Listening Groups

Listen …

to the fragile feelings,

not to the clashing fury…

to the quiet sounds,

not to the loud clamour…

to the steady heartbeat,

not to the noisy confusion…

to the hidden voices,

not to the obvious chatter…

to the deep harmonies,

not to the surface discord…

Jim Cotter

The Aim of Listening Groups

The purpose of this listening process is to develop the ability to listen more deeply to the hidden depths of a person. To be attentive not just to their words, but to their spirit. This is something which may not be noticed or recognised. These groups can help becoming better at hearing the ‘still small voice’ of God in the person that is perhaps being expressed shyly and tentatively.

The Group Listening Process.

Sit in a circle that all can see each other.

  • Take a minute or two, to sit quietly, praying ‘may I be still to hear you Lord, may I be open to share myself and hear you Lord’
  • There is no order to the sharing. In the quiet, when you are ready to share, share what you are comfortable sharing of your experience of the prayer and where that has taken you. Keep your sharing at the level of your experience, and avoid analysing or abstracting.
  • The others in the group, listen without any verbal response. Aim to listen carefully, noticing not just the words, but the tone, the body language, the energy. Behold the Spirit in the person sharing. (You do not have to help them, fix or solve them, even understand them.) If you find this difficult, ask for God’s help, and seek to be simply attentive to the person sharing. 
  • When the person has finished sharing, let a silence fall, and hold this for about a minute to honour what has been shared.
  • The next person shares when they are ready.
  • When all have shared, after the silence has been held. In silence leave the room.
  • Do not fall into conversation about it all afterwards. There is another space where you can explore how it went and what you found going on in yourself in the process.
  •  While this is a simple process, it can take adjusting to. Initially it can feel strange, awkward and uncomfortable. Rather than act upon these feelings to change the process, acknowledge the feelings to yourself and stay with the process.
  •  Do not fall into conversation about it all afterwards. 
  • You can explore how it went and what you found going on in yourself in the process in the Reflection Groups.