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We spend much of our time on earth listening and waking. When awake, we come upon the risk to be authentic. And taking that risk, we are faced with the need to stand by our core in order to live life fully. If we get this far, we are returned, quite humbly, to the simple fate of being here. And after all this way, it appears that a devotion to deep listening remains the simple and sacred work of being here.
To awaken our heart through this sort of reverence strengthens the fabric that knit us all together. Why is this important? Because as cells need to be rinsed by the river of blood to stay healthy, the river of blood needs healthy cells to keep the body alive and whole. In just this way, the world depends on the dance between the individual awakened soul and the river of Spirit that feeds us all. The world needs healthy awakened souls to stay alive and whole.
Yet how do we inhabit these connections and find our way in the world? By listening our way into lifelong friendships with everything larger than us, with our life of experience, and with each other.
We could say that our friendship with everything larger than us opens us to the wisdom of Source. This is the work of being. We could say that our friendship with experience opens us to the wisdom of life on earth. This is the work of being human. And we could say that our friendship with each other opens us to the wisdom of care. This is the work of love. Of course, while we may feel lifted or overwhelmed by each of these on any given day, they are intertwined and inseparable—three friends we need to stay connected to if we have any hope of living an awakened life. These three friendships— the work of being, the work of being human, and the work of love—frame the journey of this book. In this book, you will find reflective pauses throughout. Each will pose a set of questions or meditations, offered to initiate various forms of conversation as a way to locate what has meaning in your own life. So I invite you into the work of reverence; into the work of staying freshly connected by entering your friendship with this mystery we call life. I invite you to listen in every way you can, for listening in all things is the first step toward friendship.
Much of my life has been devoted to staying in conversation with everything around me—with the mystery, with God or Source, with the rivers of change, with you. As I get older, I long even more for the wisdom and companionship of other living things; to stay in conversation with all I love, with all I admire, with all who have suffered and given of themselves to stay alive and to keep life going. In many ways, our stories are part of one story. Our pain is part of one pain. Our surprise at the beauty and fragility of life is part of one chorus of awe. My passion now is to stay as close as possible to the pulse of what is kind and true; to stay in conversation with what happens there and to experience more and more ways to listen.