Listening: Wisdom from Del
One of the things I really admired about Del Anderson was his passion for learning. He was still reading, writing, thinking, and learning well into his 80s, 90s, and past 100 years old! This morning, I read one of his journal essays about improving his listening skills. (The quotes are from an article by Morton T. Kelsey that inspired this writing.)
These are some of my favorite passages from Del:
To read the full essay, go to: http://godsspiritinaction.org/listening/
Del with Lucile, whom he called “one of God’s outstanding listeners.” (1982)
Morton Kelsey says, “Unless we listen to human beings, we do not know what they are. In such cases we project either positive or negative elements of ourselves upon other human beings and try to force them into the pattern of what we think they ought to be. This may be a kind of communication with ourselves, but it is certainly no communication with the other person, and no basis for real relationship.”
Kelsey further says, “There is no other way to learn to listen to God except by learning to listen to human beings.” This was a “shocker” for me.
Then, how do I become silent as I listen to others? I allow myself to be silent with other people, silent not only in speech, but also in my inner response, an inner silence. I neither agree nor disagree with what is said; as I really listen it opens the way for people to be what they are.
Listening is love in action. It is one level of prayer. Listening assists me to penetrate through my human ego and “hear the Spirit of God which dwells in the heart of every person.” Real listening is a religious experience. It is awesome; one method of worship.
Listening has been one of the missing links in my spiritual growth. Though I spend time daily listening to God, alone in the Silence, I have failed to realize the need for me to listen to people as they begin to talk.
Now, we are in a position to be used by God in God’s Healing Light and process of recognizing, acknowledging, affirming, and claiming the Christhood within each other. Then we are God-bearers for and with each other. How awesome! What a mystery, what depth of each human soul!
Who can you listen to today as an act of prayer and worship?