When I started out cross country skiing today, I was totally listening to the world from a level 1. “I can’t do this. I’m cold.”
In my workplace Leadership Academy, I learned there are three levels of listening:
- Listening to yourself (at times, self consciously)
- Listening to one other person (intently)
- Listening to the room (the vibe)
After about 20 minutes of skiing, I found my rhythm. I may not have been elegant, but I was competent. And I could see the trees and the snow and the mountains.
After looking around, I began listening around. I was at level 3 — the greater room, the bigger world. Nature was my room, and the vibe was quiet.
There is a time when doing outdoor sports — or maybe any sports — when it is no longer possible to remain self-centered. Okay, yes, I can run with headphones on and stay in my head. But, at some point, I will be aware of a larger world around me. If I take the buds out of my ears, I can hear the sound of my feet hitting the sidewalk, a bird calling, or a dog barking.
Out in the snow today, the sounds were muffled and quiet. Occasionally a tree creaked as if in pain. There was nothing really much in the world to hear. Yet I was alive to the sounds and to the day. I forgot I was cold. I transcended myself.