March 1998 (Vol. XI, No. 3)

BLESSED BE in the Silence, dear friends! As we leave the dark days of winter, let us listen for soul-stirrings of new life. Are there seeds gestating in you preparing to crack opena nd emerge in the light? You can nurture them through silent, holy listening.

Holy listening

Holy listening, to "listen" another's soul into life, into a condition of disclosure and discovery, may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another (or oneself).

~ Douglas Steere

The world will roll in ecstasy at your feet

You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen, simply wait. You need not even wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

~ Franz Kafka

When you experience both Silence and the Word deeply

When you experience both Silence and the Word deeply, you see that the Word comes from the Silence and the Silence is in the Word. When you really listen to God speaking to you in each moment, you see that what speaks to you is the Silence.

~ David Steindl Rast in MEETING WITH MENTORS by Soren Gordhamer

Listen to every word that is not said

I am to LISTEN. I am finding it a hard discipline: Listen to every word that is not said. Listen for silences. I have become insensitive to the power of words because I hear and see too many of them. I don't say to myself, "don't listen to words." I am already a past-master of that. I say, "listen to the silence." And I discover this: because silence seems empty of content I cannot place myself in relation to it, and therefore, I cannot place myself outside it. It is a world I enter, not a world I observe. Silent people bear this out: they seem to carry a world with them, while the unsilent always seem to be scurrying in search of one.


We have forgotten how to be silent and listen to ourselves

This was my first conscious experience of listening to Gaia, even though I didn't call it that then or hear an actual voice... I have come to learn that there are many ways of listening. One may hear an internal or external voice, feel a body sensation, or simply just "know" with that intuitive understanding that is beyond words. However, I continue to describe this experience as "listening" because we have forgotten how to be silent and listen to ourselves, one another, and the earth.

~ from "Listening to Gaia" by H. I. Austen in EARTHWALKING SKY DANCERS

A heart must really be listening

Truth must find an echo in the one who hears it to be recognized. Put it another way, a heart must really be listening, really wanting the truth, really wanting God.

~ from ASCENT TO LOVE by Ruth Burrows

Listening is being silent with another person in an active way

Listening is being silent with another person in an active way. It is silently bearing with another person. Some people are silent, but they are not open and active. They are either asleep or dead within themselves. The true listener is one who is quiet and yet sensitive toward another person, open and active, receptive and alive. Listening is participating in another life in a most creative and powerful way. It is neither coercive nor pushy. Rather, it is bearing one another's burdens.


Deep listening

Travelers at sea take soundings to measure the depth of the water through which they move. This kind of deep listening is necessary if they are to safely navigate treacherous waters. This is what we do as well, whenever we quiet ourselves and go to that inner place where there is enough silence for the words to resound.

~ from "Monos", May/June 1997

The silence of listening

The silence of prayer is the silence of listening.
~ Elizabeth O'Connor

LISTEN for the voice of the Spirit

LISTEN for the voice of the Spirit, for that which enlarges the mind, frees the heart, brings together what was scattered and lost, holds fast in unswerving fidelity, instills peace, renews confidence, comforts and endures. Happy are you if hear that voice!

~ from BEHOLD WOMAN by Carrin Dunne

A state of silent receptivity with that listening ear

In meditation we turn within a state of silent receptivity with that open inner eye of love, that listening ear, and we let our self unfold and reveal to us whatever is necessary to the NOW of our experience. We truly drink from the well of our consciousness. The water of eternal life "gushing up" brings forth to our external world a manifestation of harmony, love, peace and health.

~ from GOING ON A JOURNEY by Francoise C. Gerard

Silence is not merely negative

Silence is not merely negative -- a pause between words, a temporary cessation of speech -- but properly understood, it is highly positive: an attitude of attentive alertness, of vigilance, and above all, of listening.

~ Kallistos Ware

Listen, my child, to the silence

Listen, my child, to the silence
The undulating silence
where valleys and echoes slip,
bending foreheads
to the ground.

~ Frederico Garcia Lorca

Our hearing is not attuned

So often, the Spirit is blowing blessings on us, but our hearing is not attuned to this wind from heaven.

~ Marian Scheele

The more I listen

The more I listen
the more profound
the silence becomes.

~ Nan Merrill

You can listen to listen

You can listen to silence, Reuven. I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and listen to it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. I can hear it.

~ from THE CHOSEN by Chaim Potok

LISTEN is such a little, ordinary word

LISTEN is such a little, ordinary word that it is easily passed over. Yet we all know the pain of not being listened to, of not being heard. In a way, not to be heard is not to exist. This can be the plight of the very young and the very old, the very sick, the "confused", and all too frequently, the dying -- literally no one in their lives has time or patience to listen. Or perhaps we lack courage to hear them.

We forget how intimate listening is, alive and fluid in its mutuality. It involves interaction even if no one moves a muscle and even if the listener says nothing. Vulnerability is shared when silence is shared.

~ from HOLY LISTENING by Margaret Guenther