From our comrades at The Wilderness Way in Portland, OR:
“When we hear, there is something being woven. And what is happening is, I am making a real effort to hear not just your words but what is coming from your other chakras, and you are demonstrably showing that you are seeking to hear what I am saying. And we are in a fluid, almost musical, state in what we are doing right now. That hearing is love.”
— Gerald Jud, Love is an Intention
December 9: Week Two’s Skill of Loving is HEARING.
HEARING: I hear what you are truly saying, not what I wish you were saying. I also speak my own truth with kindness and respect.
This week we invite you to consciously practice HEARING (and speaking truth) as a way of loving our way through the darkest of days. Share stories, insights and discoveries in this group.
Some Possibilities for Practicing HEARING what others are truly saying, not what we wish they were saying, and speaking our own truth with kindness and respect.
- Hearing Self: The practice of loving ourselves through hearing has many dimensions. Pay attention to your own voice — do you feel free to speak with your authentic voice in most situations? Do you feel our culture encourages or discourages you from speaking your own truth with kindness and respect? Notice what you say and how you say it. Also pay attention to the voices inside your head, or your own self-talk. What are those voices saying? Are they voices you want to be listening to? Are they voices of love? What do you hear?
- Hearing In Close Relationships: Hearing others close to you, and speaking our own truths with kindness and respect can often be more challenging than trying to do so with people we aren’t as invested in. Practice deep listening with those close to you, refraining from judgment or even comment about what they are saying. What do you discover about them and yourself?
- Hearing in Community: Notice the culture of the communities/groups of which you are part. Is hearing and speaking truth with kindness and respect part of the culture? What happens when you deeply listen in your communities/groups? What happens when you speak truth?
- Hearing in the Public Sphere: If, as Cornel West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” how does the practice of hearing impact your engagement in the public sphere, in the advancement of justice? In this age of constant exposure to inflammatory rhetoric, advertising and “alternate facts,” how can the practice of hearing help us navigate and engage one another from a place of love? Practice hearing online or in person with people with whom you disagree. How do you do it? What happens?
- Hearing in the Earth Community: How does it feel to extend the practice of hearing to more than human beings…plants, animals, elements? One way to start this practice is to listen to the birds. Those who know bird language have discovered that birds can tell us exactly what’s going on all around us, if we have ears to hear!
Connection with Christian Scriptures
This story begins with a long list of power-players who dominated the eastern Mediterranean at the time when Jesus was about to begin his ministry. But the story tells us that the word of God was NOT found in the dominant culture’s many machines of manipulation. Instead, the word of God was crying from out of the wilderness, through the voices of the oppressed and the marginalized. And this word was a word of liberation, of equality: “every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
But who could hear those voices crying over the roar of patriarchal and political propaganda? Who can hear the voices of the oppressed, the abused, the imprisoned, the migrant, struggling for justice today, saying, “No! Listen to us! There is a better way!”
There is a saying in scripture that says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” As an additional reflection, consider how you support yourself to be able to hear the voice of God (however you understand God) in the voices of the oppressed, beneath all the noise and distraction of our culture?