Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Almost everything I do, whether in court, at church, at home goes so much better if I listen to others. When I have the attention to really listen to another person, it means I am at peace and focused. Paying attention to what is going on around you, even right in front of you is a way of listening. And, there is also an inner listening: listening to the movements of your own heart and mind. Buddhists speak of "mindfulness." I like that word.

But, so many days are spent in anxious movements, both physical and mental. And, so many conversations are nothing but alternating making noises come out of our respective mouths. When speech arises out of real listening, then it is part of an engaged conversation. That's when good things come to us, through us, and among us.

When we don't pay attention to what is really going on around us, in front of us . . . when we aren't listening to others . . . when we are unable to listen to the movements within ourselves; that is being in a state of "mindlessness." Mindlessness leads to meaninglessness which lands us in despair. Listening, really listening, is like sending roots down into the source of life. In listening we are renewed. Maybe we have to be renewed in our souls to be able to listen, but maybe in the simple act of listening, the renewal begins.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

These three things I want to be rid of

It's Sunday evening. I'm typing slowly because I smashed my finger in the church door today. That is a big, old door, and my right middle finger is feeling it as it turns a darker shade of blue every hour or so.

Three things I ask to be delivered from: a spirit of anxiety; a spirit of self-importance; a spirit of criticism. These three problems came to me clearly a couple of years ago. Clearly, the anxiety is primal, at the deepest level. If I trust at that deep level in God, then the other evil spirits don't arise. But, my trust is lacking and so a spirit of self-importance arises and then with it criticism of others to justify my spirit of self-importance.

These three things I have learned in my almost 49 years of living. Three things I pray of you, O God:

Rid me of a spirit of anxiety
Banish that spirit of self-importance within me
Do away with that spirit of criticism (of others) within me