What was the view from the Bench, you ask? Well, a few years ago it was short grass and then a lake. But the grass has grown taller and bulrushes have grown up too and so the view of the lake has become a little obscured! On the plus side, this makes for a sheltered spot, in which to sit and be still and enjoy the surrounding creation. Here’s a photo!
In his book, The Art of Discernment, Stephan Kiechle writes:
People who are constantly talking & keeping busy never pause to listen. As soon as we turn off the noise, the hustle & bustle of our everyday lives, as soon as we enter a silent state, we can become a people who pay attention & who listen.
The writer of the letter of James, in the Bible, gave this advice to the early believers:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1: 19 (NIV)
Within the hustle and bustle of everyday life we find ourselves hearing a range of noises, as we go about our daily business. But do we ever take time to listen to them? Or are we busy filtering them out, as our minds continue to to race with their own preoccupations and thoughts?
Bearing in mind the above points, I would like to encourage you to do the following listening awareness exercise, this week.
Try and set aside five to ten minutes everyday over the coming week to stop and listen attentively to the noises that are going on around you. Listen carefully to the sound of traffic, the sounds of nature (wind, rain), the sounds of animals, birds, people talking……….Then as you listen, begin to tune in to God’s voice……………………… This voice will come through many of the sounds you have already been noticing. Don’t say anything or ask anything. Or if you do ask for something, may it be, ‘God help me to tune in to your voice.’ Vinita Hampton Wright, Days of Deepening Friendship blog (quoted in The Ignatian Book of Days by Jim Manney p.273)
Let me know how you get on!