The Secret Weapon
Spiritual practices have hundreds of recommendations for how we can train and practice paying attention. The practice of Recording and Listening is the one we recommend as the most powerful and transformative way of directly accessing the wisdom, love and compassion that is our authentic nature. It is the most effective way we’ve found to learn to direct the attention.
It is based on a radical idea that we could live in a conversation about what is true, what is real, what is arising in life in the moment instead of with the voices of karmic conditioning. If intelligence, love and compassion is what we are, would it not have something interesting to say?
The sad truth is that we are conditioned not to recognize the language of Life, even though we are built to receive it. We do have occasional glimpses of the way Life talks to us. How many of us have had the experience of noodling on a problem for days and suddenly, out of the blue, the solution “drops” in? That’s an example of what we are talking about.
Life speaks to us constantly and intimately through insight, intuition, and awareness. We are seldom cognizant of it because we are trained to have the attention on the conditioned process of “thinking.”
The process of thinking disconnects us from the Intelligence that knows. Attention is the mechanism by which we stay in touch with the river of Life wisdom. It is the antenna that controls the channel we are tuned into – Life or ego.
If we practice tuning the antenna of attention to Life’s conversation, we are learning to direct the attention to Life, to the Intelligence that animates all, to the authentic love and wisdom that we are.
Recording and Listening is the practice of creating a Life conversation. What would wisdom have to say to the knottiest problems that we are presented with? What message of appreciation would be received from that which loves us unconditionally? What encouragement would compassion offer when we are tired, aching, disappointed, unhappy, hurting, upset?
Even if we are skeptical about the process, we can still show up and the magic happens. As soon as we turn on the recorder and turn attention to what we love, what we appreciate, what’s beautiful — attention moves from the conversation of what’s wrong (the process of dissatisfaction) to what is so. Turning on the recorder to create a Life conversation is accessing Life, being and becoming the Intelligence that animates. Listening to a recording is receiving Life’s wisdom. Life creates the conversation. Life listens to it. Life in the form we call “me” has the experience of being lived.
We can access the wisdom, love, and compassion of the Intelligence that animates, because that is what we are. And this practice of Recording and Listening actually offers us that experience with a push of a tiny button.
This article is excerpted from What Universe Are You Creating? Zen and the Art of Recording and Listening.