Listening Together: What Emerges from Silence?

Join us as we sit together in contemplative silence. Participants may be moved to share concerns and insights that emerge, or not. Silence is fine. This is not a discussion group. Participants are asked to refrain from commiserating, consoling, agreeing, criticizing, arguing, problem-solving or answering directly. If something someone says moves you to a deeper recognition that you wish to share, please let silence return first.

This kind of contemplation can be considered a practice of shema: listening carefully to our inner voice or to the thoughts of others. We will begin and end each meeting with a b’racha/blessing in English.

We will follow guidelines borrowed from Quaker practice:

1.    Begin and end in silence. Settle into it and see where it leads. Listen to what your life is telling you or asking you. If no one speaks in the whole session, that is OK.

2.    If you speak, use “I” statements. Speak from your own experience, your whole self. Remember and honor the difference between sharing and informing.

3.    Listen deeply without commenting. Accept what others share as true for them at this time. Assume goodwill. Avoid correcting, fixing, debating, rebutting, or even praising what others say. Listen, to the best of your ability, with an open, accepting heart.

4.    Remember that when someone speaks from the heart, it may sound as if  they are speaking from the head. No matter how it sounds to you, believe that it’s the speaker’s deep truth.

5.    Allow silence between sharings so that all can truly listen and each contribution can sink in. Avoid using the time while others are speaking to plan what you are going to say.

6.    Exercise healthy self-discipline. Speak only once until everyone has had a chance to share. Do not take more than your “fair share” of time.

7.    Honor confidentiality unless given express permission to share something outside the group.