Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What sort of friend, sister, daughter, partner do I want to be?

That's the big question, always. How can I be a compassionate, attentative friend, one who listens without immediately beginning to think of (or worse, speak aloud) my response? How can I be receptive, permitting my friend to be fully present to me?

Listening seems to me a kind of meditation, in which I must regularly and gently nudge myself to refocus my attention on the speaker. To fully take in without intellectualizing, rationalizing, analyzing. To listen and say, "Oh, that's wonderful!" "I'm so sorry that happened."

Yes, I can only listen from within my own subjectivity, my own set of concerns and needs and wants, but can I dim that self-clamor long enough to make the listening-meditation more about my friend? In other words, everything will always be about me in some way, but it need not be all about me.

And that thought actually brings relief.

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