How to listen to myself?
Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
If I were to suggest to you: close your eyes and calmly pay attention to all the sounds you can hear.
Do not invest anything in criticising the sounds, in thinking what they are, or in judging whether or not you like them. Just listen carefully without forcing yourself.
Do you think you could do it?
Well, do it right now, following all the instructions. Perhaps you would rather read the suggestion again, or do it at a moment when you have more time, since on this occasion you have to make a bit of an effort. Do it step by step, do not skip any of it. If you have already done what I suggested, let us take it one step further. I suggest that, with your eyes closed, you pay attention to the physical sensations in your body. Do not invest anything in criticising what you feel, nor in explaining to yourself what you feel, nor in assessing whether or not you like what you feel.
Will you be able to do it?
Do it following all the instructions. Go ahead. Now we can take one further step. I suggest that now you close your eyes and pay attention to your emotional state and be alert to the emotion or emotions that you feel at this instant. Do not invest anything in criticising what you feel, nor in explaining to yourself what you feel, nor in assessing whether or not you like what you feel.
Will you be able to do it?
Do it following all the instructions.
You can do it now
Finally I suggest that, with your eyes closed, you pay attention to the wandering thoughts that pass through your head without you wanting them. Some will undoubtedly emerge and you are not going to get involved in criticising them, nor getting drawn in by them, nor justifying why you thought of them, nor in judging whether or not they are appropriate. Just be aware that they arise, what they are about and then that they pass. When one passes, remain calm until the next one appears. Do you think that you will be able to do that? Well, let us go ahead while continuing to follow all the instructions.
If you have been able to do it, congratulations, because it is not easy! All the repetition comes in useful, so that you are aware that to listen and observe yourself, to learn and even to change, you need to do it with kindness (without judging or censuring yourself), and being open to what arises (without judging what you think or feel as being good or bad, without expectations of this or that).
If you have done everything that I suggested you will be able to repeat it during the day and be aware of your thoughts and the emotions that you associate with them, of your impulses and physical sensations. In this way you will be able to be able to get in touch with yourself with kindness. Keep doing it whenever you remember and observe. Follow all the instructions: kindly, openly, without wanting to change anything, without censure or judgement.
This is a very healthy exercise which I recommend that you should do throughout the day. Enjoy it!