Listening as a Practice of Presence

At the heart of everything I do is a desire for Presence. Presence to me means being utterly connected with what IS, with the larger reality, with Spirit, with God, the Divine, the Sacred. It means being completely present to each moment of life as it unfolds, letting go of my past perceptions, fears, and judgments, and being open to the vast and astonishing depth of the gift and lesson of this moment. With each moment, the gift and the lesson are new.

Listening fully to God brings me completely into the present moment, and God’s desire for me today. God’s call for me seems to change and grow each day. Discerning that call seems to require a fresh, open heart each moment of each day. I listen to all of creation, trying to hear what the Divine is calling me to.

Likewise, listening fully to another human brings me into the present moment. It is not possible to really listen to another without showing up in the present. It means letting go of my own agenda for the conversation. It means letting go of my version of the story, and opening my heart and mind to the complexity and beauty right in front of me, another human heart.

My hope for small groups at St. Mary’s is that we each get better at listening to God and listening to other community members by practicing being fully in the present. Getting good at anything takes practice, and more practice.

In our monthly leader’s group, and in all small groups I lead, we practice taking turns listening, as a practice of presence. We listen to God by listening carefully to other members of the Body of Christ. Please join me for our next monthly leadership training and support group, which will meet Sunday, January 20, 4-6 PM in the Guild Room. All are welcome.

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