In our previous entry, we discussed the act of mindful, active listening. It involves genuinely listening to what another person is saying, rather than simply hearing their words and the sound of their voice. Active listening means actually processing what another person is trying to communicate. This is something essential for establishing a deeper understanding of others and creating a feeling of community. It opens the doors for a connection, and allows others to feel like they are being truly listened to, rather than just heard.
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” – Robert Baden-Powell
But how do we make the most out of active listening? How can we truly center ourselves around listening and observation, and cultivate that connection with others? This is where the concept of buddhi comes into play.
Buddhi is one of the four aspects of consciousness, alongside manas (the conscious, perceiving mind), ahankara (ego), and chitta (emotional reaction and memory). It is the part of our consciousness that observes and gives meaning, defining what we see and hear. It allows us to discern information from our surroundings, and gain knowledge of the world around us. It is our own inner wisdom.
Buddhi is useful during active listening, as it helps us to observe and discern messages as we truly hear the other person.
Active listening is a demonstration of mindfulness and an act of being fully present. When we cultivate the buddhi aspect of our mind, we allow for the highest level of awareness as we exercise listening to what is being said. We don’t react from a place of fear. We simply observe, take in, reflect, and then respond accordingly, without judgement or defense.
However, buddhi doesn’t only exist in conversations. It is a wisdom that is always there within us, guiding us throughout our life. We can connect to buddhi and cultivate its strength throughout our day. We do this by performing mindful, intentional acts.
Meditation and simply existing in silence are the most powerful ways to cultivate buddhi. These methods bring us fully to the present moment, and allow us to observe the world as it exists around us. In meditation, we can connect to our inner wisdom without the influence of outside factors.
There is also power in being mindful as we go about our day. We can connect to buddhi in any task that we do. As we are relaxing at home, we can sit in observation and identify the sounds around us, being fully aware of all that is happening in our space. As we go on a walk, we can take the time to connect with all of our senses by observing the sounds of our footsteps, the smell of nature, and the sight of the sun glistening through the trees. As we look at a piece of art, we can reflect on it, and discern what it means and how it makes us feel. By being mindful in our everyday life (even when matters are a bit mundane), we can activate the power of buddhi.
When we take the time to strengthen our ability to actively listen and cultivate our own buddhi, we give power to the community around us. We open up the doors for communication, presence, and true understanding.
You can also learn to listen more, and cultivate buddhi, with our Monthly Intentions Program.
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