Watch An Evening with Mark Nepo (YouTube)
Poetry Reading and Conversation with Mark at All Saints Church, Pasadena, April 21, 2013, hosted by Rev. Ed Bacon

Watch an Interview with Mark by Tami Simon
"Session 18: No Strangers in the Heart" as part of Sounds True's Self-Acceptance Project

Watch Mark’s interview with host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on Huff Post Live
Watch Mark speak about The Book of Awakening
Watch Mark discuss his Sounds True Learning Course, Staying Awake: The Ordinary Art
Watch Mark discuss holding nothing back
Watch Mark discuss the art of putting things together
Listen to Mark in conversation with Oprah on her Soul Series radio program
Listen to Mark speak about Reduced to Joy on The Richard Brendan Show
Listen to Mark with Jennifer Louden on the life of teaching
Listen to Mark with Jennifer Louden on Seven Thousand Ways to Listen
Listen to Mark with Barnet Bain on Cutting Edge Consciousness
Read Mark’s Interview with Mark Motousek on The Huffington Post
Listen to Mark with Sweigh Spilkin on Seven Thousand Ways to Listen
Read Mark's interview with Shirley Showalter about Memoir and Voice
Read the transcript of Mark’s interview with Marianna Cacciatore on Bread for the Journey Radio: The Journey of Awakening

Mark Talks about Books That Changed His Life

A Conversation with Mark Nepo about

QUESTION: What inspired you to write this book?
RESPONSE: As nature erodes the earth into magnificent forms, life through endless experience opens us further and further to the essence of what matters.  Each time I've been opened further, the way I experience life and receive things has changed.  I needed to write this book to understand how we are opened and deepened and widened by life, for this entire process is how we are given the chance to stay close to our aliveness.

QUESTION: What does it mean to truly listen and how are there many ways to do this?
RESPONSE: To listen means many things.  Essentially, it is how we stay open to life.  It is through listening that we stay fresh, resilient, gentle and strong.  To listen also means to stay in relationship, the central challenge of our time, and this requires us to constantly minimize whatever stands between us and life.  Everything in life opens and closes, sheds and renews.  We are no different.  Listening in its endless forms is the way we stay open, the way we stay in relationship, the way we refresh who we are and what we're doing here.

QUESTION: What was the experience of losing your hearing and, through this, what did you come to realize about the importance of listening?
RESPONSE: I have significant hearing loss, but I'm not deaf.  This happened slowly over many years.  I found out only recently that my hearing loss is due to how the chemo I had over twenty years ago damaged the cilia in my ears.  This has taught me many things.  One thing I learned, paradoxically, is that there is much to be heard in silence.  When we are forced to stop the noise around us and in us, we begin to hear everything that is not us, and this is the beginning of humility and the renewal of our soul's energy; as only by listening to all that is larger than us can we discover and feel our place in the Universe.

QUESTION: What steps can we all take to become better listeners?
RESPONSE: In the same way that we have to clean wax from our ears and dirt from our eyes, we're all asked to clean out our conclusions and judgments, which block our heart from meeting the world.  This doesn't mean we stop learning but that we stop solidifying our temporary knowledge into walls that separate us.  We are also asked to lean into life and not away from experience.  When we can help each other do this, we begin to open a conversation with life that keeps awakening our deeper nature.

QUESTION: In what ways has a commitment to listening changed or improved your life?
RESPONSE: I'm more easily touched by everything I meet.  In a world where the great technologies enable us to record, replay, cut and paste, zoom in, and delete, listening is the crucial commitment to keep the heart touchable.  Staying vulnerable in this way reminds us that life is ultimately unique and unrepeatable, that we are all connected at a deep and vibrant level.  Listening reminds me how precious it is to be here at all.  And so, listening is the first step to peace, both inner peace and the compassion that connects people.  Keeping a commitment to listening has led me to my own growth, beyond any imagined dreams I may have had throughout the years.

QUESTION: Why is it important to meditate, or take a moment to pause and reflect, throughout the day, and how can this teach us to act more mindfully?
RESPONSE: Meditation, in all its forms and traditions, is an invitation to listen, to open, to quietly enlist the courage to be touched and formed by life.  Just opening quietly for moments everyday can create a path by which life can reach us, the way rain carves a little stream in the earth by which the smallest flowers are watered.  We each need avenues by which we can be watered and grow.  Whether you find it through mediation or sighing over tea or just turning all your devices off for five minutes, listening is an ancient lifeline by which we are awakened time and again.  Once reawakened, we more easily find our way to each other, and so help each other live.

QUESTION: What do you hope readers will take with them from SEVEN THOUSAND WAYS TO LISTEN?
RESPONSE: The practice of listening is one of the most mysterious, luminous, and challenging art forms on Earth.  Each of us is by turns a novice and a master, until the next difficulty or joy undoes us.  It is my profound hope that readers will discover their own gifts and wisdom by befriending their own abilities to listen.  This is both very personal and Universal.  I hope the journey of this book will enable readers to discover and enliven their own personal practice of staying close to the aliveness we are each born with, and so inhabit the durable and precious gift of life.

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