Listening to the inner silence

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Parker Palmer, the author of “The Courage to Teach” writes about the importance of listening for the voice of inner vocation.  Sometimes referred to as a “calling” this can be a challenge to realize as our world is so full of competing voices, noise and chaos.  He writes: “Vocation does not come from willfulness.  It comes from listening.  I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about – quite apart from what I would like it to be about – or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.” (2000)

This approach emphasizes making room for quiet in our daily life – something that most of us find difficult to do.  How can we truly “listen” enough to ourselves, our feelings, our passions, our disappointments and our joys?  There can be much wisdom and insight to be realized if we can nurture this part of ourselves.  We are used to looking for answers outside of ourselves.  Some ideas are as follows:

Find a time during your day when you won’t be disturbed and can sit comfortably on your own

Turn off all phones, screens, media

Gently bring your awareness to your breathing, simply following the rise and fall of each breath

When a distracting thought comes, simply return your focus to the breath

Sit quietly, without an agenda and notice what you feel in your body

Even five minutes a day is a good start, then return your focus to the room and carry on with your day

If you feel drawn to writing, you can record your experience – whatever it may be

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