Hildegard Von Bingen
Transforming Words or an Inspiring Presence
Deeper than Words…
a Contemporary form of Eucharist.”
Seeking Common Ground
LISTENING TO APPRECIATE
In Chapter 8 of Kay Lindahl’s book, the Sacred Art of Listening, Kay presents the theme of Seeking Common Ground: Listening to Appreciate. She begins this chapter with 2 questions for us to consider. Have you ever been in a situation with someone where you felt misunderstood? Where you felt sure that no matter what you did or said, you would not be appreciated? In these situations, it seems like the possibility of finding common ground is elusive and we may begin to think that we are living in a different world than the other person.
After giving attention and thanks for the lessons we are learning and for the guidance for how to understand them we may still feel that something is missing. Kay offers the suggestion that we may have forgotten an important step in authentic listening-appreciation.
She describes a process and approach that she has practiced to better prepare for dialogue. This involves creating a list of qualities that you authentically appreciate about the other person. Then sharing this with them without any expectation of any particular outcome.
This allows for a shift of attitude and disposition that is more positive. It expresses a sense of “good will” and positive regard for the other person, a potential for exploring and cultivating conditions for common ground. Allowing for a more open flow of dialogue creates a welcome space for better understanding and acceptance of differences. Kay says that in this appreciation shared with others, she is more at peace.
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.
The “Unknown Other”
Reflection by Randy Thomas
As I read, listened to and reflected on this chapter and considered how it might be meaningful to the spiritual life journey we all share, what surfaced were these questions: How is this related to the way in which we approach the Mystery of the “unknown other”? Is that “unknown other” within ourselves, parts yet to be known and loved, the places where our hidden judgments, doubts, and fears may live and might influence how we listen to and relate with “others”?
Do we approach these places with a willingness to accept, embrace, and seek a better understanding of ourselves? What challenges, obstacles, adversities, inner conflicts do we meet along the way? Where do we find forgiveness, mercy, trust, and courage to affirm and appreciate our “original goodness.”? Where do we recover a sense of the sacred reverence for the mystery of Life in the search for meaning, purpose and direction for our journey?
In some ways we can make this journey in solitude, through listening to our inner voice, self narrative, and self reflection through prayer, meditation, contemplation. But are we really ever alone? Does not this lead us back to relationship with the “wholly other”, “God”, the divine unknown, universal creative origin and center of our Being? And how do we approach this “wholly other” with fear or trust, an open curiosity, a willingness to know and love, with wonder and appreciation, with an open heart, mind, and hands as we listen to share our love and devotion, beholding images and likenesses through creative words and silences shared?
I would like to suggest that one of meeting places where the “other” is truly encountered is within, among, and through the members of this circle. In the welcome space where we freely gather, in the deeper questions, inquiries, through our words and the willingness to listen in and through the silences, where word and spirit become the shared communion of our embodied lives together.
We are Unique yet One, in our quest for wholeness. We are Prodigals/Pilgrims sharing the journey home, here and now, through listening hearts as we listen for words of compassion, mercy , wisdom, grace, freedom, truth, joy, peace. We are engaged in Being and becoming a New Creation, receiving, sharing and giving, gifts and blessings, expanding this circle in communion with others. Blessings to you all for being who you are.
What are your “guiding compass” rules of life, habits of heart, spiritual practices, relationships, sacred books, graced encounters, experience of natural wonders that you have personally experienced as your map unfolds on this abiding and expanding journey home?
The Great Invocation
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men [humanity].
May Christ return to Earth.
From the center where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide the little wills of men [humanity] –
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the center which we call the race of men [humanity] Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
My Soul Waits: Psalm 62
“Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness”
by Nan C. Merrill
For You alone my soul waits in silence;
from the Beloved comes my salvation.
Enfolding me with strength and steadfast love
my faith shall remain firm.
Yet how long will fear rule my life,
holding me in its grip like
a trembling child,
a dark and lonely grave?
Fear keeps me from living fully, from
sharing my gifts;
it takes pleasure in imprisoning
Fear pretends to comfort, so long
has it dwelled within me;
truly, it is my enemy.
for my hope is from the Beloved.
In the Silence rests my freedom and
my guidance; for
You are the Heart of my heart,
You speak to me in Silence.
Trust in Love at all times, O people
pour out your heart to the Beloved;
Let silence be a refuge for you.
Being of low estate is but a sigh,
being of high estate is misleading;
In the balance, either high or low,
it is of little consequence–
They are gone in one breath.
Riches while obtained by right
or through extortion,
rarely lead to nought but greed–
set not your heart on them.
Once you have spoken,
twice I have heard:
Our potential gifts belong to You;
to You, O Beloved, belongs our
For you render to us all that
we offer to you–
fear begets fear,
love begets love.
For You alone my soul waits in silence;
From the Beloved comes Life,
Love and Light.
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].