrong. This seems right when we listen only on one level, but when we begin to really listen we always find that they are speaking the truth on some level. They’re telling us something we need to hear. When we hear it, sometimes we have to tell it back to the other because they didn’t even know that is what they were saying. But they often recognize it when they hear it and healing occurs. Life speaks solutions when we listen.
Life also speaks our dreams. It remembers what we forget about ourselves and whispers it to us all the days of our lives. It tells us, “Remember? This is what you want to be. This is how you want to spend your life.” Mostly we don’t hear, and all the insanity of the world arises from this deafness. When we listen, we’re healed, made whole again, given back our power. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been deaf. Life never stops speaking these things. As soon as we listen we hear them.
It speaks our values too. This is what you care about, it says. When you stop listening to all the bells and whistles, all the experts telling you what you ought to care about to be cool or normal or well-thought-of. Life is smart about these things; it’s a wise old spirit. It knows some things, as they say.
And how do we know if we’re listening? There is a test. On this level, life begins every sentence with “compassion.” I know I’m listening when this word, this energy, washes over me and through me, wiping out fear and craziness like a wave wipes out footprints on a beach. When I hear this sound of compassion in my heart, I try to keep very still and listen closely because I know there are good things coming. Life is getting ready to speak.