This morning, I began my yoga practice with the intention of listening. After my movement and my breathing practices, I settled in, still and quiet, for my meditation. I was really concentrating. I was listening for some message that would come from the inside. Waiting and listening, I was ready for deep wisdom or a sense of peace or a feeling of connection to come to me. But then I heard a bird singing right outside my window. The sound was so beautiful and I realized that that listening to a bird counts as listening so I tuned in to this little bird. Tuning in felt like softening my deepest ear parts so I could hear the fullness of the sweet sounds.
Over the next few minutes, I became aware of more and then more little birds singing outside my bedroom. First I heard the ones that were loudest and probably most nearby. I continued to listen and I began to notice bird twitterings that came from my right and then from somewhere behind me. I wondered if my deep inner ears were changing their shape to take in more space and sound. That’s kind of what it felt like because just like that, as if listening to a record with more and more tracks laid down, layers of more bird song came through. I could hear birds singing all around me.
I listened some more and slowly I was able to hear the birds in the middle distance. There were so many different songs and calls. This must be what it feels like for people who need glasses and then finally get them and all of a sudden they can see things that are far away for the first time. That was me…with the ears. I felt this little struggle of wanting to strain to hear more, but I got softer instead. The softer my ears became, the greater sensitivity my listening seemed to have.
I’m telling you, I didn’t want it to end. I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to anything in that way. Ever. I was soaking this up, imagining it just couldn’t get any better and then, almost like a spontaneous clearing of the ears, kind of like what might happen on the airplane, but without the release or physical pressure sensation, this whole other dimension of far-far-away bird listening opened up and I could sit there and listen to those sounds, too. It was more than I ever imagined possible. I could hardly believe it. So many beautiful sounds. Tears streamed down my face.
They were there all along, all those birds, near and far, calling and singing. My whole life, I didn’t hear them. Then, just today, I listened quietly and openly for a long time. And there they were.