creating space to listen, to see.

11 Mar

For today’s Lent reflection I dug out an old book that I treasure dearly. It’s called “Awareness” by Father Anthony deMello. Its a book encourages one to think about waking up- about being more aware of ourselves as spiritual beings. And what better time to revisit it than Lent. 🙂

As I read through deMello’s reflections, I was once again reminded of how polarized United States of America is.  But I was reminded of where the root is.  de Mello says:

The most difficult thing in this world is to listen, to see.  We don’t want to see. Do you think a capitalist wants to see what is good in the communist system? Do you think a communist wants to see what is good and healthy in the capitalist system? Do you think a rich man wants to look at poor people? We don’t want to look, because if we do, we may change. We don’t want to look. If you look, you lose control of the life that you are so precariously holding together.  And so in order to wake up, the one thing you need the most is not energy, or strength or youthfulness or even great intelligence. The one thing you need most of all is the readiness to learn something new.

And to that I would also add, to learn something different.  I realized that regardless of which end of the spectrum one falls, politically or theological, we are not very willing to listen.  We are all busy talking, expressing our opinions and our beliefs and values that we don’t listen. We don’t see.

Last night I watched the news for a little bit and caught a snippet of the U.S. Congressional hearings on Muslim Radicalization. I watch Representative Keith Ellison remind us of a heroic young Muslim man named Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who died in one of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, rescuing his fellow Americans.

That story, in the midst of a political war reminded me that when we listen and see, we know that our ideological world isn’t as separated as we all think it is.

Today’s lent reflection is reminding me that I need to shut up and listen more. Listen more to stories of people who march to a different drum beat. Not the conservative drum beat or the liberal drum beat.


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