Listening with the “Ear of Your Heart”
Volume 7

“Living Light”
Hildegard Von Blingen

The Sacred Art of Listening
By Kay Lindahl
Published by
Skylight Paths Publishing

Reflection 7
Listening for Meaning

In Chapter 6 of Kay Lindahl’s book, the Sacred Art of Listening, Kay continues to introduce and weave themes into a larger pattern of wholeness. Here, she presents us with “ritual’ as a way of listening for meaning.

“Ritual provides us with ways to acknowledge or remind us that something is important… They are repeated patterns of meaningful acts – they help us set the tone for our days.”

Kay relates that she uses two rituals to set the context for her work in the sacred art of listening. “These two rituals transform the ordinary into something special and create a safe and sacred space by acknowledging the presence of spirit in our daily life and in our work together.”

“The first ritual is to light a candle, which is a symbol for light. Spirit, Creator, Source, life. Lighting the candle is a ritual that acknowledges the sacred right here and now. The candle also becomes a reminder to look for light in each other throughout the time together.”

“The second ritual is based on people sitting in a circle, which is fundamental for listening in groups. The ritual is to walk around the circle. As I walk, I invite the participants to draw the circle with me by tracing the circle with their eyes and looking at each person as if seeing him or her for the first time. I ask them to silently acknowledge, welcome, and appreciate each other. The circle then becomes the symbol of sacred space as we learn the art of sacred listening.  The ritual of circle draws the boundary between social time and sacred time. We connect.”

“Rituals create an environment that calls for listening in a new way as we begin our exploration of what it is to take on listening as a spiritual practice. Create your own rituals to add to your spiritual practice.”

This is just a small portion of Kay Lindahl’s book. For more information:
The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating A Spiritual Practice
by Kay Lindahl
Published by Skylight Paths Publishing
Available for your use at the Antioch Center Library or for purchase at your local book store.



“Only wonder leads to knowing”
Gregory of Nyssa

“ A questioning heart is a loving heart”
John Navarone S.J.

As we explore this dimension in the sacred art of listening, let’s further deepen some of the other themes that have surfaced from our other gatherings:

Recovering a sense of the sacred
Reference for All life

How are these values different from “head” knowledge and more expressive of “heart wisdom?”

How does this influence our search for “truth”, “goodness” and “beauty” in our lives?

How do we search for and express those “ultimate” values, that guide us and ground us in more wholeness, more elemental, essential, enduring, meaningful ways of living?

How does deeper listening to others help us develop a better understanding, meaning, and appreciation for being and becoming a more whole human being?

How does “listening for meaning” with others help us realize a more relational, conscious awareness that we are not alone or separate beings?

How does shared meaning help us understand our inner/outer connectedness with others and the world?

How do we learn to embody and grow in wisdom and love, as an expression of meaning, purpose and direction in the mystery of Creation?

Keeping an open, listening heart/mind allows us to receive and respond to other’s sense of meaning in the world.  How might this be a way of discovering new common ground and potential for transforming ourselves and the present conditions on our planet?


© James Steidl

“Religion is about ritual, about morals, about systems of thought, all of them good but all of them incomplete. Spirituality is about coming to consciousness of the sacred. It is in that consciousness that perspective comes, that peace comes. It is in that consciousness a person comes to wholeness.

Life is not an exercise to be endured. It is a mystery to be unfolded. Life comes from the living of it. The attitudes we bring to it and the understandings we take away from each of the moments that touch us constitute the depth of soul we bring to all the most mundane events of life. They measure the quality of our lives. The truth is that life is the only commodity each of us actually owns. It is the only thing in the universe over which we have any real control whatsoever, slim as that may be.”

“Illuminated Life: Monastic Visions for Seekers of Light”
Joan Chittiser

© nenetus

For a New Beginning

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside of you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donahue
“To Bless the Space Between Us”

© tk0920


No journey is more significant than the journey to the depth of one’s own heart.

A long time ago, a powerful spiritual director answered a question I had in a way that began to change my life. She was soft spoken, unrelenting and ever present to anyone she encountered.

She reminds me of that young woman who legend, myth and Scripture tells us changed the World by simply saying “Yes” to what could only be construed as baffling and strange. That young woman who gave birth to Jesus, who would baffle the World with his stories as he became a friend of strangers, was so attentive to the testimony of wayward shepherds that they burst into songs we cannot stop singing. It is said she “treasured what they said” and so she treasured them. The young mother who was baffled by a voice in her heart was more than open and receptive of those strangers of the night. Perhaps her bafflement was soothed by their testimony. In any event, she pondered in her heart what they proclaimed.

That young woman of legend, myth and Scripture probably could not read or write. She had no prestige or power. Yet she was more than courageous and generous that night as she listened so intently with every fiber of her being. She teaches us how precious it is to be a human being as we are all invited, as Carrie Jackson said, “to listen another person into life.”

So you might be more powerful than you think. You have the power to listen to another so they might burst into song. Never miss an opportunity to manger another person in the cradle of your listening and pondering heart. As that Spiritual Director of long ago said to me when I asked her, “Is there any hope for me?” she responded, “Listen to your heart and fear not what you hear!”

So, my friends, listen to your heart as you would listen to a close and dear friend blessing all of us who might just burst into song as your listening stirs us into the fullness of life.

May the Child born of Mary bless you this year and always with the gift of listening to your heart. May that Child born of love empower you to hear the songs that lurk in the hearts of all who would sing if only someone would listen. Bless you for listening.

Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Executive Director
The Interfaith Peace Project
Christmas Letter 2017

We are offering Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice using the book, “The Sacred Art of Listening” by Kay Lindahl.  These programs will continue to take place from 12:30 to 1:30 pm at the Antioch Center on the following dates:

August 22
September 5, 19

The programs will be facilitated by our Advisory Board member, Randy Thomas with help from Susan Batterton. We have purchased 2 copies of the book, “The Sacred Art of Listening”, and made them available for you to read at the Antioch Center. Handouts for each session will also be available along with additional supplemental resources.

For those unable to attend the programs, we will send out summaries, such as this one, of each program for your home study.

If you would like copies of the handouts from the series, email us at [email protected].