Intentional active listening can help those with mobility restriction experience freedom from those physical restrictions or challenges.
Whether the mobility restriction is due to incarceration or impaired physical health, active listening exercises show the practitioner that consciousness, “awareness of being aware”, can be a means of transcending physical world limitations. And further, transcendence of physical limitation is available at a moment’s notice, anytime.
First, to honor those who are incarcerated or who experience mobility challenges due to impaired physical health, I want to acknowledge that fact that physical mobility restriction is mentally challenging. The very real mobility restrictions encountered by the body are often perceived by the mind in ways that give rise to mental suffering.
The desire to be free to come and go, to be mobile and move about the world on a whim is strong. However, dwelling on past mobility or desiring future mobility gives rise to suffering as the mind, sooner or later recognizes the present moment impossibility of such physical mobility. Perhaps one way to lessen the suffering of mobility restriction is to lessen focus on what is lacking –– the lack of physical mobility, and instead use the brain’s ability to perceive “unboundedness” –– freedom from restriction.
Through practicing awareness of unbounded sound one can become aware that one’s consciousness knows no physical boundaries and is free to move, now.
The essence of this practice is to intentionally bring auditory focus to sounds occurring outside the space the listener is presently confined to. Perception and acceptance of truth leads to a more subjectively peaceful state of mind than when one is actively engaged in fighting against physical restrictions or mentally rejecting the reality of the “is-ness” of the mobility restrictions.
The practice of transcending mobility restrictions does not fight the mobility restriction, but rather is a practice of accepting an alternate reality –– unboundedness. The perception of a thing makes it so in the mind of the perceiver. Lets look at an example.
Let us imagine a person who has mobility restriction as a result of incarceration or a physical health challenge that restricts them to a room, a wheelchair or hospital bed.
Let us also imagine the world outside of the room, the chair, the bed. Let us imagine a world where planes fly overhead and move from left to right across a perceptual “sound stage”. Let us imagine a world where birds sing or squawk –– out of reach, but not out of ear shot. Let us imagine a world where the distant hum or roar of automobile traffic on a highway can be heard but not seen.
All of these examples show us it is possible to perceive sounds, right now, that are occurring outside of the boundaries of the space the listener is presently restricted to. Notice the perceptional shift from bodily movement restriction to awareness of unbounded sound.
And if the listener can make just one small further perceptual leap, that of “being aware of being aware” the listener will experience themselves as a consciousness that cannot be bounded by physical mobility restrictions.
One can as easily brings one’s awareness to unbounded “awareness of awareness” as to awareness of physical mobility restrictions. One is free to make this choice. The choice to direct one’s awareness is not controlled by the jailer or the physical health issue.
Realizing this reality is a transcendent moment. Realization that one is not simply limited to being a physical body (on which physical restrictions can be imposed) brings with it a lessening of suffering brought on by the desire to be physically free. And, as we’ve seen, this realization occurs in the present moment –– no time is required to experience it. Well … only the amount of time it takes for one to wake up to the fact that they are consciousness, unbounded by physical restrictions.
Exercise: Intentionally bring awareness to distant sounds occurring outside the physical boundaries of the space you are confined to. Mentally “step back” and notice you are aware –– that you know you can perceive these unbounded sounds. The “you” that notices “awareness of being aware” is consciousness awakened from the slumber of form-identification –– of only being aware of physical forms, and in this case, only being aware of the restrictions experienced by the body. Hold in the mind this awareness of being aware of unbound sound. This is transcendence of physical mobility restriction.