Listening to my experience is not an activity I normally engage in on any given day. In fact, I am hard pressed to know precisely what this means and what is expected of me.
Step 15. I Shall Listen To My Experience Today begins with an affirmation: “Today I will listen to my experience to find out the content of my mind.”
Hmmm, a tall order, you may be thinking. And I did too. Even as a student of Knowledge, I have little to go on so far. I was told in the previous step, the Step 14 Review, that “Throughout your study plan, you will be investigating the content of your own experience.”
Alright, but please show me how, I hear myself saying.
I am given some clue in the last sentence of the Step: “You are listening for something deeper than the mind, but you must go through the mind to get there.”
I took this to mean I needed to engage in some serious meditation. However, I cannot say that meditation comes easy to me, especially when it entails “going through the mind.”
I did make some attempt, however, which my notes testify to. They say:
I am not sure I am doing this right, but this is what happened when I did this step today.
It was as though I travelled out into space beyond the confines of Earth, through the starry expanses until I found myself in a dark, dark place, so dark and dense that I thought I would be unable to stand it, I would suffocate. But I let myself sink into this space, feel its denseness, feel its pitch blackness, like soot or black velvet, dense and impenetrable, accept it and even be prepared to stay there if that’s what was meant to be.
Then in the distance I saw a crack of light, a door slightly open, first very faint, but then the light becoming stronger, breaking through the dark with ever brilliant rays, until I stepped through it, blinded at first, but then finding myself in a beautiful landscape. A landscape so familiar, so luminous and fresh. And I knew I would always return to this place.
Listening to my experience
Does this pass for listening to my experience to find out the content of my mind? I do not know. All I know is it felt true at the time, it felt familiar and comforting. It enabled me to see things and know things I might not have otherwise seen or known.
There are more pointers on this practice of inner listening here.
Listening to my experience and the very act of listening as such are open to a variety of interpretations. I find what Ronald Barthes, a linguist and philosopher, had to say about listening illuminating. He claimed that listening can be understood on three levels: alerting, deciphering, and understanding, whereby the third level requires turning off your judgment while listening.
I smile since this is precisely what Step 15 calls for: “you must listen without judgment to allow your mind to open.”
Today I understand listening to my experience to mean feeling and trusting what I know to be true.
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