Urban Confessional Provides Free Listening on the Street

This week Grotto catches up with Benjamin Mathes, who runs a movement called Urban Confessional. People who are part of the movement (in 80 countries around the world) stand on street corners with signs that say “Free listening.”

“It’s a humbling experience to sit there with somebody,” he shares. “Being heard is so close to being loved.”

Video Transcript

Benjamin Mathes, founder of Urban Confessional and acting coach, Los Angeles, CA.

I’m Benjamin Mathes. I run a movement called Urban Confessional, where we stand on street corners in about 80 different countries around the world and we hold signs that say, “Free Listening” — and we just let people say whatever it is they need to say.

In 2011, I found myself in a really low place. I was looking to heal myself and ground myself through serving other people. One day, a homeless guy asked me for some money, and I didn’t have any, but I said that I could pray with him. And so in the middle of the street, we sat there — and we’re together, and I thought, This was really healing. I thought, What would be the closest thing to free prayer that I could do? And I thought, maybe free listening.

I’ve learned a lot more, I’ve connected more deeply with people. Some people will sit down with you for hours and share what’s really deep inside with them, and it’s a humbling experience to sit there with somebody while they do that. Being heard is so close to being loved, and most people cannot tell the difference, and I think that that’s what we’re doing.

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