I am not a big talker. I find listening far more interesting.
There is much to learn in deep listening, especially to ourselves.
On several occasions in my life, unique experiences of peace directly preceded significant challenges, almost as if something beyond my understanding was saying, “Here is a gift. You are going to need it.”
While not frequent, these experiences happen often enough that I cannot attribute them to chance. It’s kind of spooky, and it has taught me to listen. There is more to life than what is experienced on the surface. Something inside me knows this. It’s not rational. In fact, it’s so subtle that I need to be very watchful to pick up on it. But, when I listen, it offers guidance.
My brother once relayed a story to me about a conversation with a beloved elderly professor in seminary. He asked what his most significant learning was in a lifetime of religious study. The professor answered, “To hold hands with God and your fellow man, and if you ever let go, to find a way to hold hands again.”
I am not a religious person, but that sounds right. Spirit is active in all relationships. It is found whenever we hold hands.
Deep listening can seem like clairvoyance. Perhaps it’s simply holding hands with life. Spirit demonstrates that we are not “Self” experiencing relationships, but instead, relationships experiencing “Self.”
The Austrian-Israeli philosopher Martin Buber was best known for his proposition that we may address existence in two ways: The attitude of “I” towards a separate “It,” and the attitude of “I” towards “Thou.”
The I-It relationship is a relationship between ourselves and a mere object, like a shovel. A shovel has no spirit. It is not a part of us. I-It relationships objectify life, placing value on things in terms of their usefulness. Alternatively, the I-Thou relationship is intimate. It is bound by spiritual energy, where (using the lyrics of Jackson Browne) “we each are a part of one another.”
The contemporary American philosopher Ken Wilber refers to this as “The miracle of we.” A powerful word that is often taken for granted.
Love is the penultimate we!
There is a lot of anger in the world today. Perhaps we have forgotten how to hold hands?
Life is a journey from “I,” to “We,” to “One.” In short, a pull to union. Each of us experiences this in our own way.
Spirit already knows!
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