I was listening to NPR interview one of the nuns in the middle of the Catholic Church scandal, and the interviewer asked her what she thought it meant "to obey" since that was one of their covenants. The nun said that "obey" was rooted in the Latin word for "listen." She then talked about the importance of listening to God and the needs of those around you as a part of that obedience. It made a light go on in my head. Even w/in the church we sometimes get confused with the worldly idea of obedience meaning we don't even think about what's being asked-we just do it out of fear or intellectual/emotional laziness. To me that's not really listening, that's the following blindly thing. To listen is to really take in what's being said and try to hear and understand-and that it's a process of understanding/listening that comes in the doing of what we hear being asked. That to me is an essential part of a cooperative community.I thought that was a beautiful thought when I read it yesterday.
And then today was one of those days where one thing reminds me how many people are giving up on the gospel and another thing reminds me of how easy it is for someone to make a serious mess of their own life and the lives around them once they decide to "free their minds" and throw humility and responsibility out the window.
So today I went back and re-read Lobbie's comment because I needed it. I needed to know that the quiet, insistent vision of a different way of relating is still alive.
And as I read, a verse from Sikh scripture came to my mind:
By listening: dive deep into an ocean of virtue.We need people who live the gospel so that they can teach generations yet to come how to build lives around quiet moments of listening to the divine. People who understand that even in the moment before God appears, the harmony of a simple grove of trees is already sacred. People who treat the food they eat and the hands that prepared it as living messages to be grateful and giving.
By listening: become a true scholar, become a real saint.
By listening: even the blind find the path.
By listening: even things beyond touch can be grasped.
O Nanak, the faithful are forever in bliss!
By listening, pain and sin are erased.
Let go of pride.
Let go of resentment.
Let go of the clamor around them.