How do we get to the still point of the turning world?
For some, it comes in choosing to step off the spinning merry-go-round of life in favor of simplifying careers or raising children. For others, it comes in recognizing the cycles of life and death or the extremes of the highest-highs and the lowest-lows. Action sometimes springs forth only after a period of rest and readiness. In each case, one finds the still point in the listening.
A friend said to me yesterday: I’m praying but I’m not sure that I’m listening well… I don’t trust what I hear and I wonder if it’s really God’s voice or if it’s me hearing what I want to hear. I am like that too.
Later in the day, our Benedictine oblate group met to begin a yearlong study on the Rule of Benedict. We got through the first verse: Listen with the ear of the heart. On the surface it wouldn’t appear like we accomplished much but I walked away with more to think about, especially after writing the Still Point blog earlier that morning.
We know there’s more to listening than simply taking in information… interpretation, understanding, responding, communicating back to the speaker. But I think what St. Benedict was trying to convey is that listening with the ear of the heart can take us to the still point if we let ourselves be led. The pondering heart pivots the listening ear toward movement… and then there is only the dance.
Perhaps then the decision to act comes from listening with the ear of the heart. Maybe it is the place where my deep gladness meets the world’s deep need…