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by Colleen Benelli
Originally published in Reiki Magazine, Winter 2007.
Artwork by Gaia Orion.
Being a good listener is one of the most important skills for a Reiki practitioner and Reiki Teacher to have. I love that I have become a person who listens. It has brought me great joy and personal freedom. When I am listening, I am present, my senses and perceptions are heightened and awake. I can hear myself think, and I can dialogue with my heart. I can hear the world around me, and I am in the moment. Spirit and my Reiki guides can talk to me because I am listening for them. When I listen to others with my full attention, they know they are being heard, which makes it easier for them to speak from their hearts, and easier for me to understand them.
There are many ways of listening, some are active and some are passive. I tune in according to who and what I am listening to. I practice active listening in stillness and quiet during my meditation and self-Reiki sessions, and I listen with full attention to my Reiki clients and students, or during conversations with family and friends. I listen to my inner guidance and Spirit during my daily activities and busyness. I continually check in with myself, and I pay attention to signals that Spirit is talking to me. At other times, I only listen with half awareness, for instance, if I am watching TV, or just wandering, or simply chit-chatting with girlfriends. Sometimes it is nice to check out a little, and I allow myself that time too. However, because I practice listening skills regularly, I am able to switch into active listening mode immediately when it is needed.
As Reiki practitioners, we listen to our inner worlds as well as to the outer world. When we listen with Reiki, we are listening to spiritually guided life force energy. When we ask a question, or state an intention with Reiki, and then listen for the answer, we know that our spiritual life force is guiding us, and that the guidance is coming from our highest source. When we listen with Reiki, our inner guidance is easier to hear and understand.
About five years ago, it became apparent to me that I needed to become a better listener in all areas of my life, so I made an active commitment to learn to listen. I researched listening and began to practice each day. At first I focused on my outer world and being a better listener with others. I practiced the following active listening skill builders, which were developed at Portland State University in Oregon. I use these skills continually and when I forget, I recommit to practicing them.
If you wish to improve your listening skills, check the items below that you do not always do well and choose one each day to focus on.
At the same time that I learned how to listen to others, I learned how to listen to my inner self and to Spirit. I listened with Reiki and Reiki taught me that my intuition is actually a form of heightened listening and focus.
Reiki has taught me how to listen with my entire being. I now listen not just with my ears, but also with my whole body and with all of my senses and perceptions. I learned to activate my senses, heighten my perceptions, and open my chakras to listen with my whole self. Think of how much more you can hear if you use all of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body. It is such a lovely skill to have. The world opens and becomes more alive. Listening with Reiki has also oriented me to a more positive view of life. It reminds me to listen for the beauty and love that surrounds me. It reminds me to hear and listen for the joy in life.
When I asked my Reiki guides about listening, they said, “Ask the tree how to listen. She listens on the wind. Ask the cat and the watchful dog, they are masters of listening. Listen through the noise of your own busyness. Listen through the noise of the world. Listen to the spirit of your cities. Heighten your senses and truly listen. Become a person who listens well. Listen to yourself in your silence. Listen to yourself in your own words. Hear what you have to say. Listen to others. Hear what they have to say. Enjoy listening to them. Listen to the earth. Hear her heartbeat in your own. Listen to her rhythms and cycles. Listen into the future, and listen into the past. Listen for beauty, love, joy, laughter, and happiness.” I love how the Reiki guides talk!
Activate Reiki and the symbols. Strengthen your light by drawing a Power symbol over your whole body and over each chakra, starting at the root chakra. The Usui Mental/Emotional symbol is pure mind consciousness and creates new habits. The Distant Healing symbol connects one to the divine heart in everything, so both symbols are very powerful for listening. Ask these symbols to teach you. Ask for their assistance in creating the habit of listening with your whole self. Ask to open and fill your chakras with their divine colors.
If you are Reiki I, ask Reiki to assist you with these practices. State the intention that you are heightening your senses.
After you have activated the symbols, use the following exercise to develop “Owl Eyes” or Wide Angle Vision:
Heighten Your Perceptions With Opened Chakras
Now your whole body is awake to listening. Your senses are alive and you can feel the world around you. Your intuition is activated, and you can hear more. It is easier to notice the messages from your inner self and Spirit, and you can hear what others are saying. Use these activities in both your inner and outer listening practices. Add them to the skill builders above, practice them regularly and you will love the results. Listening becomes easy and is so enjoyable. It is peaceful to be in a room full of people listening. It is nice to hear the world around you during your busyness.
When we are skilled listeners everyone around us benefits. Our Reiki clients and students need us to hear them and to be completely focused and present during our sessions and classes. I begin listening to my clients and students before they even arrive. Before I begin the treatment, I take the time to listen to the client’s intentions and to help them clarify their healing needs. Sometimes they just need to get their words out to help them sort their thoughts. At other times they need silence. I listen to them and my Reiki guides to hear more than they say. During the treatment, I listen to Reiki, my spirit guides, and my intuition. I listen to my client’s higher self and their body with my hands. I listen to the Reiki symbols and allow them to guide me. I listen to my words carefully as I speak and make sure that I am communicating messages to my client accurately and kindly.
When I teach, I listen to the Reiki guides and the enlightened spirit guides who are present. I listen to my students’ questions completely before I answer them. It may seem as if they are asking questions I hear frequently, but there is always a new aspect to the question, and I listen for the answer, and then speak. Often I learn new information from my own words as they come through me from my heart, instead of my busy mind. I listen for the words of my prayers, invocations, and guided meditations. Even though I have a structure and outline for my classes, they are always spontaneous, and I listen for the unique theme that shows up for each class.
I practice active listening in my meditations and self-Reiki sessions. I close my eyes, heighten my senses and perceptions, and activate my chakras. I listen to my heart and inner dialogue. I ask questions and listen for the answers. Sometimes they come right away, and sometimes I listen for days, weeks, or even years. I just keep asking and listening until I hear the answers. I can hear my body and my inner self. I can hear Spirit and my Reiki guides talk to me. I can focus and really feel Reiki flow through me.
Like all other life skills, listening is a choice. I forget to listen all the time. I am gentle with myself about it; I just go back to the skills given above and remind myself to practice and to be awake. I continue to grow and learn, and I ask Reiki and my spirit guides to assist me.
Listening has decreased my judgments, opinions, and projections, and it has increased my patience, joy, and interest in life. When I am not busy projecting my thoughts, or filling the silence, I am free to be present and in the moment. I can hear myself think and listen to my own words when I speak. I am interested in the people around me, and it is easy to dialogue with them sincerely. I can listen to the tree and learn from the watchful dog. My mind is present, receptive, and creative.
Becoming a good listener has blessed my life in so many ways. I am more patient with myself, my clients and students, my family and the world around me. I am more peaceful and creative. There is so much less pressure to be in a hurry to know the answers. The serendipities of life can easily manifest.
Lee Coit says it well in her book, Listening, How to Increase Awareness of Your Inner Guide: “Involvement in a program of listening is beyond value. At first, we may see listening as a way to get answers to what is troubling us, and that we do so is fine. Next, we will listen because of the wonderful insights this experience gives us. Finally, we listen because it offers a path of peace and joy. The truth in all situations comes to bless others and those around us. But, far beyond all the other uses for listening, the greatest of all is experiencing the blessings that flow from inner peace and happiness.”
Colleen Benelli can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 503.912.0664, on her website at www.reikilifestyle.wpengine.com, or on her Facebook page, Reiki Lifestyle-Colleen Benelli. Join Colleen’s monthly ReikiChat™ conversation, www.reikichat.com.