Receptivity is defined as being able or inclined to receive; open and responsive to ideas, impressions, or suggestions.Webster’s American Dictionary. Synonyms include broad-minded, open, and open-minded. Words with a similar or related meaning include impartial, neutral, objective, unbiased, unprejudiced; easygoing, nonjudgmental, tolerant; calm, detached, dispassionate; amenable, compliant; impressionable, suggestible, susceptible; persuadable.Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If you are not receptive, you are likely to be narrow-minded, biased, narrow, one-sided, partial, partisan, prejudiced; bigoted, or intolerant. Receptivity relates to the skills of paying attention, listening, and reading. To be receptive is to have an open mind: When you look, you must see, and when you hear, you must listen. Receptivity closes when you give room to opinion and prejudice. Jesus often finished a teaching by saying, "He who hath an ear, let him hear," which is an admonition to be receptive.

Edna Lister on Receptivity

Faith’s aspects include receptivity, the listening attitude, and discernment, the ability to see with the eyes of soul perception.—Edna Lister, The Substance Hoped For, January 5, 1936.

Simplicity illustrates your ability to accept. You may be as simple as a little child in years or in receptivity. We value simplicity as the ability to make something easy to do, or to open the way.—Edna Lister, The Simplicity of Faith, April 4, 1937.

With a receptive mind, anything is possible. When you are not receptive, you have a closed mind and cannot instantly see or perceive.—Edna Lister, November 28, 1938.

See, hear, and understand. Be open and receptive to all law under sacrifice and surrender of self.—Edna Lister, October 20, 1939.

Communion with God requires a high point of contemplative tranquility above the brain cells, a dynamic stillness that is positive active receptivity. Hold self in submission, waiting in the silence to receive from God. Yet you cannot receive if your mind is a blank; you must be God conscious.—Edna Lister, July 14, 1944.

You must be receptive and in the ways of receiving so that God may fill you to overflowing with unveiled mysteries of truth.—Edna Lister, May 17, 1945.

When you are receptive to new truth, flexible to life itself, and balanced in prayer and action, the Holy Spirit descends.—Edna Lister, Pentecost, the Way of Ascension, May 7, 1950.

The first step in ascension is receptivity, which prepares you to fulfill the great law of "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."—Matthew 6:33. Receptivity, which is open-mindedness, deals with your spiritual gifts and relationship with God.

The second step in ascension is flexibility, to "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him."—Matthew 5:25. Agree with God that "This is good," and adjust to others without arguing.

The third step of ascension is balance in preparation, devotion and action. Balance is poise and equilibrium in your service. Holding your balance is easier when you always ask, "What is that to thee? Follow thou me."—John 21:22.—Edna Lister, Pentecost, the Way of Ascension, May 7, 1950.

Soul Ascension requires that you be receptive and hold an open mind. Jesus, the Son of God, November 21, 1954.

To be receptive, you must be still, and may not preconceive a picture of the result. Receptivity is an open mind, a listening attitude that stills all outer world vibrations so you do not miss the glory you seek. You must listen after you have asked God.—Edna Lister, The Glory, Your Ascension, November 11, 1956.

Knowledge, understanding, comprehension of another can come only through love’s receptivity in interpretation.—Edna Lister, March 11, 1958.

Comprehension always comes as a flash of soul knowing in devotion, in oneness with God when you immerse yourself in contemplative receptivity. Power uses you with every thought, conscious or unconscious.—Edna Lister, September 17, 1958.

Soul must make sacrifice of self to live in the golden silence, to scale the heights of God, to keep the high watch and maintain that mirror-like receptivity that registers God’s life.—Edna Lister, Being Without Self, November 2, 1958.

Be humble and receptive of heart before God.—Edna Lister, May 11, 1960.

All progress comes under application of definite laws to daily living. These five laws will take you to your high point of contemplative receptivity, which is necessary for all progress. To expand into infinity, into cosmic consciousness, you must: 1) Hear under the great law of attraction. 2) Receive under the great law of expansion. 3) Accept under the great law of suction (cohesion). 4) Apply law under the great law of contraction. 5) Ascend under the great law of repulsion. These great fundamental principles in action are primary laws of nature.—Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

When you ascend during a high sacrifice of self, law gives you a choice of the way you can go. The first choice is to hold to the high point of contemplative receptivity, which is full illumination, despite anything. The other choice is to want credit for this saintly sacrifice of self, which is nothing more than doing your clear and only possible duty, demanding credit for it — so sinking into the morass, a quicksand of self‑pity, frustration and that hopeless attitude of "What’s the use? It isn’t my fault. They can’t blame me because …"

When you make such a high sacrifice, you are invited to step onto the pathway of the creator gods, the elect. To forget self is the Via Christa, the Path of Destiny. To deny destiny with even a tinge of self, you fall back into the abyss where you travel the path of fate.—Edna Lister, January 29, 1961.

The two necessary qualities in mothering love are listening and giving. A loving mother listens under the faculty of receptivity. She sleeps with one eye open, and hears her child’s every sound.—Edna Lister, What Is Illumination? May 13, 1962.

Be receptive to others’ needs and you will find the right words are placed on your lips at the right time.—Edna Lister, What Is Illumination? May 13, 1962.

Be receptive to new truth everywhere. If you don’t add something to yesterday’s idea, it becomes today’s opinion and prejudice.—Edna Lister, What Is Illumination? May 13, 1962.

Metaphysically, the brain represents receptivity, listening power and assimilation; it is the listening base of the soul.—Edna Lister, Metaphysical Correspondences, May 29, 1962.

Be receptive to the power of the Word of God andlet it guide you in matters large and small.—Edna Lister, Your Field of Wheat and Tares, December 9, 1962.

Be alive, alert, receptive and full of grace and love in action.—Edna Lister, February 10, 1963.

Your words create powerful suggestions that color the emotional receptivity of your listener, who recreates what you said in an even stronger pattern.—Edna Lister, The Rebirth, June 9, 1963.

The depth of your receptivity and the degree of consecration of your will determines your spiritual capacity.—Edna Lister, Your Relation to God: Approach, Presence, Worship, December 1, 1964.

Hold yourself in a receptive mood to gain the resilience to bounce back instantly from each small blow.—Edna Lister, December 2, 1965.

You hear only as high as you can consciously see and know. You call it your highest point of contemplative comprehension. This has nothing to do with meditation or thinking; contemplation takes you up and out of intellect. When you immerse yourself in contemplative receptivity, comprehension comes as a flash of soul-knowing in devotion, in oneness with God always. Power uses you with every thought, conscious or unconscious. Everywhere is here. Your soul vision collapses time and space.—Edna Lister, January 5, 1967.

As you open the brain’s neurons to your mental and spiritual faculties, it creates a layer of receptive brain cells, a receiving set of memory cells to use daily.—Edna Lister, November 10, 1969.

You have ability to climb to your own receptive high point of Light, your place to see and hear the Voice, to worship God.—Edna Lister, The Miracle of the Centurion’s Servant Healed, November 8, 1970.

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Treatments for Greater Receptivity

For mental receptivity, say, "Every cell of my brain is alive and alert with the life of God, every gland and nerve center of my head is now awake and receptive to truth and I AM registering the vibration of the Christ mind. I AM strong, sound, normal, and perfect, here and now."—Edna Lister, January 20, 1933.

"I must attain a higher point of contemplative receptivity to gain full comprehension of how to apply the law to every detail of my life. I do not need lack of appreciation or inattention under the surface; I AM too big. I must reach a higher point of contemplative receptivity to apply all the laws to every smallest detail of my life, especially in my relationships with others. I must have a line up from each of my soul faculties, so that I may be conscious of what I AM doing every moment of every hour, and that I may, while finishing one detail or task, be aware of my next step.

Only by this awareness can I avoid losing my soul vision. This one thing I do now. I, Name, a Son/Daughter of God, am now determined to make every word I hear as important in my life as if I were doing it for a million-dollar prize."—Edna Lister, September 17, 1958.

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Stories That Illustrate Receptivity

Isaiah Receives His Calling of the Lord: In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I AM undone; because I AM a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.—Isaiah 6:1-10.

Samuel Receives God’s Call to His Service: [Samuel’s name derives from the Hebrew root meaning to hear or to listen.] And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; and ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou called me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me.

And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good. And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.—1 Samuel 3.

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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.—Psalm 23.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of receptive: Latin recipere: re- "again" or "back" + capere, "to take, to grasp."

Receptivity is a mental and spiritual faculty.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2023

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.