Truths You Can Use

Truths You Can Use


How To Listen With Your Heart

 

A great children’s song starts with the words, “I have two eyes to see with, two hands to wave with, and two ears to hear with.”

I have one objection. In my experience, we may hear sounds with our ears. But we hear people with our hearts.

Martin Buber, the great Jewish philosopher of the twentieth century, illustrates this truth in a story he told about himself.

Listening For The Unspoken

Buber was a young university professor, in the midst of his studies, when a young student knocked on his office door. The student looked troubled. He asked Buber if he could speak with him for a few minutes.

Buber grudgingly agreed, with a clear signal of impatience. He nodded as the student talked, though it was clear his mind was on other things. When the student finished speaking, Buber shared some thoughts and reflections, and then got up and wished the student well.

That evening Buber realized something. He had not been fully present with the student. He listened with his ears but not his heart. Later he learned that the student had taken his own life.

Are you there?

We often fail to be fully present.  How often do we talk with our friends and family and listen only for what we want to hear? How many times are we seeming to listen to someone when we are really thinking about where we are going for dinner later? How many of us have talked on the phone and read e-mail at the same time?

To listen attentively is to be truly present, and it can be a struggle. It often depends more on one’s heart  rather than one’s ears.

A Burning Bush

The Jewish sages  teach this truth in a story about the burning bush. This was the bush covered in flames but not consumed by the fire. Many people, the sages said, walk by that bush. And the God’s voice spoke out continuously from it.

It was only Moses, however, who had the heart to stop and hear it. As one rabbi put, “the miracle was not that God called out to Moses from a burning bush. The miracle was that Moses heard Him.” So may we.



Previous Posts

In the Wake of the Kansas City Horror: The Life-Saving Power of Interfaith Conversation
This post was written with my friend and colleague, Reverend Lillian Daniel.  The late great Abraham Joshua Heschel was once asked why he devoted so much time to interfaith dialogue. He answering by recounting part of his family history. “When the Nazis came for my parents,” he wrote,

posted 1:56:25pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Sermon from the Mound: 7 Spiritual Truths from the Baseball Diamond
Sports are one of the great sources for spiritual insights. As a child, I remember paying extra attention when the rabbi used an illustration  from baseball or football. They helped me visualize and understand the spiritual lesson. Of all sports, baseball lends itself best to Jewish wisdom.

posted 3:53:17pm Apr. 06, 2014 | read full post »

The Perfect Diamond with a Scratch: A Story of Hope and Healing
This short story, first told in the 19th century, continues to bring comfort and healing. We can use it every day of our lives. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esDr_IdrhjQ

posted 9:57:01pm Feb. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Love Wins: 3 Spiritual Lessons from Disney's Frozen
I used to enjoy walking into a home of peace and quiet. Since the film Frozen premiered, I have lacked this simple pleasure. Its soundtrack seems to play on a continuous loop every day throughout our home. I guess that’s part of the price to pay for having two small children. As a glass h

posted 4:21:04pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Date Night With God
A healthy marriage is sustained by consistency. It is not the big moments—the wedding day, the birth of a child, the new home. It is the acts of love and commitment expressed daily, weekly and year after year. Sustaining them is not always easy. One consistent practice I suggest to young parent

posted 6:28:55pm Feb. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.