Awakening Our Awareness to Where It's Needed

by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee -

If we can learn to listen, maybe life will tell us how it needs to regenerate. In the ancient ways, the leader was not the one who told people what to do, the leader was the one who listened, watched the signs, was attentive to the inner world.

Sufis talk about the “ear of the heart.” This is something you learn in the relationship with the teacher. I spent 20 years sitting at the feet of my teacher listening.

You learn through listening. 

You learn how to listen to what is between the words. You learn to listen to the heart, to the soul.

You listen to people’s dreams, the signs in their lives and similarly one can listen and watch the signs in the world around us.

The earth is calling to us, sending us signs of the extremity of its imbalance through earthquakes and tsunamis, floods and storms, drought and unprecedented heat.

These are what Thich Nhat Hanh calls the “Bells of Mindfulness” awakening our awareness to where it is needed at this moment in time.

Nothing is Separate

Although there is a growing spiritual awareness of oneness and how humanity is a part of an interconnected ecosystem, there is still a sense of spiritual practice having an individual focus—that it is about our individual well-being.

We have yet to fully embrace the awareness that spiritually we are all interconnected and that our spiritual practice belongs to life itself—nothing is separate. 

Our spiritual practice affects and is affected by the inner and outer state of the world. 

At this time of global crisis that we call climate change, there is a urgency for our attention both physically and spiritually to be directed towards the earth and its real need.

Then our spiritual practice will include the whole of creation, either in our meditation or our prayers and devotions.

If we remember that the world is a living spiritual being in distress we will hear that it is calling to us. Then we will naturally respond both inwardly and outwardly.

Our response will come from a place that recognizes its sacred nature and unity, of which we are a part. 

The ecological situation is not a problem to be solved but a wake-up call to a different way of being and relating. As the Zen teacher Susan Murphy describes it,
"the whole world is posing us a singular koan, forcing us to make a shift in consciousness".
A NEW published E-book: 'From the Interview - HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN' - In this interview with writer Pat MacEnulty, Sufi teacher and mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee discusses his Jungian philosophy, the teacher-disciple relationship, oneness and his hopes and fears for humanity. Available online at or

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