Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality

I just finished watching "The View" which I tivo every weekday for the "HotTopics" segment that opens the show. Where else on TV can I watch 4 (or 5 when Barbara Walters is there) women with diverse worldviews discuss politics, religion, and the surrounding culture? The following quote is from my Henri Nouwen "tear-off-a-page-a-day" desk calendar. I don't think there is much listening happening on "The View" and if there was would they be able to keep up their ratings??? I do appreciate what H.N. suggests as listening being a form of "spiritual hospitality"......may we all practice some of that today!

"To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presecence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even dare to be silent with you." -Henri Nouwen

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