Exploring the crossroads of religion, culture, and science through a Pagan lens

Day 3: Listen

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This is Day 3 of a series of posts devoted to exploring 47 topics related to the mind, body, and spirituality.  The topics come from suggestions of the Unitarian Universalist Church.  They started as an inspiration for Lent, but as a Pagan I see them as a disciplined way explore my relationship with the world.


Have you ever been at a meeting at work and no one is listening?  The boss is up at the head of the table, speaking about something that’s probably important, but no one is really paying attention.  They are on their phones, doodling, or thinking about the project they’re ignoring to attend this meeting?

Later, they’ll complain both the meeting was a waste of time and that they are never kept in the loop about anything, completely ignoring the fact that all the information they needed, as well as the reasons for it, was delivered at the meeting while they were busy playing Candy Crush.

I know it can’t be just me.

Meetings like this really are a waste of time because, although they are meant to communicate important information, no communication happens.  There are two sides to communication: output and input; giving and receiving; speaking or writing and listening.  Both are useless without the other.

Listening is one half of the communication equation.  It’s just as important as speaking or writing, but it’s too often the ignored partner.

This is especially true in situations of conflict.  We want so badly to prove that we are right that our ears and, more importantly, our minds close to the words of the person we are arguing with.  Even if that person makes a valid point, it wouldn’t matter because we weren’t listening anyway.  And both sides are doing this, so the argument just escalates.  The way out of this to listen – really listen – to your enemy.

All sorts of things are trying to speak to us, but nothing gets communicated because we aren’t listening.  Not really.  We hear, we notice, but we don’t listen, just like we hear our boss at the meeting but have no idea what he/she is saying.  How many times have you eaten even though you were full?  Kept that job even though it was giving you an ulcer?  Driven even though you’d probably had one too many?

Our bodies speak to us.  Are you listening?

Our partners speak to us.  Are you listening?

The gods are speaking to us.  Are you listening?

Really listening?


Author: Tim

I am a teacher, a theater lover, and a High Priest in the Temple of Witchcraft. I love to point out the places where the everyday world, arts, science, and religion intersect. I stand for interfaith cooperation and the belief that people of all religions, political beliefs, and nationalities have more in common with each other than differences.

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