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How quiet have you become? When you’re by yourself what do you hear? When you’re with others what do you hear? When you’re in a one on one conversation what do you hear? When you’re on a walk, what do you hear? When you lay down to sleep, what do you hear? When you’re incubating a creative project or waiting for a new relationship to appear, what do you hear? When you’re in transition, what are you listening to?

Hearing is more than registering the sounds that are being broadcast. It’s consciously being open to the many messages that are sent to our five senses and beyond. Each of us have developed ‘filters’ that keep out certain data, vibrations, and sounds that will disturb our equilibrium and upset our dearly held desire for stasis. I’ve observed myself listening to another without hearing what they’re saying and displaying. Have you?

Becoming aware of these filters is really important if you want to grow into a greater fulness. I’m not saying that filters are bad, just that we have them and it’s important for our well-being to become aware of them. For example, I have a filter for people who want to dampen my creativity. I’ve become aware of it so I can be more discriminating in sharing new ideas. Filters work with both incoming and outgoing messages.

Think of filters as a kind of censor if you will. I’m not much into censorship but there’s much that needs to be censored if we want to keep ourselves on a particular path. I have a willingness to listen to most anyone speak about anything. There comes a point in a conversation or a lecture however where I have to make a decision whether or not I’m wanting to ‘buy into’ what’s being said or not. That’s when I contain and refrain.

What does contain and refrain mean in this context? It means that we have the ability to make assessments about what’s going on in our own lives and choose what comes in, goes out and what needs to be put on a shelf for further enlightenment. Arguments are about a lack of containment and a desire to win and be ‘right.’ This usually turns a conversation into a confrontation thus creating discord rather than harmony.

I’m not talking about hiding, repressing and denying our opinions. Rather, I’m talking about being aware of our own filters as well as those of others to create a greater harmony within ourselves, our relationships, and the world. Right and wrong are simply judgements we’ve created base on certain filters. So before we fly off the handle, it might be important to contain ourselves, refrain from opinion, and check out our filters.

I’ve been trying to change other people my entire adult life and you know what? It doesn’t work. Change starts with me. Might this also be true for you? I’ve finally come to realize at a very deep level that truly, the quieter I become within, the more attentive I become without. Containment then is about awareness and creating more harmony inside and out. It’s a process of discernment, divining and delight. It’s called Presence…

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