In my awakening post, I spoke about how what brought about the experience was fundamentally a state of true listening.
I'd like to expand on true listening. I'll describe this using four levels of listening.
The first level of listening is superficial listening. This is what most of us do in conversation. We listen from a center of interpretation. That center of interpretation is kind of like a reactive filter. Our thoughts only stay within the grooves of what we normally think, and we are too afraid to deviate from that. We care more about our own interpretation than what someone else is actually saying.
The second level of listening is judgment-suspended listening. It's when you give your attention to what the other person is saying. You are listening to their words and the meaning they are trying to convey, and suspending your own judgment. You are giving them the space to convey their whole idea so you can understand it.
The third level of listening is when you are in touch with the energy behind the words. You are giving your attention to the quality of the conversation, it's more 'feeling' than 'thinking'. At this level of listening, you begin to feel connected with others at a deeper than just intellectually. There's less of a "me listening to you" and more of a "we are together". The words become more superfluous. They become less important than the underlying energy. Like listening to pets.
The fourth and final level of listening is true listening. I call it 'true' listening because the previous three involve directed focus and attention, so there is still some degree of imposition.
This kind of listening is the doorway to spiritual insight. This is the kind of listening where attention isn't directed in any one way. Instead, there is a total allowing of everything - all sensory perception, feelings, everything - the whole totality of experience. The mind is pristinely quiet. So quiet, that divisions fade away. There is no selectivity in consciousness.
This level of listening opens the door to touch one's own spiritual essence. Not to impose or project what that is and seek the projection, but to be completely empty so that what-is can be experienced without any division.
When you're sat in nature listening, you might hear the rustling of the leaves, the songs of some birds, or the sound of waves. These three appear to be divided and separate. But when the division between them is forgotten, the oneness of nature comes into being. And the whole experience becomes the 'sound of nature' as one undivided energy.
But nature is not everything. A jet flies overhead and creates a rumble. The sound of the jet is separate from the sound of the forest, so there is a division in consciousness between nature and technology, which together create an undivided whole.
If we follow this, we arrive ultimately at one final division in thought. The division between 'me', as the listener, and the universe.
In true listening, the division between the 'listener' and the 'listened' fades too. There's nobody listening. Only the totality of experience moving. One energy. One mind. One consciousness. In total harmony with itself.
When we forget about the artificial division thought has made, the oneness of life comes into being.
Talking about oneness is completely meaningless because words live in thought, and oneness is beyond thought.
This is why it's only through true listening that there can be an experience beyond thought. In that state, there is no use for these words, because they would only be stating the obvious.
This type of listening cannot be invoked or sustained through effort. It does not come through focus or practice. True listening is effortless. There is nobody doing it.