Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week II - Day 2 - Space for Listening

Lord, may I be
This morning, I went back to yesterday's image of emptying my cup....twice...before I began reading. Joyce does not suggest doing this, but it helped me.  It helped me to let go, for that moment, "life" from yesterday. The second time it helped me to let go of "life" as I am projecting it for today.

...And then, I sat studying the inside of the empty cup.  I traced the rim and then ran my fingers along the bottom....Lord, help me to be present to your Word and to your thoughts as expressed in these next few pages.  Lord, may my heart and my mind be present to you so that I might listen and learn. AMEN.

Another wonderful quote this morning as you and I begin our reading!
When we pray, how often do we say: 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening'? More often, I think, we say: 'Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking!" ~ Robert Wicks

I was reminded of my Children's Message from Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. Peter began blubbering and God said, "Listen....!"

Yet, another uncomfortable moment for the disciples and for me.

Being comfortable with silence is foreign for many of us.  Often I, and maybe you, think we should be saying something...anything...and only to often do I begin blubbering like Peter. The Chinese offer great wisdom in their symbol for "listening." includes not just our ears, but also our heart and our eyes. If you would like to consider "listening" with undivided attention a little more, you might enjoy: Listening, a Self-Evaluation

In the Companions in Christ series, I learned more about offering the gift of "Holy Listening" to another person. I remember doing my best to model the behavior on day, as another companion shared a difficult story. The other women were nearly coming out of their chairs, wanting to offer advice! Finally, the companion sharing her story looked at me and exclaimed, "Well! Aren't you going to say something!"

It was a valuable lesson for all of us.  It is difficult to be still, yet, when I am not trying to think of something to say in order to "fix" or "reassure" or... I can be truly ATTENTIVE! My mind is not listening with an agenda! Joyce reminds you and I that this is true with God as well.
"Listening attentively is essential for spiritual growth. To do this, we need open minds and hearts, emptied of the clutter that blocks our way and crowds out what awaits entrance into our life." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p50)

We unconsciously learn how to "tune out"
Joyce goes on to talk about the noise of "our" culture.  I sometimes forget that it is the Western World that is so noisy, and that it is not like this everywhere.  I was reminded of a young woman's stories after she spent an internship in Spain.  One thing she talked about was the siesta time every afternoon. She confessed it was very difficult to get into that rhythm because there was "so much to get done".
"Besides clearing out some of the noise and the ceaseless activity, I think that listening also requires that we become more comfortable with 'be-ing.' 'Be-ing' helps us to develop awareness, to focus more keenly on our inner activity without needing to 'do' anything except be attentive." (Ibid)
Another way of articulating what I learned about Holy Listening from Companions.

Last week we spent time discovering and acknowledging that God is everywhere. You and I learned that every part of our life has something to offer us for our growth because God is in the midst of it.  It is only, when we give ourselves to attentiveness and deep listening that we are able to discover God...everywhere.
"I 'hear' connections with my deeper life in music, in correspondence I receive, in telephone calls , in the people I meet, in what I read and touch and taste, and in the insights and emotions that arise within me. Listen...What do you hear?" (Ibid)
     Breathing in: I listen...
     Breathing out: ...You are here. 

Picture yourself being held in God's hands, just as you are holding your cup.
Love and Faithfulness meet....
Allow yourself to be attentive...Just "be" with the Divine......

Scripture:Psalm 85:8-13
Let me hear what God will speak,
for God will speak peace to the people...
to those who turn to God in their hearts (Ps 85:8)

"Dear God, what do you want me to know about 'be-ing?'
"What keeps me from listening to the voice of the Holy One?
"I have connected with my inner world recently when..."

I do not know the artist or his/her intent, but studying the painting with the green and then the deep magenta surrounding the inner core...thinking about "LOVE" meeting me when I am faithful to being beyond words.  I do not know how to articulate what that might look or be like, but the white center....pure, nestled, holy,...this image speaks to my heart on what it is like to be "be-ing" with God.

There is peace within and without vs. the confused blubbering of Peter at the Transfiguration which is all to like my own confused blubbering at times.  There is stillness in "be-ing"... a calm sense of waiting.

Peter was in the midst of the Holy, and God told him to "Listen...!"

It is only when I am faithful, that I can be totally enveloped by Love...and be encapsulated within the Holy.

What keeps me from listening to the voice of the Holy One?

That darn clutter I began to acknowledge yesterday!

The "stuff" I cram into my head and my heart. The "stuff" that I place on my to-do list that God has never asked me to deal with.

"MY" stuff....prevents me from hearing the voice of the one I most yearn to hear.  And, acknowledging that it is "my" stuff, I can also begin to let go of one piece of the thing at a time.  A Sister of Spirit wrote this morning, " feels overwhelming when thinking about all my clutter..."

I appreciate her sense of overwhelm.

Over and again, I am reminded by others (the voice of God?)....One Thing, One Step, ONE.... because I can only let go and be attentive when I let go of "my" will....and become submissive, acknowledging that it is only through the work of the Spirit that I can become whole.

O God, you are always present, always asking me to "LISTEN"! This yearning in my heart, I know it comes from is in response to your nudging me...calling to me. Help me to be "be-ing" with you today.  Help me to hear you and see you...sense you within all that I am today. Help me to let go of my to-do list of stuff.  AMEN.

For today, Joyce keeps it simple.
"For ONE (emphasis added) hour today I will be especially attentive to every piece of my life so that I will find God there."

God does  not expect you or I to "be-come" over night! He knows our human hearts and our human frailties.  Still, as long as you and I respond...we are "be-coming" the unique and gifted child we were created to be.  Praise be to God!

Many Blessings ~  Sandi

1 comment:

  1. The quote to start the lesson about "speak Lord, for your servant is listening?" I know that I am a terrible listener. When we were doing the study on prayer and we were practicing thoughtful listening, I had to really focus to be in the moment and I continue to get caught up in the racing lists even when I am yearning for time with God. I liked the Psalm 85:8 verse "I will listen to what God the Lord says, he promised peace for his people, his saints - but let them not return to folly." God wants me to be still and listen, it is in these moments of peace that only God can provide that I can clearly hear Him speak to me. Dear God, quiet my soul, lead me, guide me, teach me, and give me rest in You.