I’ve been having a blast with The Midnight Gospel, Duncan Trussell’s animated podcast that examines life, death, and questions of existence (alongside some trippy animation.)
Each episode has its own nuggets of wisdom, but one of my favorites comes from the fourth episode, which features Dharma teacher, Trudy Goodman.
“We have to recognize what’s going on in our own minds while we’re listening,” Goodman says. “How do you be aware that you’re actually thinking about something else while someone’s talking to you? Because lots of times, we don’t even realize it, we just realize, “Oh god, I didn’t even hear that last paragraph.” […] We spend a lot of time that way, in these sort of fugue states.”
She goes on to discuss how vitally important listening is, saying, “Listening to our own bodies, listening to the sounds of life around us…listening to our own inner voice and intuition. Every time I override that intuition, it’s a disaster…Deep listening protects our aliveness too.
“Listening is the connection to the universe,” marvels Trussell, in response to Goodman’s observations. “They say when we breathe, we’re connecting by breathing in everything. But when we listen, it’s almost a form of respiration.”
“Yeah, receiving aliveness,” Goodman finishes.
As Vernlyn Klinkenborg observes in his book, Several Short Sentences about Writing, “everything you notice is important… If you notice something, it’s because it’s important.”
Listening is the act of allowing yourself to notice something, to dive deep for the sake of taking it in, to receive the aliveness it offers.