- Religion and Philosophy
Listen, Soul Seeks an Audience
“The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
And an attentive ear is the wise man’s joy.”
– Sirach 3:28 NAB
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I watched my grandson playing with his mother, seemingly attentive and obedient to the oral instructions of his mom. I marveled at how a baby at less than eight months of age could understand the meaning of words. There indeed is a special bond between mother and baby that lets them communicate soul to soul.
In today’s adult society we speak in a convoluted language. Communication is oftentimes confused and it is not uncommon for us to misunderstand each other. We seem to be talking all at the same time, seeking to take control of the situation coming from a place that is typical of our ego-based self.
Soul and Metaphors
“Tradition teaches that soul lies midway between understanding and unconsciousness, and that its instrument is neither the mind nor the body, but imagination. …
Fulfilling work, rewarding relationships, personal power, and relief from symptoms are all gifts of the soul.” - Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul
What are some of the ways you feel God or Soul has communicated insights or instructions to you?
If you have not discovered a way of keeping a direct communication line to God yet, you may want to read on.
Four Ways of Listening
- Community worship, e.g. Sunday mass, readings, gospel and homily. Humility is a key attitude. It is easy for us to have the know-it-all attitude (e.g. I don’t need to go to mass) instead. With the latter, our mind shuts down against new ideas, which are fuel for insights, wisdom and developing spirituality. Humility can come from an inkling of how great God is in comparison to our being a mere speck of dust, yet feeling within us his infinite love for us.
- Meditation (versus prayer which has us talking instead of listening). It is important to be curious, open, nurturing, attentive, and accepting while doing our meditation. Accepting, further insights can be revealed. Rejecting, stunts flow of insights from our inner self and God.
- Alert and attentive to beauty of our surrounding and interaction with people
- Retreat (See Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, e.g. http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/cmo-retreat.html, http://www.stepbystepretreats.webs.com/, etc.). Persistence and patience with oneself is a key trait during the retreat. We cannot expect to see measurable gains in advancing through the subtle realm of the spirit.
How These Turn Out in My Experience
- During a Sunday mass reading, I came upon the bible verse Sirach 3:28 which was cited as regarding humility in the New American Bible version, which so happened to be the life lesson I am currently assimilating into my everyday experience. On a deeper, metaphorical level, the words “sage” and the “wise man” seemed to engage my imagination such that a message with a deeper significance came across, one that is very personal and specially meant for me.
- During a silent sitting (see a related article on how to do a sitting, “Prayer beyond Thoughts: Turning Meditation into a Daily Routine ”), the Japanese word “Tadaima” broke into my conscious awareness. After the sitting, I googled it up; it means, “Here, I am!” or “I’m back.” I took the message to be from the Holy Spirit, meaning that any time I’m still, there God is (“Here, I am!”). I kept the insight as the day’s inspiration and on through the following weeks.
- The external world is a mirror of our inner self. To notice beauty around us is to notice the beauty in our soul, to hear God tell us how very beautiful we are. I see this in brightly colored flowers and hear this in somber bird songs that make me feel as though I were in the midst of a sacred forest. You are so beautiful.
- “Omiyage” [e.g. “…tokens of appreciation for, say, your colleagues' hard work covering your absence from the office ” - http://www.daijob.com/en/columns/taras/article/1459]). Although I hardly know the Japanese/Nihongo language, another Japanese word sprang from my unconscious while doing the procedure, suggested by the Ignatian spiritual exercises (online), of recalling memories. I was amazed at how the word floated up from a long forgotten memory of a boat ride where a Japanese, for no reason, just gave me an omiyage. The arising of the 23-year old memory for me signified spiritual delights and God’s graces (i.e. unearned), for example, having chanced upon the free online Ignatian spiritual exercises or retreat.
Depending On One’s Orientation
Regarding God communicating to us in the context of our limited experience, it has been said that “God wants only this, then: that we experience infinite love being revealed within our finite experiences and our reception of that love in our lives.”
Depending on our religious orientation and past experiences, we will find which practices are the most suitable for the purpose of our being able to better listen to God.
In last week’s article, “Soul of My Soul: A Mystical Union ”, it’s been said through the song, “Soul of My Soul” that God only wants what best for us. God wants us to be happy. If we could better listen to insights and inspirations from him, we will be able to live soulfully and seek and find only those things that truly matter to our soul, not the shouldas dictated to us by a materialistic society.
“If you with all your sins, know how to give your children good things, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” – Luke 11:13, NAB
We can constantly seek then listen.
We can then hear the Holy Spirit say, “Tadaima!”
and the Father say, “You are so beautiful!”