Daily Riches: The Duty and Dance of Listening (M. Scott Peck, Paul Tillich, Henry David Thoreau, Robert C. Murphy)

“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich

“An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker’s world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again. … true listening no matter how brief, requires tremendous effort. First of all it requires total concentration. You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.  …If you are not willing to put aside everything, including your own worries and preoccupation’s for such a time, then you are not willing to truly listen.”  M. Scott Peck

“To be listened to is, generally speaking, a nearly unique experience for most people. It is enormously stimulating. It is small wonder that people who have been demanding all their lives to be heard so often fall speechless when confronted with one who gravely agrees to lend an ear.” Robert C. Murphy

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” Henry David Thoreau

“To answer before listening —
 that is folly and shame.”
 Proverbs 18:13

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you striving to be that person who truly listens?
  • Do you normally “answer before listening” or “listen before answering?” What does your answer say about you?
  • To find one who listens is “nearly a unique experience for most people.” Can you love and bless others with your listening?

Abba, my impatience, agenda and self-importance all cause me to fail at my duty to love by listening. Please help me to be that person others await and so desperately need.

For More: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

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