In Native American culture, they have what they call Talking Circles. They come together in group to discuss things. However, there are rules they abide by. They are not written anywhere, they are just known. They are rules one is raised with. I have been told that one of the foremost rules is about listening. It is said you can tell a lot about a person by how well they listen.
In these Talking Circles they openly discuss problems, they seek solutions, share feelings and experiences. It is believed that listening to one another honors the Divine within each person. So when a speaker it is interrupted, it is an act of dishonoring. It brings dishonor to the person and reflects poorly on how they were raised. As a result, it also brings dishonor to the family, Tribe, Clan, and Nation. Read More
I am not sure how many of you watch reality shows like America or Britain’s Got Talent or any of the other talent reality shows. Not having a television anymore, I only watch the videos that are on YouTube. This week, however, I have become fascinated by watching tapes of The Voice. What has fascinated me is how focused the judges are on listening to the contestants.
They were so actively listening. Not being a vocal coach or knowing much about music at all, I have been fascinated watching how actively they listen to every note, to every breath, to every intonation in the contestants voices. It made me wonder how it feels as the contestants are singing their hearts out to know that they are so actively listening to them. Read More
While I would like to thank I am a good listener, I am mindful that at times I am not as good a listener as I would like to be. I am sure that is pretty sure for most people. How often do we feel as if we are giving people our undivided attention? How often when we are talking are we thinking about what we are going to say in response to what the other person is saying, instead of just listening?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my greatest fear has been that if I just sat and listened and gave another person my undivided attention that I would not know what to say. Read More
What is compassion? When I was in seminary, one of my professors introduced me to a book called The Quality Of Characteristics. The author Ruth Gendler, describes compassion in the following manner.
Compassion wears Saturn’s rings on the fingers of her left hand. She is intimate with the life force. She understands the meaning of sacrifice. She is not afraid to die. There is nothing you cannot tell her. Compassion speaks with a slight accent. She was a vulnerable child, miserable in school, cold, shy, alert to the pain in the eyes of her sturdier classmates. The other kids teased her about being too sentimental, and for a long time she believed them. In ninth grade she was befriended by Courage. Courage lent Compassion bright sweaters, explained the slang, showed her how to play volleyball, taught her you can love people and not care what they think about you. In many ways Compassion is still the stranger, neither wonderful nor terrible, herself, utterly, always. Read More