Letting Life Listen

The Recording and Listening Practice is multi-faceted, and we can bring the spirit of inquiry to many different aspects of this practice. Lately, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the “listening” side of Recording and Listening.  I’m having so much fun that I wanted to share my process.

When we first started the R/L practice, I diligently labeled each recording, grouped it with others of the same topic, and placed it into a play list. I kept things neat, tidy, and organized. A few months in, as I found I was recording multiple times each day, I realized that was not a sustainable approach.

I now have thousands upon thousands of recordings. I still group them into playlists when there is a specific topic I want to look at, and that’s helpful for being able to listen back, but my favorite way to listen is to let Life choose. I put all my recordings onto my listening device (or as many as will fit at any given time) and hit shuffle. I call this process “Seaweed.” (I’ll explain the name later in this article!)

The practice came about from an insight that “I” would look for a particular recording in order to feel a certain way. And, of course, that never worked because it was actually ego looking to “feel a particular way” and ego ensuring that that feeling was never achieved. Closed suffering loop.

Once I saw through that process, I decided to let Life choose. All kinds of thoughts, emotions, even physical sensations would arise as I listened. One time a particular recording might be deeply inspiring and the next time that same recording played it might be “flat.” I started to relax and just watch, not take it personally. I realized there must be just as much for me to see in what happens as I listen as there is in making the recordings. This is when the seaweed image dropped in. I pictured one of those incredibly strong pieces of enormous brown, silky seaweed anchored to the ocean floor.  It is infinitely flexible, and it moves in every direction, which adds to its strength; yet seaweed is solidly rooted. There is something very majestic in that.

So, I began to listen in that “Seaweed” way— flexible, rooted, here. And the most amazing thing happened: as I did that, I began to be open to hearing the recordings. Really hearing them. I was available for the wisdom, love, and compassion in the words. Instead of being an “I” trying to get something from the recordings, now it feels now like Life receiving the gift of Life.

I have seen my whole life in the process (and heard it too!). If “how we do anything is how we do everything,” then it is no surprise that control, managing, and wanting to feel a certain way would show up in my R/L practice. I found that Seaweed is a wonderful way to practice letting Life lead and enjoy the perfection of Life unfolding.

It is truly uncanny how Life picks just the thing that the Being needs at any given time!


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