Listening

Any good counsellor knows that the greatest contribution they can make to a person who comes to them in extremis, is not to offer any kind of ‘solution’, but rather to enable the person to tell their story in all its complexity. ‘Let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication,’ cries the Psalmist.

In my book Older I give an example of perfect listening. When I was being prepared for ordination at Glasshampton Monastery in Worcester, Brother Gregory told me how he had received a letter from the headmaster of a major public school asking if he would see a sixteen-year-old boy who was heavily into drugs. Brother Gregory saw the boy. Some weeks later he received a letter from the headmaster: ‘I don’t know what you said but he is completely changed.’

Brother Gregory smiled as he told me this and added, ‘I didn’t say a word! I simply listened.’ Clearly the quality of his listening acted as a mirror in which the boy could see himself. The lesson is that the more we practise silence in our meditation, the better able we shall be to respond to others by giving them our complete attention.

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2 thoughts on “Listening”

  1. In my Church we have what are called Fellowship Groups, some called Covenant Groups. Each month there is a Topic. Rules for the Group are established to maintain Confidentially and Trust. We practice deep listening. It is a difficult task in the begining, not to engage in Conversation, ask questions, offer help or advice. Meeting in person was rewarding, but meeting during the Pandemic on a Computer added an unexpected dimension. Whereas it might be discomforting face to face to look so deeply and for so long into a person’s eyes, the computer camera, the face, the eyes, such a deep connection into the Soul. A complete embrace of a being. Intense love and connection void of physical touch. A feeling of truly being seen. A face. Eyes. Engaged in thought. Connecting to feelings. Loving kindness. Deep Listening.

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