Are You (Really) Listening?

by Patricia Spadaro

“I wish to learn, will you teach me?” a man once asked the Sufi teacher Libnani.

“I do not feel that you know how to learn,” answered the teacher.

“Then can you teach me how to learn?” countered the man.

“Can you learn how to let me teach?” was the reply.

What sometimes keeps us from learning—whether from a sage, from our relationships or co-workers, or from the ups and downs of daily life—is that we don’t know how to let others teach us. We don’t know how to shut off our own mind and hear.

Listening Is One Thing, but Hearing Is Another

True listening is an art—one that involves what renowned physicist David Bohm called the ability to “suspend your assumptions.” Bohm worked in the field on quantum physics and was also a champion of dialogue. For him, dialogue was an application of the key quantum themes of interconnectedness and flow.

Dialogue, in the way Bohm means it, takes place with respect and the suspension of judgment as one listens to others. Read the rest of this entry »

Honor the Signs and Symbols in Your Life

by Patricia Spadaro

Sign_By_God“You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.” —Maimonides

Have you stumbled upon any signs or symbols in unexpected places lately—messages meant just for you?

I have. I’ve been taking some time this summer to contemplate my next projects and have been working my way through folders and folders of ideas—scraps of paper with ferocious scribbles, printouts of articles, notes, and quotes I slavishly save. In one folder, stuffed between some odds and ends, were what looked like two sheets of scrap paper I had folded in half to take notes on (I’m big on re-using paper).

One of the pages was totally blank, but the other held a surprise—an unexpected message that had waited nine years for me to rediscover.  I could see the date at the bottom of the second sheet, showing me it was one of those extra blank pages you get when you print out an email. When I unfolded it, though, I saw four words at the top staring back at me: “You Are Dearly Loved!”

I drew in a deep breath and let out a big sigh. I needed that reminder. . . thanks. I really had been hard on myself that week, feeling that I wasn’t producing fast enough.

That same week, as I was looking through another stack of papers, I saw that I had mistyped part of the name of a magazine article I had written down. Instead of “Go Ahead” I had written “God Ahead.” Ah—another message, reminding me that I wasn’t alone, I didn’t have to struggle so darn much, and the guidance I was looking for was right there, just ahead.

Of course, I’ve known for a long time that signs, symbols, and messages—like an intricately designed spiritual feedback loop created personally for us—are all around if we watch and listen for them. But in my panic to push myself, I needed a reminder, and there it was. I knew it wasn’t a mistake to see those two messages just a few days apart.

These signs, divine direction, if you will, come in all shapes and sizes. It may be as simple as turning the page of a magazine and having a headline pop out as if it were speaking directly to you. Or waking up with a string of words in your head. Or walking by a message a child scrawled in the sand that answers the very question you’ve been pondering. Or getting a busy signal over and over when you call to make a certain appointment, showing you that this isn’t the right next step.

(By the way, if you’re looking for a good book with an interesting take on working with signs and symbols, check out Decoding the Spiritual Messages of Everyday Life by Dr. Paul DeBell, a New York psychiatrist who shows how to use rational techniques to detect and decipher the feedback we receive from the deeper dimensions of life.)

– What signs or symbols have you stumbled upon in unexpected places?
– Where have they led you?
– Are you watching and listening for them?

Join the conversation and share your thoughts . . .

Keeping Your Life Fresh and Fun

by Patricia Spadaro

At a book signing for my new book Honor Yourself last summer, I met a special young lady who taught me to appreciate the “firsts” in life—no matter what age we are. She was about 5 or 6 years old, and she told me about a trip she would be making in a few months […]

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What Counts

by Patricia Spadaro

“What you see with your eyes shut is what counts.” — Lame Deer, Lakota

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Seeing, Really Seeing

by Patricia Spadaro

“The meaning of life is to see.” –Hui-neng

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