Today features Part 2 in a 6-part series that’s all about Sacred Conversation – not with me, but with your heart. You can read Part 1 here. Each post offers a new aspect of the topic, the practice, and its signicance. and concludes with reflection questions and prompts to invite you into the most important (and ongoing) conversation you’ll ever have. Truly.
PART TWO – TENTATIVE LISTENING
When I first began to consider it, the idea of listening to my heart scared me to death. Because deep inside, I already knew what I would hear. If I listened for long, I’d actually have to do something about the things my heart was trying to tell me. It was far easier to stop listening—or do so only half heartedly.
Most of us have been discouraged from listening to our hearts. We’ve been told they can’t be trusted; that objective, reason-based mental processes are far more reliable. Understandably then, when our heart invites us, again and again, to an inner, subjective, emotion-based conversation, we convince ourselves that our head knows better.
But your heart waits patiently because it knows that it knows better. And so, tentative listening is a very good place to start.
When you begin, you can expect to be confronted by thoughts and emotions that feel contrary to your existing circumstances, relationships, or responsibilities; things you may expend a lot of effort to not think about or feel. Not surprisingly, you are then far less-than inclined to quickly embrace and inculcate everything you hear. You hold back. You test the waters. You wait. You listen some more. Just like conversation with another person, yes? You make sure you can trust the source before you slowly, cautiously turn toward the whispering within; that still, small voice.
Spoiler alert: you can trust the source; you can trust your heart.
Yes, tentative listening is a very good place to start. Then, when you’re ready, ask yourself, “What if I listened fully instead of tentatively?”
What if, indeed…
- What are the challenges you face in being able to hear your heart? Focus? Technique? Noise? Or is it the fear/awareness of what you might actually hear?
- Try tentative listening. Give kind, gentle attention to what comes up that feels opposed to your objective, reason-based mental processes. Can you kindly, gently allow the subjective, emotion-based thoughts to come to mind…to heart?
- Even if you listen half-heartedly, only a little, and maybe with great hesitation, what whispers do you hear? Every glimmer, fleeting thought, blurry image, and pang of emotion matters. Your heart is speaking. Can you hear it beating? What does it tell you? Keep listening. And write. Anything, everything…gently, gently.
Pssssst. You can trust what you hear.