As you observe silence, focus your attention on whatever it is you hear. How attuned are you to the sounds of your immediate environment? Do they all seem to run together and disrupt your thinking? Or do you hardly recognize environmental sounds? How closely do you listen to the ones you love? How openly do you listen to the voices of the planet? When the day is complete, answer these questions:
- What was it like to focus my attention on my sense of hearing?
- In what way did my hearing impact my thoughts, emotions, or spirit?
- How does what I hear affect my physical energy or my attention?
- Did my capacity to listen to other people either increase or decrease with my focused attention? Why might that be?
Take time to ask yourself the following:
- Of the information I have learned up to now, what stands out as vital?
- What information seems least relevant to my spiritual development?
- Which of the practices seemed to move me spiritually, and which had little impact?
- Of the information I have learned so far, what would be best to review? (take time to do so now)
Focusing attention upon my hearing was a little difficult because I don’t normally put much effort into this sense. Aside from conversing with others, I don’t exactly notice all the ‘music’ of daily life. Nor do I really notice music all that much these days. Somehow I’ve developed the skill of approaching it all as background noise that I completely ignore. I’ve listened to whole albums of music while writing e-mails and assignments and can’t even recall *who* I was listening to, let alone what songs, once I notice the album is finished (usually many, many minutes afterward).
Forcing myself to hear more, though, I noticed that some experiences were richer. I forced myself to really listen to what my students were saying to each other in their class discussion today, which is kind of taxing when you’re trying to keep stack and restore tone when you notice students saying offensive or ungrounded things. I have to admit, though, I was super impressed with my students. I was teaching a text–Thomas More’s Utopia–that I’d never taught before and was very apprehensive about my student’s ability to follow it and pay attention, let alone talk about it for an hour. They totally rocked it, though, and they were saying some very insightful things. I was so…shocked, I guess, about how smart they all were being. I was way more invested in the class because of this, and my emotions were so much higher.
That emotional rush carried me through the rest of the day, and I found myself responding to bird song, my chickens’ clucking, a stray cat yowling, squirrels running across my roof, rain falling through tree leaves–all sounds I don’t even notice most days. These natural sounds made me feel more at peace, and made the rest of my work day much more enjoyable than any other workday I can remember in recent history.
Did attention on my hearing affect my physical energy? Maybe. I guess I didn’t feel like I needed a nap in the mid-afternoon, though I was a little tired and knocked off work a bit to have a phone call with my friend, Shea. It certainly improved my attention, though, and my capacity to listen to others increased nicely. I didn’t feel like I was going through the motions of existing, if that makes sense.
Of everything that I’ve learned in 366, I’ll still say that grounding is the single most important thing I’ve learned…and boy, do I need to restart that practice! It was super hard to calm and ground this summer, what with family barging in on me and then going through so much pain and illness. Least relevant? I think last time I said mixing up incenses. That’s still true to an extent, though I’m really starting to see the importance of “potions” in magic and how handy they are. I think maybe the least relevant things for me now are those activities that ask me to do some sort of charm simply because it’s traditional. Like the solar magic house blessing from Day 126. What is the point of that mathematical table? It means nothing at all to me, let alone “Sun.” Just because Agrippa said it “mathematically represent[ed] the spirit or energy of the sun” doesn’t mean it does so for me.
Meditations seem to move me most spiritually, as do things like creating devotional altars. I feel like I’m creating a gift for someone when I do that, and it brings me a lot of joy, peace, and understanding. You really have to know someone to give them an amazing gift, after all. There’s a lot of connection with that process.
What would be best for me to review? Grounding. 🙂