During a team-building activity where I was a participant, we performed an interesting and unusual exercise. We called it the ‘Listening Drill’, and it needed no equipment, no playing fields, and no electronics. All that was required to participate was to find a quiet place to lie or sit, close your eyes, listen carefully, and identify the sounds that come teasingly to the ears.
On the surface, it may not sound so challenging, but we marveled at the variety of noises that we heard while quiet and attentive. Any location can serve for listening; It can be done at home on the couch, in dark rooms, at the beach, and camping in the woods.
The conscious mind normally shuts out much in the way of sound input. Doing the drill was like snapping on a sound machine. Some noises- outside traffic, nearby voices, television, and other localized distractions, became immediately apparent. Others, like birds, insects, and neighborhood pets, appear with a little concentration. But the most interesting sounds were the ones we discovered way in the background of our daily lives, masked by the louder noises. Muted conversation in the next house, the humming of the refrigerator, wind rustling in the trees, far away highway sighs – the words behind the words. Once we focused our ears, any number of different aural wonderments became obvious, and we would often have contests to find who could identify the most. It was great fun and an interesting way to focus and to understand!
Lost in an illogical rush to plow headlong through time and the daily insults and grievances, we miss many little subtle treasures that whisper just at the edge of our consciousness. We are the worst for it. I enjoyed the last listening drill some years ago, but sometimes, late at night, I stare out the bedroom window -and listen… just listen.
Listening is not just hearing the sounds that come to our ears. I believe it is way beyond just mere hearing those words, sounds, noise and all that stuffs. Sometimes listening do not require an ear to hear, but we can listen with our eyes especially to the daily messages that we see all around us. However, it is sad that we choose to only listen to those things that we consider as food to our selfish wants and needs and beneficial to our egotistic ambitions in life.
I was assigned to so many places already and I had a taste of some luxuries in life that can only be enjoyed if a person is financially blessed. I listened to my heart that is why I decided to go back home and serve God’s people here in the diocese.
We hear all the sounds that we can hear, but most of the time we just cannot listen. Listening must prompt us to take a positive action on a given situation. Of course, I say positive action, because doing otherwise is not listening… it is ignoring an important message that can help not only you but maybe the whole human race.
We can always choose to what we like to listen to, just like when we select the kind of music that can help us tone down a bit and relax. We can choose to listen to the deceits and lies of the devil, or listen to the words that can inspire us to do great things for other people. I know a lot of people who just listen to other people and obey their recommendations and never thinking if the suggestion is good or bad. We meet people like this every day as we also meet people whose minds are hinged towards the destruction of other people.
The world revolves, time passes, we grow up, we grow old, we add our own noise to the din of humanity. And, as the sounds we make echo down the corridors of life, I hope we sometimes stop to listen to each other – to the words behind the words. Maybe we will hear, not random, confused noise, but our own small harmonious voices complementing the human symphony.
Listen Please! We deserve as much from each other.