Saturday, December 29, 2007


To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their worth more seriously and discovering their true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.
-Henri Nouwen, Bread For the Journey, March 11 entry


Peterson Toscano said...

Lovely Eugene. This is one of the things I enjoy most about Quaker worship. It allows me a space to listen deeply to God and others. Rarely in life do we give ourselves permission to do that or have a structure in place to help make it happen.

I often think that the best thing I could give to God is my attention. God already knows what I need. My words often distract me from the understanding I need.

Mark said...

Oh, if only more GCN'ers would understand and take that attitude :)

Actually, if more Christians in general would begin to understand the benefit of listening without agenda.

Thanks for sharing. Excellent thoughts, as per usual.