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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Retreat Notes-We have this piece on "spiritual listening" from a guy name John Paul Jackson as part of our devotional this morning.
When we listen to another in a non-spiritual manner, we are continually thinking about how we feel concerning what they are saying. We look for a place to insert our story into the conversation. Thus, we are actually listening for our own benefit. But, spiritual listening requires that we focus and listen for the benefit of the person telling their story.
This come close to Dale Carnegie's approach of being actively interested in what the other person has to say. If we are listening to someone with a view of being to pray for them, we need to be focused on their problems rather than getting in our two cents worth.
It requires listening and paying attention to the breath of the Holy Spirit. It requires that we ask questions more than we make statements. Spiritual listening cannot be accomplished without love and vulnerability or a willingness to admit that you, as well, may have something to learn from this encounter.
This reminds me a bit of Rogerian therapy, where the councilor primarily asks questions, getting the patient to come up with his own diagnosis and solutions. However, if done with the Holy Spirit's help, such a stream of questions might be able to point the listener to spiritual as well as psychological problems to be surmounted.
Spiritual listening requires lowering your inner defensive walls and giving up the need to tell the other person your story. By truly listening with all of your senses and the aid of the Holy Spirit, trust is built. The level at which trust takes place is the same level that healing takes place. It has true spiritual substance and that substance allows the other person to feel they have value. It is this sense of value that gives them courage to step out and become all God desires them to become. This is how Jesus listens to us.
If you're trying to help someone, you need to put the other person first and devote yourself to helping. "Letting go and letting God" is what is needed, but we're also going to need to let go of our egos and your pride and be able to be real.

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