The importance of listening

Photo: arms across lower chestI went to the Wednesday evening dharma talk at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. Tara Brach led the group in several rounds of meditation. Every time I’ve heard her speak, I’ve struck by how she always manages to deliver a message that is extraordinarily meaningful to me. That evening, she spoke about the importance of listening, opening our ears, indeed the whole body, to awareness of what’s going on around us. Listening is the first step towards being mindful about the present. Tara’s words struck a cord with me because my father is increasingly impaired in hearing and I’ve experienced how this isolation is walling him off from his family, his community, the world around him. I came away from the session with a commitment to find a way to break through to my father so that he gives in to buying a new hearing aid.

This was my first time, though I know several of the IMCW teachers, like Hugh Byrne, who I know from Flow Yoga Center. I’d been meaning to go to one of IMCW’s classes or dharma talks for some time. Since my wife is off in Peru and I take the car to the Metro everyday, it’s easy to go to the IMCW Wednesday evening session in Potomac, instead of heading home. It just means that I get home close to 10 pm. There must have been 300-plus people at the Wednesday session, and parking was a hassle.

I highly recommend the IMCW dharma talk archive. Whenever I’ve felt the need for a dose of mindfulness, like during the February snow storm, I turn to Tara’s talks. These weekly talks and meditations, mainly of Brach, but also of guest speakers, go back until 2006. If you listen to an audio file, I encourage you to make a donation to IMCW’s work.