I’ve recently had a few breakthroughs in my Recording and Listening practice. I want to mention that these breakthroughs were revealed to me while doing practice activities such as email classes, guidance, radio shows, and coaching.
The first breakthrough came with guidance. I had a block where ego was telling me that I did not have anything to record or talk about with the Mentor. I learned that I really did not run out of things to record and I could just talk to myself as if I’m my own best friend. I can say anything at all into the recorder.
So, now I just talk to record about any old thing and my best friend, the Mentor, listens and responds lovingly and compassionately.
The second breakthrough was to make appointments with myself to check in with my recorder aka best friend at certain times during the day. I typically checked in when I was doing other habits. In the morning right after meditation or my practice time, I recorded. After lunch, I took a walk with my best friend and recorded —and sometimes listened to —my recordings.
In the evening after dinner, instead of dessert, I talked to the Mentor and recorded things I was grateful for. As I started to Record and Listen more, I realized that I wasn’t really listening very well. I could now talk a lot and find things I wanted to record but when I listened, my mind would wander and thoughts would take over.
The third breakthrough presented as a question: How could I learn to listen better?
I kept trying to listen and it got a little better, but I still missed a lot. My attention kept getting pulled away. So, I started saying out loud what I had just heard. This was extremely helpful in keeping my attention on what I was listening to and I began to fully hear the recordings.
The activity is to repeat the sentence that was just previously said on the recording out loud. This has transformed my listening practice and it’s very similar to reflective listening. It has also helped me listen to others more closely.For many years, I would find myself in the grips of what I call the “urgency” process. I've had difficulty getting enough distance from this process to do the things that would assist and support. I was getting bamboozled and kept from Recording and Listening at these times.
In huge thanks to the recent Socratic email class with Cheri, I was able to see through this process in a most significant way. Recording and Listening was a major part of this.
In one of Cheri's responses, she asked something like: “How do you get distracted from Recording and Listening?”
Over the next few days I closely watched and made notes and recordings of the ways I get distracted from Recording and Listening, especially when in this “urgency” process. I made the list as succinct as I could so it would be clear in my consciousness.
I then made a recording of the ways I was getting bamboozled and distracted from Recording during “urgency.” Several times a day and all night I listened to this and other recordings from the email class.
Here's an example of how this assisted me in breaking free of this process: While cooking dinner one night, an insight drops in. The still small voice suggests recording that insight. Conditioning comes in “I can't record now, I'm cooking dinner. My hands are busy. I can't stop now. Later.” Having listened to the ways-I-get-distracted-recording several times, I stopped in the midst of cooking. I said out loud “There it is! There's that distraction that says I can't record now, my hands are full.” Then I said, “yes I can.” I went upstairs, picked up my recorder and made a recording of that very experience. “There it is – I see it – there's that distraction that says I can't record when my hands are full.”
This was very exciting.
By seeing and acknowledging the distraction, by not going with the distraction, and by stopping in that moment and making a recording, I felt exhilarated. Then it was as if breaking-free-of-resistance led to more breaking-free-of-resistance. Several more times that evening and for the days that followed, I've been more free of this “urgency process” and I have been Recording and Listening significantly more frequently.
When listening to your recordings, practice saying out loud what was just said on the recording to assist with keeping attention on your recording to improve listening. Then, continuously repeat this practice.