Kiyonaga Torii, Beauties Listening to Bonsai Vendor Ukiyo-e Woodblock Print
How can we save the world from growing intolerance, how can we stop the spiral of violence? ‘ Silence is often the best answer,’ says the Dalai Lama. More and more experts are admitting he is right. This is not the time for analyses, reports and threats. We now need to stop and take the time to really listen to one another. Of course, listening is not always easy, but a growing number of initiatives are aiming to help people master this difficult art. The International Listening Association declared March to be International Awareness Month.
As part of their campaign they gave tips on how to listen. ‘Count to three when the person you are speaking with has finished talking. That person will often take this to be a signal to go on talking. You will be surprised at how much extra information you get. If you are interrupted, do not get irritated, do not attack and do not lecture, but simply say: “Please listen for a moment, I am not finished yet.”
The American psychologist Michael Kahn wrote a book that includes the topic of listening: The Tao of Conversation (Rainbow Pockets, 1998). He describes people entering a conversation with the intention of winning, people that only feel better if the other person feels worse. ‘We so badly want to be heard and confirmed that we think it is worth having an argument. ‘ The listener is the one who is catching his breath after having presented his view.
Peonies, c. 1900 unknown
Kahn explains what a relief it was when he discovered a conversation does not have to be a contest. Like the Tao, it can flow calmly and peacefully and still be very powerful. Kahn’s tip: ‘Engage in a conversation as if you were making love to someone. Your good mood depends on how good the other feels. Or is your idea of a conversation a jam session, where musicians listen to each other and are inspired by each other? Ask yourself: Do I want to learn or do I want to win?’
Listening, true listening, heals. This was beautifully described years ago in Michael Ende’s classic Momo and the time savers. Because she is the only one in a hurried world who has time to really listen, the little vagabond girl Momo steals the hearts of all. Even children – taking after their parents – have less and less time for stories and games. In the end, Momo saves the city from the gloomy oppression of the grey men who are stealing everybody’s time. Listening as the solution to the world’s problems seems so simple, but in practice turns out to an enormous challenge. It is time we learned that history only repeats itself because nobody was listening the first time.
One of the ultimate Zen like experiences is waking-up from a great slumber refreshed and energized. Your mind and body are harmoniously one, both alert and focused. Having a refreshed mind and body are two keys to a natural and Zen lifestyle. Waking up in the morning should not be a loud and abrupt awakening, but rather it should be a peaceful positive experience. The right natural alarm clock can transition your deep and tranquil sleep into a serene start to consciousness. Imagine a long-resonating Tibetan bell-like chime waking you up to a beautiful morning experience.
The right alarm clock can be the most beneficial investment for you. With our Now & Zen natural alarm clock you are awakened more gradually and thus more naturally. Now & Zen is focused on creating a naturalistic lifestyle, and our clocks are an example of our philosophy.
Bamboo Digital Chime Clock, a calming timer and alarm clock made from natural materials like bamboo, walnut, and maple
adapted from Ode Magazine, April 2003 by Tijn Touber
Now & Zen’s Soothing Alarm Clock Store
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Boulder, CO 80302
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