“But he learned more from the river than Vasudeva could teach him. He learned from it continually. Above all, he learned from it how to listen with a still heart, with a waiting open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinions.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Ultimately, listening to the intuitive mind is a kind of surrender based on trust. It’s playing it by ear, listening for the voice within. We trust that it’s possible to hear into a greater totality which offers insight and guidance. Ultimately, we trust that when we are fully quiet, aware, and attentive, boundaries created by the mind simply blur and dissolve, and we begin to merge into All That Is. And All That Is, by definition, includes answers as well as questions, solutions, as well as dilemmas.

When we have been used to knowing where we stand at every moment, the experience of resting in awareness without any specific thoughts to hold onto and trusting our intuition, turns out to be a refreshing and exciting adventure. In this choiceless spacious awareness, we don’t necessarily know from moment to moment how everything is going to come out. Nor do we have a clear idea of what is expected of us. Our stance is just one of listening… of fine tuning…trusting that all will become apparent at the proper time.

To rest in awareness also means to stand free of the prejudices of mind that come from identifying with cherished attitudes and opinions. We can listen without being busy planning, analyzing, theorizing… and especially judging. We can open into the moment fully in order to hear it all.

As we learn to listen with a quiet mind, there is so much we hear. Inside ourselves we can begin to hear that “still small voice within,” as the Quakers call it, the voice of our intuitive heart which has so long been drowned out by the noisy thinking mind. We hear our skills and needs, our subtle intentionalities, our limits, our innate generosity.

In other people we hear what help they really require, what license they are actually giving us to help, what potential there is for change. We can hear their strengths and their pain. We hear what support is available, what obstacles must be reckoned with.


– Excerpt from “How Can I Help? – Stories and Reflections on Service” by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman

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