Last week, Om School’s Pre-K class learned to listen with Fox Ears. We heard the story of Mindful Fox who listens so deeply to the sounds of the world that she can hear mice beneath the surface of the snow and, in summer, can even hear the sound of grapes growing.
Despite her name, Mindful Fox is only mindful some of the time. She’s cunning and clever, yes, but sometimes she forgets her mindfulness. And on this particular spring morning, a little flower fairy caught her eye and off she ran. Before Fox knew it, she was lost. Thank goodness she remembered her mindful listening.
By opening her ears and listening with her whole body, she recognized the sounds of home — her little kit brothers and sisters, the hens of the nearby farm, and the sounds of the farmer’s children at play. By listening deeply, Mindful Fox found her way home.
To listen like Fox, it helps to put on our Mountain Bodies — our quiet, mindful bodies. We can be mountains sitting, standing, walking, or lying down. Being mountains means being aware of our bodies. Then we open our Fox Ears. This means that we listen all the way into our heart and tummy.
Mindful listening is an exercise in training our attention. It’s also more than that, though. Through listening deeply we can help relieve suffering in ourselves, in one another, and in the world. When we listen to someone with the single purpose of allowing them to empty themselves completely, we create a space for compassion to grow.
To learn more about deep listening, check out this short interview with Thich Nhat Hanh.