Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Listening for Lent
You know how much I love Lent. I love how it resonates with the energy of spring, with its encouragement to shed bad habits, to make room for new growth, to channel the power of change.
This year I thought I was going to give up TV (which is what I gave up last year, though I returned to it fairly quickly afterwards). But then I signed up for Christine Valters Paintner's Lent class at Abbey of the Arts, and realized that instead of giving something up (as I was schooled to do during my Catholic childhood), I was going to acquire a new habit: a daily spiritual practice.
Christine's class focuses on the Benedictine practice of lectio divina,, that is, reading a sacred text each day and allowing it to resonate within (listening with "the ear of the heart," as Benedict wrote). While reading about this concept in Christine's book, Lectio Divina, I realized how seldom I really listen (which is probably why my experience of listening to the plants was so profound). I'm usually preparing an answer or adrift in a sea of my own thoughts. And I thought about how deeply the people around me, particularly my daughter, want to be heard. She's always talking, but probably because no one's listening. I think she would be shocked, and possibly a little terrified, if she realized I was really listening.
Listening doesn't mean responding, so I have to curb my desire to be useful and to give advice. If my desire is to fully hear, to seek to understand, to allow my heart to be touched, that's enough.
So I'm listening for Lent. What are you doing for Lent?