Listening Is A Personal Pilgrimage with Mark Nepo

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Mark Nepo describes deep listening as a very active and engaging process, a pilgrimage of sorts. It is an act of opening our hearts to whatever is before us. This is ultimately a transformative journey that is constantly unfolding and emerging. Deep listening informs our friendships, our giving and receiving, our place in the web of relationship with all life. We find our own footing when we’ve been truly seen and witnessed. Here, Nepo gives many examples of deep listening and how it can lead us to more effective lives. He shares how nature can be our teachers and describes the ocean as having “incredible power and yet, at the same time, it is so sensitive and gentle that if you stick your finger in it, it will register that ripple across the entire mass of it. It’s clear, it reflects everything that looks into it. It accepts everything that enters it without losing any of itself. It is formless and yet it doesn’t lose who or what it is. This is a great teacher for us to know we can be who we are without needing to insist on our identity.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who, for over three decades, has been teaching in the fields of poetry and spirituality. As a cancer survivor, Mark remains committed to the usefulness of daily inner life. He devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship.

He is the author of many books including:

    His many audio learning courses include:

    To find out more about the work of Mark Nepo go to

    Topics Explored in This Dialogue

    • How taking a walk with his grandmother taught him that receiving can be giving
    • His discovery that we are enough as we are
    • How birds sing at the first rays of light to establish a web of relationship
    • How we can find our own footing when friendship is evoked and when we have been truly seen and witnessed by another
    • Why we don’t need to “fix” each other
    • What is paradox and how we can hold it
    • How we can be inspired by the life of Beethoven
    • How the story of a moose caught in ice inspires us to keep each other company through the dark
    • How the ocean is a great teacher

    Host: Justine Willis Toms     Interview Date: 12/6/2013     Program Number: 3490

    Music Playlist

    From Album: Fresh Impressions
    Artist: Georgia Kelly and Steven Kindler
    1987 Global Pacific Records #GPD 329

    Opening Essay: Track 01 Sicilienne by Eric Satie
    Music Break 1: Track 09 Pastorale d'eté by Arthur Honegger
    Music Break 2: Track 05 Gnossienne #2 by Eric Satie
    Music Break 3: Track 06 Gnossienne #3 by Eric Satie