Chris was the companion of my mother in the last years after our father crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our connection to my Mother has deepened my friendship and we’ve stayed in touch since her transition.
I’m drawn to two thoughts in this fable:
when I paid attention
“I could hear the unhearable sound of the flowers opening,
the sound of the sun rising and warming the earth,
and the grass drinking the dew of the night…”
“It’s necessary to listen to the unhearable side of things
because that’s the most important side of the human being…”
I had the great gift of spending many days with Mother during the last year in the hospital. We often sat in long periods of comfortable silence as I TTouched her each day. More than once when I asked her what she was feeling or thinking, she replied, “I’m just lying here counting my blessings.”
She left us in 2008 on Valentine’s Day at the age of 94. On the eve of her 94th birthday she danced at midnight with her grandson, at her granddaughters wedding. Mother’s habit of counting her blessings is a gift she has left to me. And I pass that gift along to you. Click “more” to read the fable.
Listening in Silence – A Fable
A king sent his son off to study in the temple of a great master with the aim of preparing him to be a great person. When the prince arrived at the temple the master sent him to the forest alone. He should come back some years later with the task of describing all the sounds of the forest.
When the prince returned to the temple after a year the master asked him to describe all the sounds he could hear. Then said the prince: “Master I could hear the singing of the birds, the sound of the leaves, the breeze touching the grass, the buzz of the bees, the noise of the wind cutting the skies…”
When he finished his report the master asked the prince to return to the forest to hear whatever else possible. Although the prince was intrigued he obeyed his master’s demand thinking: “I don’t understand, I’ve distinguished all the sounds of the forest…”
For days and nights he was there alone listening, listening, listening… But he couldn’t distinguish anything new apart from what he had told the master already. However on a certain morning the prince started to distinguish some vague sounds, different from everything he had heard before. And the more he paid attention, the more clear the sounds became.
A beautiful sensation came over the boy. He thought: “These should be the sounds the master wanted me to hear…” And without hurrying away he stayed patiently listening and listening. He wanted to be sure he was on the right track. When he returned to the temple the master asked him what else he could hear. Patiently and with respect the prince said: “Master when I paid attention I could hear the unhearable sound of the flowers opening, the sound of the sun rising and warming the earth, and the grass drinking the dew of the night…”
The master smiled and said: “To listen to the unhearable is to have the necessary calm to become a great person. Only when we learn to listen to the heart of others, their mute feelings, their unconfessed fears, and their silent complaints, only then a person can inspire trust around himself, understand what’s wrong and meet the real needs of everyone. The death of a relationship starts when people listen only to the words pronounced by the mouth without paying attention to what’s going on inside the other, to be able to listen to their feelings, desires and real opinions. It’s necessary to listen to the unhearable side of things because that’s the most important side of the human being…”
During this busy holiday season, may this fable inspire you to give yourself two gifts:
Take time to listen
Count your blessings.