The Gift of Listening without Judgement

Group Work

Parker Palmer in his book "The Hidden Truth," shares a concept called the Circle of Trust. I would describe it as deep listening to one another in a circle setting. Deep listening includes seemingly unremarkable concepts and precepts that have in fact become remarkable and even counter-cultural and revolutionary.  Even without experiencing a Circle of Trust first hand, there are certain aspect of the process that you can incorporate into your everyday life that can greatly improve your interactions with others. 

One is that in a circle of trust we are not allowed to fix or save or advise or correct each other. The concept is we are all on our own path towards truth and we get there by being the space of listening to the voice speaking. We learn from the Holy Spirit inside of us not so much from others correcting us. Furthermore, we learn from our own reactions and responses to others. When something someone else is saying upsets us, we must always look inside and ask why. My tendency when I am reacting to what someone is saying is to jump in and fix what they are saying. The approach is saying look to your reaction first and make changes there first. 

Turn to wonder when you are feeling judgmental or defensive. Simply wonder how they came to believe what they believe or wonder how you came to feel the way you do. 

Finally speak your truth is a way that doesn't assume that it is the only truth. Speak in a way that respects other people's truths. 


Spiritual Direction

I am currently being trained as a spiritual companion or director.  Spiritual direction is all about deep listening. Spiritual companions are trained in deep listening. Deep listening in this context includes:

Listening without trying to figure out what I'm going to say next. 

Listening with silence scattered in - there is room to think and process.

Listening with patients and awareness that the process of coming to wisdom is long.

Listening without hurry, impatient and interruptions.  

Deep listening helps us get closer and deeper to what we mean to say.