“Whoa . . . what? . . . wait a minute . . . what did that say?”

Tucked away in the parable of the sower, its explanation and an admonition about not hiding our light under a basket was, “Pay attention, then, to how you hear! For anyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he seems to have will be taken way.” (Luke 8:18)

“Pay attention, then, to how you hear!”

Despite having read it many times in my pursuit of the Rabbi, I was taken aback. Scholarly biblical commentaries left me dissatisfied as I searched for richer meaning. Yes, I get it, “listen up,” “pay attention,” “Yo, this is important.” I had said those things many times to my students over the course of my career as a middle school teacher when trying to stress something that was especially significant.

Yet there seemed a calling to something more profound centered around the use of the word “how.”

As has become my habit the last couple of years, I floated my inquiry past my thoughtful cousin for his enlightened insight.

. . . basically, all of it seems to be calling us to hear with our heart… Yet the word heart falls short, because it is a word made up by the mind, ego-mind, body-mind, to speak to other ego- minds in the beliefs of separation…

So with parables Jesus points beyond and inward, a direction the ego-mind cannot grasp but the heart, prior to all words, knows … Jesus is always speaking past mind-body identities, to what truly hears, to what we truly are, the same as that which is speaking through him…

Only God sees God, only God hears God, only God calls to God… So God through Jesus is calling to what we truly are, and enjoining us to hear (and see) ourselves in each other …

While his words ruminated in my heart, this verse from 1 Corinthians 6:10 came to mind, “Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who lives inside you, whom you received from God?” and then a vibrant, vivid picture story from the Old Testament came alive.

When the Israelites moved through the desert after the Exodus and when they encamped, God prescribed an arrangement of the 12 tribes in such a manner that the Tabernacle, also known as the Tent of Meeting, and all its Holy articles were at the very center–three tribes to the north, three to the south, three to the east and three to the west.

At the heart of the Tabernacle was the Most Holy Place where ADONAI’s Glory appeared. This most sacred place contained the Ark of the Covenant which housed the two tablets of the ten commandments—God’s Word.

God’s holy people living, moving and listening as One.

My cousin was right, the word heart does fall short because it isn’t our heart . . .

. . . it is His Heart through which we listen.