Listening as Spiritual Practice

“Nature hath given us one tongue but two ears, that we might hear from others twice as much as we speak.” –Epictetus

The world we live in has a superabundance of noise. The sounds of nature layered over the din of human industry and commerce, and all of that before we get to anything communicative, anything in which one human being tries to say something to

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find a way to a holy way of living is in the give and take of dialog. Consider this, the next time you find yourself at coffee hour or in a committee meeting. The practice of listening to another person is a saving act.

[I’m mindful of the fact that I’ve been using “listening” as a stand-in for “communicating”, something which can be done quite capably by people who cannot literally hear. I beg the forgiveness of the deaf folks in the audience, and am reminded once again of the limits of language, and how much necessary personal growth is always in front of me.]

Along this theme of listening as a doorway to deeper relationship and more profound meaning, I want to mention that in October, some volunteers and I attended a kick-off event for a major effort to build relationships and collective power among congregations on the North Shore. This project begins with intentional conversations, a practice of deep listening, in each community. I and other volunteers will be looking to talk with as many of you as possible to learn more about your lives and in particular to identify the issues most deeply effecting you, as we seek to help identify needs and opportunities to work for social change in our part of the world. By listening, may we open ourselves up to the wisdom that exists within, and between, every one of us.

In Faith,

Rev. Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson


First Parish Church

225 Cabot St

Beverly, MA 01915


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