When we listen consciously, we are fully present in what we hear without trying to control or judge it. We let go of our internal demand and our normal assumptions, and we listen precisely in relation to what is being said. We listen to our own minds and hearts and the “quiet, barely audible voice within.” We listen to sounds, music, lectures, conversations, and, in a sense, printed sources. For all of these types of our listening to be effective and for us to understand and remember what we hear, we need an open, fresh, attentive, quiet and receptive mind. We often don’t have a clear understanding that listening and https://www.julianalucky.com/post/mommy-and-me-yoga-benefits is an active process that we can control, but in fact, conscious listening can be cultivated through practice.

Listening upon awakening

Every morning is especially good for listening. Try this: as soon as you wake up, instead of turning on the TV, iPhone or computer, stay in silence and just listen. In the countryside, it might be the sounds of birds or animals waking up. In the city, it’s the sounds of outside activity: trash pickup, construction of buildings, or the noise of cars. On campus, it might be the sounds of doors opening, footsteps in the hallway, or students talking. Listen for quiet sounds: the purring of a cat, the rustling of leaves. Direct all of your attention to one sound until it disappears, and then let another come in. If thoughts come to your mind, gently let them go and return to the sound. Then get out of bed and enjoy the sound of water on your skin in the shower.

Conscious awakening: start with an intention

Intention refers to the basic motivation behind everything we think, say or do. From the perspective of the brain, when we act unintentionally, there is a gap between the faster, unconscious impulses of the lower brain centers and the slower, more conscious, wiser capabilities of higher centers such as the prefrontal cortex. Given that the unconscious brain is responsible for most of our decisions and behaviors, this practice can help you align your conscious thinking with the primary emotional impulses that the lower centers are responsible for. In addition to safety, these include motivations such as reward, connection, purpose, self-identity, and core values. Setting an intention and remembering these core motivations helps strengthen this connection between the lower and higher centers. This can change your day, making it more likely that your words, actions and responses, especially in moments of difficulty, will be more conscious and compassionate. This practice is best done first thing in the morning before you check your phones or email.

1. When you wake up, sit on your bed or chair in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations in your body. Make sure your back is straight but not stiff.

2. Do three long, deep, full cycles of breathing-inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then let your breath return to its own rhythm, you just watch it, watching your chest and belly rise and fall as you breathe.

3. Ask yourself: “What is my intention for today?” Use these prompts to help answer this question as you think about the people and actions you will have to face. Ask yourself: How can I manifest myself today to get the best results? What quality of mind do I want to strengthen and develop? What do I need to do to take better care of myself? In difficult moments, how can I be more compassionate to others and to myself? How can I feel more connected and fulfilled?

4. Form your intention for the day. For example, “Today I will be kind to myself; be patient with others; give generously; stay grounded; persevere; have fun; eat well” or whatever else you think is important.

5. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Stop, breathe, and return to your intention. Notice: you become more and more aware of your intention for each day as the quality of your communication, relationships, and moods change.