Luke 8: Pay Attention to How You Listen

Parable of the Sower

An icon depicting the Sower. In Sts. Konstantine and Helen Orthodox Church, Cluj
Courtesy Sulfababy of en.wik

In Chapter 8: 18 Luke quotes Jesus as saying, “Pay attention to how you listen…” The Zen masters used to say that enlightenment could be seen in a person by how he walked, talked and thought. Anyone can cook a meal, but not everyone cooks it in a loving manner. Anyone with the money can build a huge building but how it is built—the quality of the labor and materials put into it, the kind of funding used to build it—tell the real tale. In the how of things lies the soul and the truth, the indicators of integrity, the operating values and the state of consciousness of a person’s mind.

The accompanying stories in Chapter 8 of Luke illustrate the point that faithfulness shows itself in the how of things: how we listen, how we trust, and how we live out that faith in behavior and actions. For example, Jesus was well aware that people responded differently to his message, depending on how they heard it. His explanation of the Parable of the Sower describes in allegory the various outcomes depending on how his message sunk into the mind, was received and allowed to bear fruit. The story of the Woman Healed of a Hemorrhage shows how faith such as her heals while the story of the Calming of the Storm shows how failing faith can sink us, unless saved by Jesus. Jesus placed so much emphasis on how to do things that he even defined his brothers and sisters along these lines: they were the people who did the will of the Father in the manner He did. He becomes the ideal both in which to trust and to imitate. For Christians, He is the how of it. Paying attention to how we do things tells us a lot about ourselves, and one good way to do this is to meditate.

Meditation Asks Us to Pay Attention

Most of us are so caught up in the action to achieve some purpose that we lose track of how we are doing it. This is why learning to meditate by sitting quietly without thinking thoughts often strikes the beginner as a meaningless exercise until he or she wakes up to the fact that it is not so much about listening, seeing and doing as much as it is about how to listen, see and do with loving care, attention, and perseverance as in the model set by Jesus. It means learning to tune out noise and listen for the inner voice of intuitive guidance.

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