January 6, 2005

Listening and Grace

Listening intently to another person, sympathetically reflecting on and reflecting back to that person what has been deeply heard beneath the mere surfaces of communication, is a charismatic experience for which there is no adequate word. But the concept of "grace" comes close, suggesting an intensely felt dispensation from the commonplace. In such rare moments of mutual deep hearing between people, a mind routinely overshadowed by a sense of its lonely isolation is suddenly suffused with a radiant delight. Such delight, like grace, gifts the mind with an experience of the ordinary pierced by the extraordinary.

William J. Scheick


Marjorie said...

This is very true, it should inspire me to listen more. I recall a lecture in which the speaker said that when communication really occurs, its a kingdom moment -- bringing forth the Kingdom of God. Now, if I can only communicate like that in prayer!

Listen, stillness, the ideas recur.

Al said...

What is so great is that we can "practice" this everyday. We don't have to wait for Sunday, or when we sit, or that special person. Even everyday folks: cashier, gas station attendant, co-worker - we can practice that deep connection even with eye contact. Then the true challange: to turn it inward to hear exactly what is happening in our own hearts and minds.
I am delighted by the possibilities.

Akilesh said...

Meredith, this quote captures the spirit you embody here on Graceful Presence. So generously you shower us with the vast grace spoken of in this quote.

"...suffused with a radiant delight."

Larry said...

For me this happens often in the blogging business. We have a chance to read and reflect before peppering off with a response. The tongue is quick (too quick often enough), but I can't quite as lightly pass on written words that I have reflected about as I write. And I write knowing that what's happening here is God's business.

isaiah said...

Beautiful, thought-filled post, M. Do we dare stop and consider the few occasions in life we are able to silently give of ourselves and offer what 'grace' there is on hand that others may be comforted?

We cannot truly give...without receiving in return.

"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace..."

"O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much
seek to be understood, as to understand....
....for it is in giving that we receive."

St. Francis of Assisi