Daily Ground – – -January 16th
To truly listen is to risk being changed forever. “ Sa’k’ej Henderson
Truly listening is a skill. I love to talk, but that does not mean I haven’t learned to listen. I remember the days when I was afraid to be changed by human connection – when I couldn’t truly listen. I would appear to be listening, but I was trying to figure out what you were going to say so I could have some profound response. Driven by fear before I could be changed by connection.
A few years ago, I attended a 4 day silent retreat. Some people were incredulous learning I was going – either remarking how they could never do this, or offering their opinions of how I couldn’t do it. It was pure gift. It makes one realize how often we use language to distract us. I would see someone, and want to say, “I love your hair, yoga pants, energy, etc.” Because it was a silent retreat, I was left with myself to ponder, “What is the importance of saying that? To make others feel good? Is that my job? To make others like me? Am I really worried about that? ” This isn’t to say any of this is bad or good. What the silence provided was a slowing down of the automatic pilot that is usually in control. It put a stop to simply being driven to speak, and allowed me to discern.
The art of listening is becoming rare in the digital age. I cannot pretend to be truly listening if I am checking my phone, or surfing the web. Today, I will be open to being changed by truly listening. . .to you. . .to myself. . .to God. . .to whomever is in front of me.