Frantically searching for someone to hear their story…
“Listen to the Rain,” Amy Lee, Composer
My sister in Denver called about our mother last week. I missed Nancy’s call, but prepared myself to be alarmed. What had happened to Mom? I started planning how to arrange for dogsitting at two homes, ours and my employer’s, in order to head out west.
When I called Nancy, I discovered she was stressed out and merely wanted to talk. Good! I can talk, and I can listen.
I have a friend whose one-sided conversations tend to be long-winded and sometimes confrontational—and he wonders why people don’t like to be around him. He has not learned that often the best gift we can give is to listen.
Deep listening means listening without an agenda. It mean letting the other person finish what he is saying before you start thinking about what your response is — giving your full attention to this one person standing in front of you.
To listen deeply is to be in the present moment, with an open heart and a clear mind. (Rev. Karyn Bradley, Unity Temple on the Plaza, 10/28/01)
Really listening to someone speaking is not the only deep listening we can do. I don’t know that there’s ever a time when my children drive their cars without turning music on. I myself prefer to use the television for background sound, unless the rain is singing its lovely melody outside, or the wind howling or, if I’m lucky, the ocean is crashing upon rocky cliffs. Is what we’re listening to drowning out our own thoughts?
Indeed, is what we hear an improvement on silence?
Our days are filled with sound. What about the adage, “Silence is golden?” In the silence we can hear our own thoughts rattling around in our minds—we’ve greater mental acuity. In the silence we are more attuned to how we’re feeling—and whether we need to adjust our thoughts so as to make ourselves feel better! And it is in silence that we can hear the Voice of Spirit.
“The Voice for God is always quiet, because it speaks of peace, and it is as loud as your willingness to listen. It cannot be louder without violating your freedom of choice.” (A Course in Miracles)
This week I vow to spend more time in silence. As for now, I send you, dear heart, a silent but powerful blessing and—