I heard my mentor say it a long time ago. Fred Craddock shared one of his disciplines that helped shape the way he lived and communicated with others.
He said that every evening he sat on his back porch to tie up the loose ends of his day. And one of his disciplines was to try to remember the least significant thing that happened to him that day.
Think about that a minute. When we wander through the memories of our day, there are often noisy moments that cry out and say, “I am really important. Remember me.” But, if you keep asking yourself the question, “Is there something less significant that happened?” you will remember more deeply the fullness of your day.
As I meditate each day, that is one of the results of cleaning my mind by paying attention to a single word or listening to my own breath. The loud and demanding concerns, the anxieties that plague any human heart are often so loud and fill so much space that the “least of these” thoughts and feelings are drown out. But, when they are quieted, emotions that lie deeply below the surface of each day niggle their way onto the surface of my mind.
And sometimes those thoughts or emotions turn out to be more important in understanding myself than the loud voices. Sometimes, when I quiet the self-judging voices, the voices that demand I be more than I am, I hear the quiet and tender voice of self-love that reminds me that I am enough.
And when I listen to those within myself, I become more attuned to the quiet and shy parts of others who may need special attention. I come to realize that sometimes others are not just what they let me see, but are rich and complex, highly textured and multi-faceted, beautiful creatures who enrich my life and the lives of others.
So, try it sometime. Listen to the least significant part of your day, the quiet and shy voices that sometimes get drown out by the noise of a loud and demanding world. Your soul will be richer for it.