A Guiding Hand episode

The world in which we live, and work can be a busy and noisy place. This distracts our attention, and we become unfocused, unclear, and dispersed. It’s important to remember that our quality of attention determines how we see, for whatever we attend to, we bring into focus, form, and clarity and can reflect upon. This image captures a moment where the Northern Lights are brought to an exacting point of focus, irrespective of their beginning, spread across the vastness of sky.

Despite the noise of the world, if you attend to someone, that is, if you give someone your attention, you will notice that you can begin to hear what they are saying. Rather than distraction, you begin to hear the words that the person is speaking and so begin to relate to them. The degree to which you gift others your attention is the same extent to which your presence is felt. And the more you focus your attention on another, the more hearing transforms into listening.

When you listen to someone, your attention goes beyond hearing the words they speak, to consider also what they may be experiencing. Listening invites reflection, allowing you to become aware not only what others are maybe thinking and feeling but also what you may be sensing. Listening releases your capacity to experience. And, experiencing permits you to become more aware of and attend to the whole person. This profoundly deepens your capacity to relate. And your ability to step into the shoes of another and to share in their experience fosters empathy.

As you attend to another, the distraction and noise of the world quietens until we reach a point of silence. Silence is the true gift of the attentive. It creates a space, a place of sanctuary where we can simply rest and reflect. In this inner space of shared reflection, we can check in with ourselves and remember who we really are. For when we are distracted, we revert to a partial self – a surface and superficial person, who presents a mask to the world of who they should and or ought to be. This is but a caricature of who you really are. In the distraction we forget, we become amnesic, and it is only in the quiet sanctuary of silence that we can ‘check in’ and attend to ourselves and once again remember who we really are. To come to know yourself and others more fully – to be more fully acquainted, once again. We are reborn into the world through silence. For here there is enough space for the whole of us to re-enter.

Consider who you are when you are distracted.
And consider who you become when you find your quiet place.
Notice how different these two versions are?

Silence invites us to recall who you most naturally are. The person behind the masks or masks.

Take time if you are willing to remember this person today.
How do you recognise them?
What do they most enjoy?
What is their essential role in your life?

And what you gift to yourself – you can offer others. In the quiet of silence, you can let your listening inspire questioning – and so through reflection, enable the other to come to know themselves more fully.

Silence is a well that is forever full – for when we enter it feeling empty, therein we discover and remember our fullness – our wholeness – that is, who we really are beyond the distraction of who we commonly think we are.

Imagine if you could carry a place of silence with you, somewhere within you, in a world in which we are tempted by distraction. Imagine how that would be – what it would give you and what you would gift to others?
Imagine also giving your attention to the ones in society who are commonly overlooked. The ones others may be tempted to judge and turn away from – the less able, the homeless, the ones in crisis. Consider what the gift of attention may bring here. And if and how you are willing to offer this gift?

May you ever discover your places of sanctuary and silence and be remembered, restored, and refreshed and gift and enable this prospect and possibility to others in your daily life and work, ideally without distinction.


Podcast Version


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