How to Really Listen

I’ve posted some thoughts on “How to Really Listen” over on the Forefront blog.

Back in May last year I was introduced to this ancient Quaker practice of a “clearness committee” and was immediately taken with how this could be a really helpful tool to so many of my friends and my artist communities who struggle with clarity and how to make decisions to move forward.

It is designed to “help you to learn the value of asking open, honest questions, to experience how everyone has an inner teacher, and to see what happens when we commit to the ideas of no fixing, advising, saving or correcting one another.”

Right now at Forefront we’re studying the book of Job during Lent and our Brooklyn Associate Pastor Jen spoke on how the 3 friends starting get into deep trouble when they broke their silence & solidarity with Job & started offering opinions & advice.

If you find it hard to really listen with judgement & rushing to interrupt then I suggest you go ahead & read my whole blog & hear my experience with a shortened version of the clearness committee.

Here’s an excerpt from a website all about the clearness committee:

Many of us face a dilemma when trying to deal with a personal problem, question, or decision. On the one hand, we know that the issue is ours alone to resolve and that we have the inner resources to resolve it, but access to our own resources is often blocked by layers of inner “stuff”—confusion, habitual thinking, fear, despair. On the other hand, we know that friends might help us uncover our inner resources and find our way, but by exposing our problem to others, we run the risk of being invaded and overwhelmed by their assumptions, judgments, and advice—a common and alienating experience. As a result, we often privatize these vital questions in our lives: at the very moment when we need all the help we can get, we find ourselves cut off from both our inner resources and the support of a community.

My prayer for myself and for the world is that we will learn how to really listen!

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1 Comment

  1. Great stuff, man. I’m reminded of the other Quaker monastic breathing practice where they have you “breathe in the breath of God and breath out your _____” and then after several rounds, they lead into a time of corporate confession where fifty people sitting around a room confess whatever is inside of them and the others simply respond, “Thank you for your gift.”

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