Last week at my son’s orthodontist appointment, I ran into my banker’s wife, Eden, and her kids (not literally if you’re following my recent collision with an anxious mom in the school parking lot.) Eden had coordinated both kids for same time appointments (pure brilliance for sure) and that left us sitting in the nearby spectator section watching dental games and chatting over the sound of drills. You find your social time (and venue) where you can when you’re a mom.
When Eden’s youngest was done, she plopped into the conversation and announced, “Let’s play I Spy.” After about five minutes of spying drills, I needed a new game. I waited for my turn and said “I hear with my little ear…” She jerked her head around, looked up at me, and paused. Then with typical 8 year old flex, she started to play along. We listened to all the sounds which were suddenly so much louder when we really paid attention.
I wondered how much I miss by rolling through my news feed and checking my emails in line at the grocery store. We live in a multitasking world, do we not? I remembered why I had studied martial arts for years (other than to sweat like a pig and collapse from exhaustion/pain at night.) It was to listen better. Not only to the sounds from the ear, but as Michael Bernard Beckwith says in Life Visioning, “the ear behind the ear.”
I love that. It makes me think back to an English assignment in Mrs. Farrar’s 8th grade class where I had to sit outside and write down everything I heard. I found a swamp out in back of my friend Laurie’s house where we loved to explore. I sat on a cement slab and absorbed myself in the orchestra of crickets, distant mowers, evening birds and quiet. I think that’s where I heard it very loudly, that quiet voice. It told me I was going to be a writer.
Each of us has it, this quiet voice. It has wisdom, and knowing, and our best intentions at heart always. It’s smarter than anything we seek outside of us. All we need to do is calm the monkey mind, listen, and it will whisper.