Hildegard Von Bingen

“There is within all visible things a hidden wholeness.”
Thomas Merton


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

Reflection 8

Dialogue or Discussion
Listening for context

“When we talk with each other, you may think we are having a discussion, when what I expected was a dialogue… In a (discussion) conversation each person is analyzing the subject, looking for answers, results or agreement….

Dialogue literally means words flowing through. In a flow of conversation, new understandings emerge that might not have been present otherwise. Dialogue, conducted in a spirit of inquiry and a genuine desire to understand, is an open-ended exploration….

Discussion leads from the intellect. Dialogue leads from the heart…One is not better than the other–both are valid means of communicating. It’s simply useful to know where you are…

Most of the time we dance back and forth between discussion and dialogue. We make no distinction, which often leads to misunderstanding.”


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.



Context, Guidelines, Quest

  • What is Truth?
  • Where do I experience love, acceptance and a sense of belonging?
  • Where and how do I find a sense of wholeness and balance with the inner and outer relationships in my world?
  • When do I experience moments of peace and well-being?
  • Where does my center hold?
  • Where do I find my inner compass in exploring meaning, purpose and direction in my life and my life with others?
  • Where do we go from here,  chaos or community? (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • How can I be the change I want to see in the world? (Mahatma Gandhi)

Are these not some of deeper questions that we hold within our hearts and are exploring together within this circle?

And is not the context the present Here and Now conditions and challenges that exist in our world today?

In Chapter 7 of Kay Lindahl’s book the Sacred Art of Listening, Kay affirms and upholds the value of “guidelines” to help us frame and form the ground center and the manner in which we explore these questions. Ways in which we can better attune and align ourselves with an “inner law of our being” and way of living.

Kay presents the sacred Art of Listening as a spiritual discipline and sacred practice for us to explore this potential. Thus far she has presented and given light to several inter-related themes that are like facets of a diamond or a multi- colored prism. These include listening for essence, spiritual awareness, innermost self/center, personal intimate experience, communion and meaning.

Kay is presenting us with ways to recover a sense of the sacred, and restoring a sense of reverence for life as we open to listen with the ears of our hearts.

Today, is a time for sharing our reflections of what we are learning in this ever growing and expanding process. This is an open forum for us to share what has most deeply touched our hearts and lives; what is emerging in the sharing ” our words of life” and silences with each other.


The Interfaith Peace Project

© SFIO CRACHO   Stock.Adobe.Com
  • Dialogue with others is a matter of mutual blessing for all participants. The conversation itself must be “prayerful”, not simply framed by prayers.
  • Participants in the dialogical conversation treasure the opportunity to learn from one another.
  • Honesty about issues must consider the well-being, emotions, and dignity of all participants.
  • Listening must be active. We hear what is said with focused attention on who is speaking. We let go of the temptation to defend or offend.
  • Forgiveness and healing must be the order of the day.
  • Participants summarize by revealng what they have heard realizing that something else may have been said or meant. This affords the opportunity for participants to clarify and explain their various postions.
  • Grattitude, graciousness, good humor, honesty, and openness are the virtues of any dialogue in which dissenting parties forge justice and peace through mutual understanding.



© Bernd S.

O God, of peace and love
companion in solitude
Protector in exile.

You inhabit the shadows of our communities.
Show us the way to stand against injustice,
To protect and nurture life, to live nonviolently.
Teach us to conserve
And preserve the natural gifts of this world.
Help us take time to be present to one another.

Increase among us the spirit of tolerance
and good will.
Bring us to the quiet still place of healing
And transform our souls into a reflection
Of your love and compassion.

From the Hesed Community
written by Lavange Guinn


We will be 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:

September 12, October 17, 24,

The programs are 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].

For more information on Author Kay Lindahl, click here.