Author: Donna Pierce

Mindful Monday: Getting out of your own way

conflict, listen, mindfulness, spiritual practice, Spirituality
This post is the third of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. Like most of us humans, I tend to listen from an unconscious stance of reactivity. That is, I hear what someone is saying, and I react quickly to the surface meaning of the words, the tone in which they're spoken, and the facial expression that accompanies them. Not mindful! I'm smack up against my identification with the words and emotions with no mindful breathing space between them. I hear the words, but I'm not listening because I'm reacting. I take a breath to reply, but I'm not taking a breath to consider and then respond. This can be a problem in most conversations, especially the challenging ones. In The Wisdom of Listening, Margaret Truxaw Hopkins, a hospice chaplain in Santa Clara, CA, writes about simpl...
Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

Mindful Monday: Listening to Fear

body, Buddhism, Challenge, Grief, mind, mindfulness, Spirituality
This post is the second of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. ~~~ My mother had pulmonary fibrosis during the last four and a half years of her life. This disease slowly steals your breath, hardening your lungs until you die of heart failure or suffocation. Her illness angered and terrified me, as much as it broke my heart. I never overcame the fear, to my regret, and a lot of times, I didn't know what to say or how to be. Rodney Smith, a former hospice chaplain and the guiding teacher at Seattle Insight Meditation Society (SIMS), urges us to listen mindfully to our reactivity when we listen to someone else, including the sick or dying. He asks: "Can you connect with [another] person's humanity? Can you access his [or her] pain? Are you able to own that anger that you proj...

Mindful Monday: Teacup Listening

Buddhism, contemplation, Lectionary, listen, mind, mindfulness, Scripture, Spirituality, United Church of Christ
This post is the first of three on the topic of mindfulness and listening. ~~~ "Now the Lord came again and stood there, calling as before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel said, 'Speak, your servant is listening.'" (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV) For those who don’t know the context for this scripture, today’s daily lectionary selection, here’s a link to a brief explanation, written by Mary Luti for the United Church of Christ’s “Feed Your Soul Daily Devotional.” After an even briefer synopsis here, I’m going to consider one way that mindfulness and listening work together by relating a Buddhist story I just read. A twelve-year-old child, Samuel, heard someone calling him in the night. He believed that it was Eli, the priest under whom Samuel was training to be consecrated for service to God. Eli was g