Came across this quote in the introduction to a book I have been reading to my great blessing these last few days: “Hebridean Altars, The Spirit of an Island Race, ” by Alistair Maclean: I had already read a fair bit of the book but then my eye caught this in the ‘Acknowledgments’ at the start of the book, which I confess I had not read:
“Whoever brings a gentle mind to what is written here, may He bless, who loves us all, and as they read, may each catch a vision of The One Face.”
I find that profoundly beautiful. It is worth thinking about not only in regard to the way we read, but in the way we listen to people, react, think etc. It is perhaps a good thing that we are taught in secular education and also in the best churches to weigh things up, to have a critical mind in the best and most positive sense of that word. However, speaking for myself I find that sometimes my critical faculty is so switched on that it actually stops me hearing fully and understanding accurately what a person is saying, or what I am reading. I have failed to give to the writer or the speaker the full courtesy of believing they are saying what they are saying for good and genuine reason, and so proper listening is dulled by the exercise of the critical mind. Surprise surprise! When I am like that, I don’t benefit as much as I might if I approached listening, reading, thinking from the place of having a gentle spirit married to a mind that weighs things up.
I tried to go through this day with a gentle mind. It pays dividends. It leads to greater satisfaction, less inner turmoil, less tension with a book or a person, or a situation, more hearing, greater understanding, fresh insight, more love, less antagonism.
Why not try the experiment with me? Listen with gentleness. It makes life and thought and speech more pleasant.