Deaf Became Dumb

I was in conversation with a man I barely knew. He had so much to say. And yet, I can barely remember. All I recall are the things I said and the chatter in my head, as I fashioned my next remark and displayed my prowess. Which leads me to today. I feel sad, regretful, and wishing I had listened more instead of wasting time on conceit, on narcissism, on prejudice, on supplanting his words with mine. On suppressing his words with my own judgments. He offered up wisdom I so nonchalantly dismissed. What would I have learned that day? Another human being was affording me a whole new perspective, his different life, his rare and unique story. An unfamiliar life I would have never lived, save for the tale he imparted. I listened but did not hear. I saw his lips moving and yet all I heard were the voices in my head, deaf to the outside world. My arrogance told me I knew more and that I was there to preach. And with this ego, I detached myself from being truly with him. It’s a tragic disease of the mind, even the soul.

I hate people who do not listen. I hate noise. Hate shrill, high-pitched, shrieking voices. Cannot take the harsh noise of buses and trains, hoots and horns, especially television shows and all the pandemonium. Now I see that I have become what I abhorred. I hated deafening noise from the outside. It drew me away from serenity and the ensuing experience of the moment. I wanted to hear the world speak.

Now I realize that I do not truly hear. The world comes to me through the stories of people; perfect stories that I should not stain with my own saga; and stories that meet me, without questions I should answer, without need of preachy advice. I should let go of my own thoughts, take in yours. Allow you to figure out your own life, not force mine on you. I regret have missed out on new worlds, busy figuring out my own.

It requires a conscious act of will to pay attention and relate to another person so we hear what they say, and, hear without prejudice. Sometimes the blessing of consciousness is also its curse. We think too much. And as our mind wanders, we are no longer there, and ironically lose consciousness. We should learn to listen, mindful of everything that comes to us from outside. Take in- inhale, instead of always just exhaling. Welcome every encounter as a chance for experiencing our answer. No need for putting on a show, or airs. I await the next time someone speaks to me, especially one I barely know. The last one had a lot to say. I regret that I can barely remember.

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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