Saturday, February 22, 2014

Be Still And Know The Whispers Of God

I was asked recently about knowledge of the Will of God. A Course in Miracles (ACIM) tells us we only have free choice, not free will. As already-loved spirits eternally united with the Father, our will is the same as God’s, of Whom we are One. We can choose, however, to ignore His Will because our minds have split – the price of free choice. We have a lower egoic mind and a higher mind that can be trained to listen for God’s Will. When we choose incorrectly, we simply err. Then, we can choose again. What most would call “sin,” we now recognize simply as an errant choice.
The question then becomes: How do we know the Will of God? As the 11th Step in Alcoholics Anonymous states: “[We] sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
When I asked this question of a revered woman and wonderful friend in Saint Augustine, she nodded that it was a significant question. She advised me to listen for the whisper of the message that would appear. Margaret Meharg was her name. She was in her eighties and still spoke with her strong Irish brogue.  She was a marvelous lady. When I called her “Quad-M” (for Magical Mystical Mother Margaret), she would always laugh. She referred to me as her boyfriend. That would always make me feel very good inside.
She told me, “The loud voices you hear are your ego voices.” Then she would begin to chortle: “I have many of these voices, Don. But by practicing, I have learned to pay attention to the quiet ones. It’s not a 100 per cent, but I get pretty close most of the time I think.”
But I’m used to loud. I’m used to flamboyant. I’m used to ostentatious. Anything subdued doesn’t grab my attention. I’m used to multi-tasking – listening to several of my louder voices all at once. I’m used to constant stimuli. I don’t like quiet. I don’t like stillness. It’s boring. When someone describes Heaven in terms of no conflict, no concern, no want, no desire, singing hymns and playing harps all day – I mean what a monotonous existence that would be to do for all eternity.
There is an article in the February 2014 issue of BBC’s Focus Magazine by Helen Czerski – part of her “Everyday Science” commentaries (page 29). Although she is discussing the wonder of breath, it was a spiritual parable for me. “Cold clear days are wonderful at this time of year – I love it when the outside feels fresh and clean but I can also feel my nose and cheeks burning from the chill. If it’s cold enough, I also get to see something that is completely invisible for the rest of the year even though it’s always there. The reward for being outside on these days is being able to see your own breath, and to look at what it gets up to after it leaves your body…. The reason I like this … is that air is moving all around us all the time, but we can only tell if part of it pushes on our skin hard enough for us to feel it. Being able to see it too is a bit like having a temporary superpower, except that I’m not sure this one will help you defeat any enemies. When I breathe out, I can see what happens as one batch of air is pushed into another one. At the edges, there are chaotic swirls coming and going. This is turbulence, and it’s mixing the two lots of air together. Turbulence is a far better way of mixing things than just letting them slowly merge – that’s why you stir your tea after putting milk in, rather than just letting it mix itself. Outside on a cold day I’m happy to stand and watch the air I’ve just breathed out. I can see the tiny swirls mixing the carbon dioxide I’ve exhaled with that from the other living things around me. And then I imagine all the swirls that I can’t see directly, the ones made when I push air out of the way when I walk, the ones that rush out as I close doors, and the giant ones made as the wind blows over the hills. Air is almost never completely still and we spend our lives surrounded by shifting and dynamic air molecules. Our atmosphere is being continually mixed up by turbulent swirls, but this enormous atmospheric dance is mostly invisible. ”
I spend so much of my day believing, acting, reacting, planning, plotting, listening to my louder voices, dodging, and weaving – as if the people, traffic, politics, and anger I sense is all there is – that I cannot see my breath and all the other invisible (to me) “real” events going on. If it’s invisible, I seem to be saying, it doesn’t exist.
“Be still and know that I am God,” the prophet admonished me, just as Margaret instructed me, as well. Listen for the whispers, not the shouts. I understand that what I perceive with my five senses doesn’t mean that’s all there is. Intellectually, I comprehend that. However, to cultivate and listen for the voice of intuition or the whisper of the Holy Spirit requires some discipline, practice, and dedication on my part. Reading Bible verses is not the same as “…being still….” Reminiscing is not the same as “…being still….” Sitting in nature, while your mind runs undisciplined from topic to topic is not the same as “…being still….” Watching or listening to mindless television is not the same as “…being still….” Lying quietly on my bed and reliving past experiences – painful or pleasant – is not the same as “…being still….” 
As I sit outside and write this on a windy, but unusually warm February day, I watch a leaf being blown first left, then right, then round and round. I’m reminded of Czerski’s words and the invisible turbulence occurring in my patio: There’s more to life than I sense; I need to watch for the reality of the invisible; I need to listen for the whispers.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 February, 2014

Copyright, 2014

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