Listening With the Heart

I found this phrase in the Book of Mormon the other day:

“Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise….” (Mosiah 12:27)

It caught my eye, and got me to thinking. When I’m trying to understand something, I usually think of my brain being involved. If I’m really into it, maybe my brain and my mouth, as I reiterate it. If I’m really having trouble, maybe my brain, my mouth, and a couple of salt shakers that I’m using as visual aids to try to wrap my head around the concept. But how often do I really apply my heart to something?

The heart is the emotional side of us, the core of our bodies. It’s the center of circulation; it’s where everything starts and ends. Spiritually speaking, I suppose the heart is really where we find our real selves, our real characters. How often do I really tap into my core to understand what’s going on around me? How often do I use my heart to understand the problems I’m dealing with?

How much better would I know my friends and family if I listened to them with my heart, instead of just my ears? If I really “applied my heart to understanding” them, how much more would I be able to connect with them?

Have you ever had a friend like that? One you could go to with the completely jumbled garbage in your head, and somehow they would just listen, nod, and somehow know exactly what you were going through? Did that really come through the crazy rubbish you just told them? Did they speak your language so well that they understood you even through your own confusion? Or did they take the time to consider your heart as well, to sift through your spirit and come out the other side, not with what you said, but with what you meant to say?

Maybe this is why prayer is so powerful. It’s a chance for us to really reach out – and, in turn, listen – with our hearts, rather than just our words. As a missionary, I often taught people who said they “didn’t know how” to pray, but if we asked if they had ever tried, nearly everybody had. We all want somebody to understand us beyond the surface level, and prayer is the opportunity to reach out to Someone who really does.

It makes me consider the way I pray. It mostly makes me consider the way I treat others – not just behaviorally, but emotionally. Do I give people the credit they deserve? Do I take the time to understand not only what they’re saying, but who they are? Or do I just answer their question and move on unaffected? My new week’s resolution now is to start listening to people at a spiritual level, using my heart as well as my ears to interpret what they’re telling me. I’m not really sure what difference it will make – but I would like to have a friend like that. I ought to be a friend like that. ♥

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