January Monthly Contemplation

Monthly contemplation from The Sound of the Genuine- Howard Thurman

“There is in every person something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in herself. . . . There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. Nobody like you has ever been born and no one like you will ever be born again—you are the only one. And if you miss the sound of the genuine in you, you will be a cripple all the rest of your life. Because you will never be able to get a scent on who you are.

Do you remember in the Book [Christian Bible] Jesus and his disciples were going through the hills and there appeared in the turn of the road a man who was possessed of devils as they thought. In the full moon when the great tidal waves of energy swept through his organism and he became as ten men . . . screaming through the hills like an animal in pain and then he met Jesus on the road. And Jesus asked him one question: “Who are you; what’s your name?” and for a moment his tilted mind righted itself and he said, “That’s it, I don’t know, there are legions of me. And they riot in my streets. If I only knew, then I would be whole.”  So the burden of what I have to say to you is, “What is your name— who are you—and can you find a way to hear the sound of the genuine in yourself?” There are so many noises going on inside of you, so many echoes of all sorts, so many internalizing of the rumble and the traffic, the confusions, the disorders by which your environment is peopled that I wonder if you can get still enough—not quiet enough—still enough to hear rumbling up from your unique and essential idiom the sound of the genuine in you. I don’t know if you can. But this is your assignment.”

As we continue on our journey in Becoming, consider:  

  • In the context of social change efforts—as you’ve tried to offer healing and make justice–when have you heard/experienced the “sound of the genuine”? When have you lost the sound? What is has been your experience of the difference in the two?
  • How might you practice the assignment of “getting still enough to hear the rumbling up from your unique idiom, the sound of the genuine in you?”