Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Go around the circle and have everyone either describe or make a favorite sound. What do you associate with it?
  • Share an example of a time when you listened to your body. This could be feedback about an illness, an intuitive hit, or another type of sensation. Did you heed the message?
  • Read a story aloud. Notice how your experience of the tale is affected by hearing it.

Imagery Exercise

Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello has an exercise where you invite God to pay attention to the sounds of the natural world through you. It uses an "Altered Point of Ear."

Close your eyes. Begin by listening to the rhythm and the sound of your own breath. Then allow the sounds in the room around you to fall gently on your ears. Do not think about them, simply hear them as sounds. . . . Now see yourself as a cat wandering through your house and hearing with the cat's ears . . . See yourself becoming a bird flying through the air and hearing with the bird's ears. . . . See yourself as a tree standing in your backyard and hearing with the tree's ears. . . . Feel yourself becoming part of the earth and hearing what the earth is hearing . . . Now hear what God is hearing from the world right now. Rest in the sensation that God is listening through your ears. . . . When you are ready, open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

  • In Who Cares? Simple Ways You Can Reach Out, Marcy Heidish, who has served as a hospital chaplain, describes a useful tool from her training — the "listener's log." She wrote verbatim records of her visits with patients in order to learn how much she actually heard and how helpful her responses were. Log some of your conversations in your journal. Then ask yourself these questions, suggested by Heidish: Did you create a receptive atmosphere? Did you take over or grow distant? When were the moments of breakthrough, connection, and insight?
  • Make lists to assess how you listen: Who I Always Listen To. Who I Rarely Listen To. Who Listens To Me. Who I Want to Listen To Me.