The Sacred Art of Listening
 
©2003 Kay Lindahl

The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice has been chosen for a Spirituality & Health Award as one of "The Best Spiritual Books of 2002" by Spirituality & Health magazine, www.spiritualityhealth.com


Review taken from Library Journal
May 1, 2002

Lindahl, Kay (text) & Amy Schnapper (illus.).
The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice.
SkyLight Paths. 2002. C.160p. ISBN 1-893361-44-6. REL.

Lindahl is the founder of the nondenominational and omnifaith Listening Center, an institute dedicated to the skill of listening to others, and this book is a reflection of her work there. Her gentle conclusions and recommendations, including such notions as "suspend status" and "honor silence," are desirable in many circumstances, and Lindahl skillfully gives them a religious overtone; her work is ably supported by Schnapper's mandala-like illustrations. For most collections.


Review taken from Episcopal Life
May 2002

The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice.
by Kay Lindahl, illustrations by Amy Schnapper
Skylight Paths, 160 pp., $16.95 paper

THIS GRACIOUS BOOK, beautifully illustrated, embraces the reader's soul and provides specific exercises in mindfulness that beckon us to quiet down and practice silence, contemplation and presence with ourselves, others and God.

Listening exercises continue to call for our full attention in these anxious days of misunderstanding, fractured relationships and escalating violence.

Lindahl, founder of The Listening Center in Laguna Niguel, Calif., is an Episcopalian who speaks out of years of spiritual practice. She has rich experience in leading ecumenical and interfaith dialogues both in her state and around the world.

She is passionate about helping people communicate their authentic hearts to each other. For her, learning how to listen is a primary skill for creating relationships that can lead to dialogue, mutual respect, awareness and peace.

In "The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice," Lindahl makes it clear that hearing and listening are two distinct things, and learning to listen—really listen—requires a fully developed personal spiritual center. Listening for her is a way of being in the world.

The book is arranged in marked sections with "circle illustrations" designed to help readers discover the deeper wisdom that lies within their heart. The 40 reflections can be appreciated when the "eyes of the soul" approach the reflections from a contemplative place within the reader.

The context of readiness and the content of the meditations are intimately related. At the end are nine guidelines for listening to others. If these guidelines were followed, we would live in a transformed world.

REVIEWED BY Bishop Robert M. Anderson, former bishop of Minnesota and now bishop assistant in the Diocese of Los Angeles.


Review taken from NAPRA
March/April 2002

Listen Hear!

In an age where human intercourse is increasingly “mediated” – by a global web of phone cable, the pocketable elsewhere of cell phones, the whispering (shouting) of satellites – It’s no great surprise to hear both predictions and diagnoses of an increase in our alienation from one another. Recently, several authors have ventured a prescription: conversation – simple face-to-face talking and listening. According to Kay Lindahl and Margaret Wheatley, among others, learning to reconnect with each other in conversation can be both a spiritual path and a means toward social change.

THE SACRED ART OF LISTENING: Forty Reflections
for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice
by Kay Lindahl,
$16.95, 1-893361-44-6, SkyLight Paths.

Listening to understand. Listening as Caring. Listening for connection. Listening to appreciate. Listening for new possibilities. Listening for guidance. Each short chapter in this unique book—there are 40 of them— begins with “Listening”, until, hopefully, the idea of listening to others as sacred practice sinks in. The brief essays elaborating each nuance of the listening process will create in readers the eagerness to listen to our fellow wayfarers. “When we hear each person’s unique voice, we can better see their place as diverse individuals contributing to the whole.” “One does not need to “agree with or believe what another person is saying in order to come to a new understanding of their experience.” “Have you ever noticed how often you have been interrupted in mid-sentence by someone who assumes they know what you are going to say. Or vice versa? Slow down, quiet your assumptions.” Gems of wisdom abound on every page. And though each essay is immediately accessible, browsers will want to carry this book home for deeper study.


Review taken from Publishers Weekly
February 11, 2002

THE SACRED ART OF LISTENING: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice
KAY LINDAHL, ILLUS. BY AMY SCHNAPPER.
SkyLight Paths, $16.95 paper (160p) ISBN 1-893361-44-6

(Spirituality/Meditation) Surely one test of belief is its application in everyday life. Restoring the sacred to the daily art of communication is an oft-overlooked avenue of practice, but one that finds its voice in this slender, substantive volume. Lindahl, founder of the Listening Center in Laguna Niguel, Calif., summons us back to "the possibility of Listening as a key to peace in the world." For her, "listening is far more than hearing words"; it is a sacred art that requires reflection, illustration, meditation and practice. These 40 meditations are exercises in mindfulness that entreat us to slow down and practice silence, contemplation and presence with ourselves, others and God. The brief passages can be read superficially with little gain, but quieted learners can find gems among them about commitment, humility and favoring integration over balance, to name a few of the themes. Hand-drawn ink mandalas by Amy Schnapper complement each passage and should prove helpful to practitioners who might need a visual anchor while contemplating Lindahl's various themes. The meditation that is prescribed here feels Eastern, but the volume will be of great use to many types of readers, regardless of beliefs. The closing section, "Principles of Dialogue" (nine guidelines on listening to other people), crystallizes the tenets lovingly explored in the previous pages. The book is not large in size, but it is potentially powerful in application. (Mar.)

 

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