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

It is in the stillness, in the silence, that the word of God is to be heard is in the stillness, in the silence, that the word of God is to be heard. There is no better avenue of approach to this Word than through stillness, through silence. It is to be heard there as it is -- in that unself-consciousness, for when we are aware of nothing, that word is imparted to us and clearly revealed.

~ from MEISTER ECKHART by Meister Eckhart and Raymond B. Blakney with thanks to Fred Cunningham

We need to listen fully

Listening to others clearly opens the way to understanding the situation. But listening to others requires quieting some of the voices that already exist within us. When this happens, there is space not only for our own truest voice, what the Quakers call the still small voice within. This voice always tells us the truth. And, as Alice Walker has said,

"...the inner voice can be very scary sometimes. You listen, and then you go 'Do whut?' I don't wanna do that! But you still have to pay attention to it."

We need to take time to quiet down and listen to ourselves with attention -- not only in the midst of action, but when we are alone ... we need to listen fully. It is the basis of all compassionate action.

~ from COMPASSION IN ACTION by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush

Gentleness is Your work

Gentleness is Your work, my God, and it is the work You have given me to do.

~ Francois Fenelon

Silence in mercy means more than stilling our tongues

Silence in mercy means more than stilling our tongues whenever we plan to speak unkindly. We must silence our judgmental thoughts as well. Each time we think of another person critically, we need to consciously isolate that thought and replace it with one that is imbued with gracious tolerance for his or her faults ... In such silence, we allow others to exist as God made them to be rather than how we would wish them to be ... Through the use of silence, we not only drive out our desire to dominate and control, but also learn to listen to one another. When we truly hear what others are saying to us in the respectful silence of our heart, we can begin to serve others with mercy, for we now know what they need from us and can respond accordingly.


O Holy One, I hear and say so many words

O Holy One,
I hear and say so many words,
yet yours is the Word I need.
Speak now,
and help me listen;
and if what I hear is silence,
let it quiet me,
let it disturb me,
let it touch my need,
let it break my pride,
let it shrink my certainties,
let it enlarge my wonder.

~ from GUERRILLAS OF GRACE by Ted Loder with thanks to Anne Strader

Listening is not always easy

Listening is not always easy. In biting back the urge to interject, to advise, even to condemn, the listener gives him or her self to the other. That giving is an act of love. Dialogue, that is speaking and listening, creates a unity of being, draws us together, pulls us up and out from the "other" everyday world where we are apart into a moment of communion ... Through creative listening we imitate God, the ultimate Listener. God listens, and God waits ... drawing us upward through the sublime power of listening. Dialogue with God and with those we love is the necessary bread of life. Without it we starve.

~ from "Renewing a Marriage" by Walter Reinsdorf in "Fellowship of Prayer" (April 1992)

We give you thanks, Gentle One who has touched our soul

We give you thanks,
Gentle One who has touched our soul.
You have loved us from the moment of our first waking
and have held us in joy and in grief.
Stay with us, we pray.
Grace us with your presence
and with it, the fullness of our own humanity.
Help us claim our strength and need,
our awesomeness and fragile beauty,
that encouraged by the truth
we might work to restore
compassion to the human family
and renew the face of the earth.

~ from MORE THAN WORDS by Janet Schaffran and Pat Kozak

July-August 1992 (Vol. V, No. 7)

BLESSINGS TO ALL! Gentle days of summer lend themselves to basking in the Presence, to taking quiet moments of just being and listening. For,
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