“For behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal, or a window opening on something more than myself.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I ask you this question as it is what I asked myself when, after several days of procrastinating, I finally sat down to write this month’s It’s Soul Time. Why the delay? It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say; on the contrary, with each new day came more awe-inspiring experiences that stirred new Soul Alive topics that I was eager to share with you. When the time came to start writing, I was surprised to discover that I was unable to settle on one topic and let the others rest silently in the background. To no avail I told myself, ‘just do it – choose one.’
In my determination to settle on one theme of which to write, I mused back and forth between one than another. While going around and around the block of frustration, I was getting nowhere. The time came for me to just stop, sit down, put my ear to the ground and listen deeply to my Soul to hear what underlying message might emerge.
“In daily terms, the work of listening is to be constantly worn free of our preconceptions and preferences so that nothing stands in the way of our direct experience of life.” ~Mark Nepo
As I sat, struggling restlessly to forego focusing on the themes, to my surprise, a familiar scene with an amusing twist emerged. There in living techno-color was Julie Andrews singing gleefully as she danced gracefully through the Austrian Alps while I sat awkwardly on the hillside, bent over at the waist, with my ear pressed to the ground. If you can imagine yourself in this scene, chances are you know how tempting it was for me to abandon my well-meaning intentions and allow my attention to sing and dance with Julie.
Aware that I was at a choice-point, I did what I have come to know to do. I focused intently on my breath, and allowed it to gently expand deep in my belly and fill my whole being; then releasing it slowly & rhythmically, I enjoyed the sensation of its flow.
I felt heartened with the realization that this scene [Julie & all] was a masterfully designed Soul send; its amusing absurdity helped me to relax and open into the listening process. Its truth-telling imagery of my quandary then encouraged me to stay committed to keeping my ear to the ground listening with curiosity what my Soul might whisper.
Then, came the deep knowing that: 1.] this Soul Listening journey had meaning and purpose 2.] I was not alone, 3.] I was being supported, and 4.] I was doing what I needed – in that moment. I felt great gratitude, and a sense of awe and wonder.
Then, came the silence; then, the peace; and then, the clarity. At last I could name the theme song that was reverberating up and through my recent rich Soul Alive experiences. I knew I would share with you this reflection of my Soul Listening experience, and thus sing its theme song with the hope that it would inspire and encourage you either to begin or to deepen your ear-to-the-ground, Soul Listening journey. The message of this theme song is: in order to experience the Aliveness of our Soul and the Aliveness of others, and subsequently know our oneness with God/Source of all Aliveness, our first step is to be fully present to the moment. Aliveness is available to all of us in each moment. Our part is to show up and be fully present to it. I would not have been privy to the richness of my recent awe-inspiring Soul Alive experiences if I had not been fully present to what was happening in those then present moments.
My experience of Soul Listening tells me that beyond the hum of everyday life, the fullness of life is eternally singing. Our Soul is continually in tune with this glory. When we tune into our Soul, we hear what it hears; we access our innate capacity to participate in the glory of the eternal now. Each and every present moment in our temporal life is a gift; it is an open door to the fullness of all of life in that present moment.
In Mark Nepo’s book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred, he sings this same song beautifully:
“God is an infinite secret hiding in the open waiting for each of us to slow enough to inhabit our aliveness through our bareness of being.”
Do any us ‘slow enough to inhabit our aliveness through our bareness of being’ in every moment? No – not hardly. But let us keep in mind that we will never be able to do this practice perfectly while still on this Earth. Deepening into our ability to inhabit our aliveness is a lifetime of moment by moment practice.
In our effort to practice being fully present to the moment, may we learn to be patient and compassionate with ourselves. From our early years, we are well trained in a model of success that dictates that we must: willfully jump into action; stay a preconceived course; avoid at all costs any awareness of the ‘bareness of our being;’ and push to do more and do it faster. This model assumes that if we focus our energy on being productive — be it in our family, work or community — then that is the best we can do to live a meaningful, purposeful life. But times have drastically changed since this mindset was instituted in the world and consequently in our lives. Thankfully, we are invited to evolve with this dynamic change and live into a more expansive vision of life, one that honors our Soul and requires us to learn to live from the inside-out.
Our challenge is to learn to trust that our Soul will faithfully greet us when we stand in the open door that each moment presents to us. Few, if any, of us were taught early in life to stop, sit down, put our ear to the ground and listen deeply to our Soul to hear what underlying message might emerge. Is it not the time, however, for our sake and for the world’s that we deepen into this way of being in our lives?
In this moment, when you put your ear to the ground of your experience, what do you hear?
As always I welcome your sharing of your journey, comments, feedback, or questions. May you be greeted with delightful surprises on your ear-to-the-ground, Soul Listening journey.
If you’d like to continue exploring this theme further, please take a look at my reference materials below.
Suggested Soul Practice:
Just Stop – Put Your Ear to the Ground
Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred, by Mark Nepo
© 2013 Susan A. Purnell