The Hospitality Listening

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I met with a new friend today for lunch. He is a bit of an introvert like me, which makes me more self-conscious than I should be! This also means I struggled to allow there to be ANY moments of silence! During our conversation, I couldn’t help but think of an excerpt I ran across the other day by Henri Nouwen. Being fully present without thinking ahead is SO hard for me… I am really praying that God help me to slow down and learn to live in the moment. I hope this also challenges you in a big way:

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality by Henri Nouwen
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 presence 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 own 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 to dare to be silent with you.

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4 Comments on “The Hospitality Listening”

  1. Kelli Says:

    Great challenge – especially the line, “Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond.”

  2. Doug Says:

    GREAT POST – very insightful… I blogged today on “being present” I think it gets at other symptoms of this struggle to genuinely listen.

    thanks mike!

  3. Nate Says:

    Thanks Mike – these are great words. I keep journalling (in fact even this morning wrote) that I want to be a better listener, so I can be more present to people, and bang… there’s some awesome advice on it! Thanks mate.

  4. Anne Dorice DeFebbo Says:

    Dear Michael,
    As a Franciscan Sister and therapist, I was struck by your wonderful reflection. Many times, I struggle to really listen, and provide that iner space and freedom for my clients. I want to “fix” the situation.

    As the relationship develops I realize that all is GIFT, and the stranger in front of me becomes guest. Keep up the good work!


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