“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” – Sue Patton Thoele
Living well takes practice and is facilitated by striving to stay open to deep relationships and connection with ourselves, our communities, and with God. Below are suggestions for exercises that contribute to listening deeply and well. Consider engaging one or more of these practices through the week.
· Sit stable and still. Close your eyes. Breath deeply and relax.
· Listen with wide-open awareness.
· As thoughts, emotions, memories, associations arise in your mind, notice them, gently let them go, and return to listening.
· If there are no sounds, listen and rest in the silence.
Deep Listening in Dialogue
· Focus on deeply listening rather than projecting opinions or an agenda.
· Commit to self-control and self-awareness, as well as a group-centered or other-centered approach.
· Listen with curiosity and compassion to discover what is being conveyed.
· Resist the urge to jump. Welcome gaps and silence.
· If you find your mind wandering, use the speaker’s voice to bring you back to the present moment.
Listening to God
· We can listen to God and to our own spirits through meditation (see meditative listening above).
· God can speak to us through open, contemplative reading of scripture and other spiritual writings.
We can experience God in prayer, through nature, in caring for others, and many other circumstances.