The qualities of attentiveness

By Dave Henning / July 10, 2013

Leighton Ford offers a detailed analysis of the qualities of attentiveness in Chapter 1 of The Attentive Life.  Five of these qualities really resonate with me.  The first three qualities are shared in today’s post.  The author’s descriptions are in bold type.

1.  Looking freshly at what is familiar.  The author cites Harvard naturalist Louis Agassiz’s description of his travels one summer- he’d only gotten halfway across his backyard!  Stated differently, poet Gerard Manley Hopkins writes: “there lives the dearest freshness deep down things.”

 2.  Being available.  When we’re attentive, there’s a willingness to hear God’s voice and a readiness to obey.  Henri Nouwen once pointed out that our word audio comes from the Latin audine, meaning “to obey” or “to heed”.

3.  Waiting with expectancy.  Mr. Ford notes that our word attention is closely related to the French word attendre, meaning “to wait”.  Indeed, a significant aspect of monastic life has been described as “attentive waiting”.

Today’s question:  Are any of these qualities descriptive of your current outlook?  If not, what could you do to change your perspective?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The qualities of attentiveness- Part 2”

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Dave Henning

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