Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Listening for Change

Sometimes, the most creative act is listening. We celebrate initiative, movement, the can-do attitude and the extraordinary effort. With all the problems facing the planet and the neighborhood, it's natural to rush into action. "Just do it," sums up our beliefs about improving life. Yet, at the root of pollution, climate change, and overcrowded cities was someone trying to do the right thing. Who would have imagined what could go wrong with providing people with electricity, faster transportation, more abundant food, better housing and longer life spans? On the other hand, doing nothing creates problems too. The world would be a bleaker place if people hadn't stood up to bigotry, violence, corruption and a host of other ills.

Between action and inaction is listening. At its best, listening involves stillness noticing the flow of movement in mind, body, relationships and the surroundings. When I allow the stillness in me to simply notice the chattering in my head, the sensations in my muscles, and the interactions around me, I realize how little I listen and how much is happening when I do.

What happens when I listen or feel listened to? My mind opens, my breathing flows, interactions with others and the world come alive. Points of resistance and ways to move through them are more easily seen. Opportunities for growth that nourishes others as well as myself are a bit clearer.

Listening in this way is one of the key skills in creating architecture attuned to the sustainable processes of nature. Our preconceived ideas are powered by great intentions, but those helpful beliefs can blind us to genuine, vital connections that are crying out to be included in repairing a polluted environment. If we ignore the way water actually flows, assuming we know everything about it without listening to its ways, our roofs will leak. If we ignore the qualities of the ground upon which we build, our foundations may sink. 

The biggest obstacle to healing the planet and ourselves may not be that we aren't trying enough. It may be that we are trying too hard. All the helpful speeches, rallies, movements, organizations, and individuals may be more effective, if their passion to "Do something!" was proceeded by a feel moments of listening. Like wise gardeners waiting for the right moment to plant their seeds, we can listen for the auspicious moments when the gathering of forces of nature will support our endeavors.  

No comments:

Post a Comment