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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Deep Listening: A Healing Practice: Dr. Michael DeMarie Unveils His Life’s Guidence Tools for All to Discover

Apr 02, 2014 03:31PM ● By By Gayle Mair

Dr. Michael DeMaria is a psychologist, author, sound healing artist and four-time Grammy nominee. A local treasure, he is respected for life guidance that he has offered to many people in our local area, applying his unique integrative psychology for more than 25 years. In addition to his mindful music, he provides local weekly classes and special workshops throughout the year at Sanders Beach Community Center, in Pensacola, that apply a combination of sound therapy, meditation and yoga with healing and personal growth.

You have said, "True joy is when your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need." What does the world need that gives you joy in your work?

In my three decades of practice, I have learned that everything is flowing, unfolding and transforming—always. No matter what we are experiencing in this moment, it is already beginning to shift in subtle and profound ways. Who we really are is pure present moment awareness. When we grasp this, we can recognize peace within. The world needs all of us to embody this peace within. We live in a time of future shock, information overload and data smog. We are exposed to more information in one Sunday newspaper than our ancestors would encounter in their entire lifetime. This causes extreme distraction from our essential true nature. The resulting stress causes mental, emotional and physical ills. Everyone is searching for peace outside of themselves. The hope is always that the next relationship, job, car or iPhone will bring us peace and happiness. Buddha said, "Peace comes from within, do not seek it without." My joy is helping people find their way back to their inner life—and discover the deep abiding ocean of peace that lies within.

When has  your music particularly influenced a healing?

Years ago, there was a young mother in her 30s, dying of cancer, and I came to hospice to play the flute for her. I practice Deep Listening when I am playing—as if the music is already in the air and all I am doing is opening my heart for the music to flow through me. My fingers were doing some strange things and I was just trying to follow. The woman, a surfer, said, "What is that song?"

I said, "I don't know—I have never played it before, it must be your song."

She replied, "It reminds me of the wave I rode into this life, and it gives me courage to ride the wave back out." We are each a song that is literally the animating vibration of our life—and it’s what we are here to share. It’s in facing death—our own, or that of a loved one—that our soul emerges most powerfully and we catch a glimpse of who we really are.

You have talked about the imperfect mesh between reality and our expectations. How does your work facilitate this acceptance?

Meditation and Deep Listening are powerful tools for examining these filters of expectation. Most people don't even realize these filters are causing them great suffering. Meditation and Deep Listening put you in a place of receptivity. Instead of trying to control what is happening, you learn to ride the current of life: working with what is unfolding instead of resisting it. Life is a river you have never been down before with twists and turns—so journeying towards your goal is never going to look the way you think it should. It is learning to maneuver through the rapids skillfully without denying them or being angry that they are there.

You have an upcoming workshop in Asheville, North Carolina, called Deep Listening. How is listening important to our health as individuals and to the health of our planet?

One of the reasons we are ill as individuals and as a society is we have forgotten how to truly listen. We have forgotten to listen to our bodies and hearts, which is the way we discover what is true in this moment. We have also forgotten how to listen to each other, to really listen. We all need a good listening to.

Compassionately listening to another’s heartfelt story literally heals. Our inability to listen to our own inner nature is reflected in our inability to listen to outer nature. It is only through listening with the ears of our hearts to the greater natural world that we can find true meaning and discover our true place in the world. More than ever, our health as individuals is the foundation for the greater health of the planet and all beings that call Earth home.

Dr. Michael DeMaria will present Deep Listening: Heal Your Heart, Heal the World, at the OM Sanctuary, in Asheville, NC, on Jun. 28 and 29. Register by May 15 for free access to a Fri. night concert. For more information and to register, visit

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