My wife and I begin each day with our Quiet Time, in which we pray and meditate – at least for a few minutes.  We begin this time with several sacred and inspirational readings.

One source of daily inspiration is Mark Nepo’s marvelous daily missives and meditations contained in The Book of Awakening.  Last week (October 26th, to be exact), his reflections were on listening.  The following is a major portion:

“We all suffer, at times, from the effort to study something instead of living it.  Or from the effort to fix or advise rather than to listen and to hold.  But as the theologian Paul Tillich puts it, ‘The first duty of love is to listen…’

So often, when we refuse to listen, we become obsessed with remaking the world in our own image, rather than opening the spirit within us to the spirit of what is.

At the deepest level, ours is not to make ourselves heard but to be still enough to hear.   As the Native American Elder Sa’k’ej Henderson says, ‘To truly listen is to risk being changed forever’.”

Mark’s is a reminder to the Rescuer in me that the greatest support to another that I can offer is to listen.  And, to the Challenger and Creator in me – in living, working and being with others – I am called to be open to being influenced.