When I was little we had a tv with rabbit ears. We played with them all the time so the channel we wanted to listen to came in cleanly. It required patience, precision, and the hands of a surgeon. What worked one day produced static the next. Or a channel only kind of came in. Sometimes we had to really shove the ears around, and sometimes it took a butterfly's touch to fine-tune things. Sometimes we hung hangers and other objects off the ears to get the balance right. Ear-tuning was the household art.

Hearing is easy. Listening is easy. But learning to direct your rabbit ears so you listen to what you want to listen to and don't hear what you don't need to hear...that's hard.

Someone said to me that often relationships end because somebody doesn't feel heard. And that then a lot of work can go into, well, what can we do so that you feel heard. And so on.

My gut reaction was, “that's not true for me! I hear everything...and wish I didn't!

I was born with my own rabbit ears, that have only grown more acute with time and practice. Part genetic, part acquired defence mechanism, I hear people's channels. Like the rabbit ears, I hear everything that's broadcast on a range of frequencies, and am useless until I'm tuned in the right direction. I hear so much it's counterproductive. I hear so much it's paralyzing and ambiguous. I hear so much the data often cancels itself out and I have as little to go on as a deaf person would.

Hearing people's energy is like having lunch with someone at a sidewalk café.
You want to listen to what they have to say, yet there's ambient noise. We're programmed for survival, so we can't totally turn off our ears against the other noises. What if
that car crashes into us? What if we know the person walking towards us? What kind of place are we in, where are the trees, are there any coke-addled panhandlers coming, where's our food...all these questions and more, aurally answered. We need to be aware of the full environment—or, in the case of hearing people, aware of the full person. So we hear a lot of ambient stuff whether we want to or not. And we really have to tune our attention in to the thing that they're saying
, to prioritize it over all the other noises their channel is simultaneously emitting.

However, the café-situation is much more clear-cut than the person-situation. At a café, I know what my key aural focal point is: it's whatever the person next to me is saying. I know that's what I want to listen to, so I know to close down some of my awareness of other noises. When I'm listening to a person's energy, I don't know what the key aural focal point is, so it all rushes at me. There are some things that only hindsight can explain. When I hear a person, they're such a tapestry of multi-layered stories, entwined and contradictory feelings, and work-in-progress ideas that aren't finished baking, I don't know what's going to turn out to be “the thing.” Yep...I heard that. And that.  Andthatandthatandthat.

I used to say I heard the outside world at the expense of listening to myself, but the truth is, I hear the outside and the inside worlds to a degree that just gives me too much information, and for me the challenge is learning how to direct my rabbit ears. Fewer trees please, more forest. What should I be paying attention to? What will time prove the most important thing? Where do I focus?

Meditative practices make for more forest and fewer trees. I wouldn't say I became an artist/dancer/Reiki master in order to bring clarity out of chaos, but that's been a positive side effect. Now spend several more lifetimes doing all that, every day, and one lucky day, I will have self-tuning rabbit ears that don't just hear, but listen, instinctively tuning into what's really important.  I will have a host of organized, filtered, prioritized information from which I will be able to easily make informed choices.  It will be awesome.

Good luck me.

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