Sunday, May 14, 2006


I've always wanted to quote on this blog something interesting to meditate on. I found a lot of interesting ideas in the book I'm reading now: 'Spiritual journey for the contemporary man', by Henri Nouwen. I have the book in the Italian translation, so I'll quote here the passage in Italian and do a short summary in English afterwards.. but I invite all of my readers to read this book. It's very deep and inspiring. It's written by a Catholic priest who spent a long time in monasteries. His ideas are inspiring to everyone, I think. It's not really necessary to be Catholic or even to believe in God to read his books. He's really open to everyone.

"Invece, precisamente in questa volonta' di conoscere a fondo gli altri risiede la nostra capacita' di estenderci fino a loro e guarirli. Pertanto, guarire significa innanzitutto creare uno spazio vuoto ma amico dove chi soffre possa raccontre la sua storia a qualcuno che lo ascolta con attenzione reale. Purtroppo, spesso questo ascoltare e' interpretato come una tecnica. Diciamo:-Lascia che si sfoghi, gli fara' bene-. E parliamo della funzione 'catartica' dell'ascolto, dando l'impressione che il 'liberarsi' o il 'mettere tutto allo scoperto' abbia in se' un effetto depurativo. Ma l'ascolto e' un'arte da sviluppare, non una tecnica da applicare come una chiave inglese a dadi, a bulloni. L'ascolto richiede una presenza reale ed e' una delle forme piu' alte di ospitalita'"

A sort of summary could be:
"Our ability to reach out to other people and heal them lays in our will to know them deeply. Healing means first of all to create an empty but friendly space, where people who suffer can tell their story to someone who listens to them with real attention. Unfortunately, we often believe that listening is a technique.. we say: 'let him vent, it will be good for him', as if letting everything out had by itself a purifying effect. But listing is an art to develop, not a technique to apply like a wrench to screws. Listening requires a real presence and it's one of the highest forms of hospitality".

This passage is part of a discussion about hospitality, that I really love and I will probably quote more further. I would love to learn how to be _really_ hospitable - not only eating food together, but also sharing with kindness the most precious thoughts and feelings that everyone brings inside.

- the picture is Lake Johnson at sunset (the lake which is close to our apartment)-

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