The first duty of love is to listen.
Sometimes it seems so difficult to hear one another, to listen to each other. So many thoughts to think, so much future to plan, so many fish to fry. Oftentimes we end up multi-tasking as a friend pours out her heart, giving our best version of an interested listener, but really just waiting for our cue to nod, say ‘uh-huh,’ or move the conversation along to something less messy. Then there are those times we just want to solve the problem or convince her she doesn’t have a problem, when indeed, all our friend really is asking for or needs or wants is a sympathetic ear.
Someone willing to pay attention to her and what she has to say with a loving intention.
Sometimes to do that requires effort.
But what better use of our effort could there be?
Love is a field to be entered. It is an experience of the deepest, most profound energies of existence. To love is to be healed. To love is to become more like the angels, more like God. To love is to be aligned with the flow of life.
When a friend, or anyone for that matter, asks us to listen, tacitly or explicitly, he is offering us a gift. He is offering us the opportunity to flow as the universe would have us flow. He is asking us to represent for him, for that moment, life itself.
Why on earth would we refuse such a gift?
Today I will be present to my world and the people around me, and whenever I have the opportunity to spend time with another person, for a minute or an hour, whether they are selling me a coffee or meeting me for lunch, I will set aside my concerns and worries, turn off my cell phone/iPad/PDA/computer and engage in the loving act of listening. And when my thoughts pull me back inside, I will choose, again and again, to be present. And to listen.