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Be the Mule Blog

Get Quiet and Hear

People talk about active listening from time to time. I wish we talked about it, and practiced it, more often. What we want out of music varies at times, but I worry at times my ability to truly engage and listen is waning. Its important I am able to hear what is happening without getting in the way of it with chatter, judgement, and learned segmentation skills. Let the body react, but be there for the music, for the sound and interact with it, to feel the rewards of being present for something, someone, someones. There is substance to what will happen to us when we listen. Not just in music. The more I can create silence in myself, the more open I am to hearing what is happening. Get quiet and hear. 


For me, it generally requires paying attention to my breath for a few seconds. Consciously breathing, and closing my eyes. I'm very easily distracted. Linear thought is not my nature. So, I get quiet, focus on breath, and listen. After a certain period of time the music becomes an interactive experience. There is room to live in it, and search through what is happening, how the instruments are interacting, what emotions are being expressed by listening. There is expression in hearing, it is not merely receiving. You are part of the conversation now. 


I imagine visual artists feel much the same. We are constantly walking by artistic works, some are meant to brand, some to sell, and some, the artistic for art's sake, are there just to express and interact with the viewer. But it takes a true viewer. Someone to consider, consciously, what they are feeling. It does not require intellectualizing, though that may be part of it. It requires exercising our wonder. Expressing some humanity towards each other by considering what another of us has created. This is a humble act. We are all just as good as each other. We do not need to let fear dictate our reaction, if we don't like it, we don't, and we can turn it off. Can we disagree with it? Im not sure. Someone made it. They felt it necessary. Maybe they know something I do not, or maybe they are delusional. Does it matter?


I'm of the opinion that if we were all creating, we would all be better listeners. But our natural artist is suffocated. We want to be right more than we want to know things, sometimes. Let it go. There is too much beauty to experience. Be the mule, go further, ask more, believe harder. Take us with you.


Some things I've been listening to recently - Im not suggesting anyone's tastes be as dark or what could be considered as avant, you could find an incredible experience listing to a Ray Charles, Foo Fighters, Beatles, or Rufus Wainwright song, but for the sake of sharing - 

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