“In order to have a spiritual life, you need not enter a seminary, or fast, or abstain, or take a vow of chastity. All you have to do is have faith and accept God. From then on, each of us becomes a part of His path. We become vehicles for His miracles.”
― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
When you think about people who are good communicators, what is it that makes them so? One that would be on top of the list would be that they are good listeners. They don’t rush you when you speak. In fact, they listen more then speak themselves. We tend to really appreciate people who are good listeners. We value them so why should we be anything less? Spiritual communication such as meditation or prayer can often be a two-way communication. I believe it is so important that we are listening more than speaking. There is a trust we need to have within ourselves and a faith that God will lead the way. It happens when we respond to that beckoning we feel and go to a quiet place inside of us. However, that can often seem like quite a challenge as there is a constant stream of lively chatter inside our heads. The worse thing to do is to fight it. By fighting it you are making war inside yourself which will only lead to tension and a feeling of defeat. The key is to be waiting patiently for any guidance you may receive. Psalm 46:10(NIV) says “Be still, and know that I am God.” We have to still our thoughts and be peaceable listeners. If this is too hard (as often it can be) than try and focus on simply being in the present moment. Do not think of the past or future; simply be. Eckhart Tolle says, “Through the present moment, you have access to the power of life itself, that which has traditionally been called God. As soon as you turn away from it, God ceases to be a reality in your life, and all you are left with is the mental concept of God, which some people believe in and others deny. Even belief in God is only a poor substitute for the living reality of God manifesting every moment of your life.”
Another thing that may help is to focus on one main thought such as God is Love or God loves me, repeating this over and over while focusing with understanding the words you are saying. I sometimes like to quote the bible verse, ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening’. (1Samuel 3:10) Some people like to use mantras (syllable, word or phrase in Sanskrit, Ghurmeki or sometimes English typically used in Kundalini yoga). Many people like to offer petitions to God. This is more than okay but it should not dominate your prayer life. Your main petition for yourself should be, ‘Tell me what you wish me to know.” Petition can be an honourable form of prayer when it is in regards to other people however for now, let’s focus on listening. It isn’t that God doesn’t want you to ask for stuff but if we are so busy yabbering, we can’t hear the answers that God may be giving us. Ever have a friend come to you for advice and they are so overwhelmed with their problem that they aren’t letting you get a word in edgewise. Makes you wonder, why they are even asking you for advice when they won’t even take time to listen. Wayne W. Dyer says, “Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit. When you’re able to transcend an aversion to silence, you’ll also transcend many other miseries. And it is in this silence that the remembrance of God will be activated.”
When we are actively listening, we hear intuitively. We hear God as well as our inner voice or spiritual voice which is in connection with God. However, we often hear the mind’s voice as well. It does take some time and practice to discern the difference and then to quiet the mind. An obvious way to tell would be to ask yourself is the one speaking, speaking in a spirit of love? Another way to tell would be if the voice you are hearing is materialistic and or self-centred. Sometimes, your own body gives you clues. If you are feeling peace than it is most-likely divine if you are feeling anxious or agitated then it may be your mind that is simply worrying.
There are hindrances to hearing God’s voice. If you come to your quiet time with a spirit of un-gratitude then you are hindering yourself from hearing divine guidance. It is a good idea to make gratitude a daily practice. Every morning gives thanks for the new day. Every evening think of five things that occurred that day that you can be grateful for. You will be surprised if you really try this! I often think I have had a bad day and that I won’t be able to think of one let alone five things to be grateful for, but then I do. It can be as small as someone told me a funny story that made me laugh or the delicious slice of chocolate cake I had. It can be as big as I found stillness easier today but if we don’t practice thinking about what we are grateful for, we miss life’s blessings and become more and more negative. Keeping a journal, where you make a point of only writing down the things that happened which you were grateful for can be so up-lifting when you go back months later and read what you wrote. Why hey, life’s not as crappy as I thought it was!
Likewise, if you harbour un-forgiveness that also sets up a blockage. I find it helps to remember that usually people are doing the best they can at that particular moment in their lives coming from wherever they are coming from. For instance, maybe someone was snappish with you one day but you are unaware that they are going through a painful break up or that they have a medical condition or have had a series of events in their lives that hasn’t quite taught them self-discipline. I find reminding myself that I don’t know where this person is coming from and what they are going through helps me to let go of whatever they have done to me. On an even more personal note….I find it easier to let go some time later after I may have done some seething and had time to think about it. (I’m no saint. I have a long way to go myself!) It is easier to forgive a stranger than someone who is close to us I think. Forgiveness is also a practice that gets easier with time. Forgiving is not the same as condoning a wrong done to you. It is simply letting go and not dwelling on it. Sometimes, we do have to make a decision to put distance between ourselves and someone else for our own protection (emotional, physical or spiritual) however once that is done, let go and let peace remain.
You may be wondering what the point in meditating or praying is. You may think it sounds like such a waste of precious time. However, the more you spend time in stillness before God, the more sensitive your spirit becomes to God’s voice and your own spirit. You are in a sense exercising your spirit and by doing that you are making yourself more and more aware of which way to go in life. Your spirit will begin to awaken and evolve and then you will find you start to birth yourself many times over. Think of someone you may know of who perhaps seemed to have it all already and then suddenly they make a decision that births themselves again in a new way. Oprah Winfrey for instance was a gifted TV presenter and then she opened up a school in Africa and then she started her own network etc etc. She is just one example of a person who has had multiple birthings but she did so by listening to her inner guidance. You might discover talents you never knew you had or ways you can improve life for others or help the world. If you want to know what evidence to look for that your spirit is connecting with God, here is a list I have made that may help you:
- You start to feel more positive, happier which then evolves to joy.
- You feel more at peace with everyone and everything.
- You worry less
- You begin to feel greater empathy towards others
- You find yourself looking for ways to help others
- You trust God more
- You trust your instincts and intuition more
- Your spiritual ears become more tuned (you hear God’s voice more acutely)
- You notice beauty in nature and in people more
- Your heart feels more expansive
- You have begun to make changes in your life such as giving up cigarettes or taking a course
- You become more drawn to people who are also seeking the spiritual path
- You become more tolerant of people
- You have a strong desire to share your spiritual experiences with others
- You are more in tuned to your mind, body and spirit
- You are beginning to love even those who have hurt you
- You are quick to forgive and slow to anger
- You feel God’s presence wherever you are
- Other people begin to sense a change in you
- Your life is getting richer and more rewarding every day