LISTENING OUT AND NOWNESS

Listening has an immediacy which the other senses don't have, and this is because sounds are sometimes very sudden and over in a split second; smells and sights usually last at least a few seconds.

Animals secure their survival by periodically sensing all around them for movements and changes. The background sounds are irrelevant it's the sudden changes and movements which are vital. Listening for changes requires and stimulates nowness like no other sense.

Possibly in ancient times, humans and animals only needed to listen. Nowadays with the constant humm of traffic, it is necessary to listen out.

Do a little yoga with your hearing, stretch it, listen out. Listen in all directions, near and far away, high and low. Imagine how early man might listen out for distant wild boar or herds of oxen or buffalo, and nearby tigers or snakes.

In this present reality, listen out for distant dogs, children and pigeons, at night, for hedgehogs and owls. You won't often hear them, that's irrelevant, listening out for them is the vital part.

Children's games include... imagine a car horn is a wild-boar... the approaching helicopter is a swarm of locusts... the rustle of a bit of litter is a snake ...

I know no better and simpler exercise than 'listening out' to stop thinking, or at least slow the thoughts down for a few seconds, and enjoy a moments inner peace.

By empathising with the animals acuity of listening we can't think and we have to be now.

Back to Chapter One : How Animals Practice Mindfulness