My guess is that if you have found your way to this blogsite and are reading this post, then you are on a spiritual path of some sort. Perhaps you’ve been on that path for some time now.
The interesting thing about a spiritual path is that it has lots of twists and turns…some clear open lovely spaces, and some long, dark, narrow passages.
And very often, the realizations we had yesterday that were so clear, so true, today we’ve completely forgotten. We wake up, and then fall back to sleep. Wake up again and fall back to sleep….and dream.
We dream a dream of separation…separation from our wholeness. Maybe we’ve fallen asleep and have dreamt that, if we can just manipulate the world in the right way we’ll be happy. If we can just make a lot of money we’ll be safe. If we can just find the right mate, our life will be complete. Or, if that “certain person” disappeared from our life, we’d finally be okay. Or we dream that if “they” would just give us a chance, give us a break, or if our career happened the way we think it should, our lives would transform; We’re dreaming of a world works from the outside it, rather than inside out.
Why can’t we seem to stay awake, and live the life we know in our heart is true? Here’s why: Because the voice of the world is so loud! The voice of the ego is so insistent. The voice of illusion is so damn hypnotizing. And the voice of the inner presence…that still, small voice is so still and so small. Why can’t it be the other way around, right? Humanity would have woken up long ago if that were the case. It seems to be the nature of things that the most important things in life are subtle…not always easy to grasp, but the unimportant things are in our face daily.
So our focus today is on adjusting our hearing, as it were, so that we can better hear that still, small voice and be able to distinguish it from the voice of the ego…and the voice of the world.
We also need to learn to develop an ear for the Universe…which is constantly providing feedback through our relationships, the circumstances in our lives, and our bodies. We listen to the feedback and we make adjustments as we go. Listen and adjust. We must, however do this with as much compassion, and self-love as possible. That is key!
When we can do this, we will be truly living our lives from the inside out …and as a result…experience living successfully in all areas of our lives.
In working from the inside out we are not trying to force a change to our behavior or to “be good” to even to “improve” our lives. NO. We are seeking to transform our understanding of who and what we are, and our relationship to the whole. We are seeking to allow for a fuller expression of our Authentic Self…where our actions are naturally in alignment with Divine Love.
The good news is that the Universe always supports our efforts to awaken and evolve our understanding. It is where we are all headed anyway. And we…who are already on a spiritual path…have already gotten the call. We’re just supporting each other in remembering that.
A good place to start is to think about the times in your life when you have been able to hear that still, small voice. When have you sensed God’s presence guiding you or supporting you? What practices have you done, or do you do now that engages that presence…that allows you to hear the Divine within? As Leonard Felder (The Ten Challenges) says, “Each of us has to find our own individual way of opening up to our particular spark of the Divine Presence.”
And there might be two categories here that can help you think about that. One place to look might be practices you may do by yourself…usually in the silence. The other place to look is activities you may do with others, or in community, that opens you up to that Divine Presence. Very often we experience it both ways.
Below is a sample of activities or practices that you do on your own in the silence. Make a note of which one of these things helps you hear that still, small voice.
- Contemplative Prayer
- Affirmative prayer
- Proactive Gratitude Pratice
- Heart Math
- Present moment awareness/ working with the breath.
- Walking or being in nature.
- Walking the labyrinth or Medicine wheel
- Listening to “Spirit-filled” music
- Or, __________________________________________(fill in the blank)
The section below lists a sample of activities you may do with others, or in community, that connect you with that still, small voice:
- Attending service at your spiritual community.
- Participating in a Healing Service
- Serving others in some capacity. (Name one or two ways you serve_________________________)
- Group ecstatic experience (dances, drumming, chanting)
- Ritual or ceremonial experience
- A class on some aspect of spirituality
- Spending time with someone with whom you have a deep connection.
- Group meditation or channeling
- Or, __________________________________________(fill in the blank)
I invite you to share your list with us here at The Gratitude Experiment…particularly if there are spiritual practices you do that I haven’t listed here.
Now that you have your list, the question becomes, how do we stay committed to doing these activities on a regular basis so that we don’t fall back to sleep? So that we stay awake more often to that place where “God’s Spirit dwells and the great encounter takes place?”
And making a commitment to daily practice takes a certain amount of discipline. We don’t always feel like doing it, or feel that we don’t have time to do it. So we want to acknowledge our feelings, embrace them, and at the same time love ourselves into remembering that we’ve made a commitment to connect with and reveal our Divine Self.
We all know how sometimes even the idea of discipline can cause a certain amount of resistance in us. It can bring out our rebellious inner teenager. We may also associate discipline with punishment…or some sort of self-control we think we don’t have. That’s why l love Rev. Michael Beckwith’s interpretation of it. He calls discipline, “blissipline.” And it’s true that after practicing for a while, it gives us such deep satisfaction and peace we find we don’t want to miss it…we don’t want to go a day without it. He says, “Discipline is a practice of self-love, self-respect and surrender that results in freedom.”
So I invite you to look at this list this week and make a commitment to doing something every day. And we’re going to love ourselves into daily practice. We’re going to support each other in daily practice…and we’re going to remind ourselves what we are really doing is nurturing that still, small voice which helps us stay awake to the Divine Presence within…thereby living our lives from the inside out.
Here’s a good affirmation to repeat daily:
“I open my heart daily to hear the still, small voice within. With intention I free myself from the voice of the ego, and of illusion, and I make space for the Divine to shine Its light through and as me.” And so it is!