Hearing What Spiritual Life Says
Some of us find it difficult to hear what spiritual life says.
We may have sincere, serious questions and and we desperately want to hearing some answers. Others of us have learned the answers we want to hear and are waiting for those answers to be confirmed. Some of us are skeptical we will ever hear what spiritual life says, or whether it can speak to us at all.
It is a challenge for us to believe spiritual life is real, or real enough for us to engage in a relationship.
We find spiritual life ethereal and have a difficult time wrapping our minds around it. It is impossible for us to hold it in our hands or experience with our other senses.
Some of us have specific expectations we want spiritual life to meet. We want to hear what spiritual life says the same way we would hear a song playing on our phone.
It might help us if what spiritual life says were clear and well modulated. Then we could record it and play it again and again to memorize the words. We would like to hear what spiritual life says and be able to understand what it means.
It is not surprising we find it challenging to hear what spiritual life says to us. We make a habit of distracting ourselves by listening to other things. It is hard for us to focus on tuning into spiritual life.
Does spiritual life really have anything meaningful to say to us?
How can we become better at hearing what spiritual life has to say to us?
What can we practice to strengthen our ability to hear the messages of spiritual life?
Why does spiritual life not come right out and tell us what we need to know?
Understanding What Spiritual Life Says
Some of us believe we need to read certain books to understand what spiritual life is trying to tell us. One of our challenges is when we cannot read the language in which those books were written. Another aspect of the challenge is what words mean, especially as they are translated, changes over time.
What we read in books is subject to interpretation. Each of us may have our own understanding of what we read. It takes us time to read these books and our interpretations may change over time.
These books were written and translated and interpreted by people over time. The understanding of what spiritual life says to us has become traditional during that time. When we read these books we may have our own new interpretations.
Another challenge to understanding what spiritual life says is traditional interpretations are often general. The insights in these books apply to everyone everywhere throughout time since they were written. Our questions may be specific to us and our actions. It can be difficult for us to hear what spiritual life says to us in particular.
Some of us see how we interpret and understand these books as primarily analytical. We need to study particular texts and work out how we understand them intellectually.
Many of us are more inclined to a less intellectual, more emotional way of understanding what spiritual life says. We do not want to be stuck in our heads, but also to understand spiritual truths deeply in our hearts.
Others of us need a more experiential way of understanding what spiritual life says to us. We are not limited to primarily intellectual or emotional, but also practical.
Hearing what spiritual life says to us takes us beyond understanding words written in books.
Trusting What Spiritual Life Says
Hearing what spiritual life says is more than sorting out what any particular words mean.
When we talk with our friends we hear more than the exact words they say to us. Our relationship is a context which allows us to understand what they are saying beyond the specific meaning of their words. We hear what they say between their words. They tell us more than the dictionary definition of each word they say.
Our relationship to spiritual life works the same way. We begin to hear what spiritual life says within and between the precise meaning of any specific words we read.
The way we relate to spiritual life grows in new ways as we learn to trust what we hear spiritual life say to us. We discern what spiritual life calls us to do and we look back to recognize what spiritual life has said.
We begin to trust spiritual life and learn how to trust our relationship in new ways.
The context of our relationship to spiritual life helps us hear what spiritual life says more clearly. Even when we hear things we might not understand we believe we can trust spiritual life.
Acting On What Spiritual Life Says
Each of us is trying to hear what spiritual life says and put it into practice in our everyday lives. We each have our own relationship to spiritual life and our own ways of understanding what it says. It is not surprising when we do not all interpret and understand spiritual life the same way.
The challenge for us is to decide what to do as we act on what spiritual life says. How does our relationship to spiritual life interact with what we do?
Some of us try to make direct connections between spiritual life and how we live each day. We work to develop practices or disciplines which remind us how spiritual life infuses our everyday life.
How we hear what spiritual life says is a central element of how we act on it.
As our relationship to spiritual life grows more meaningful and more intimate it shapes how we hear. We open ourselves to spiritual life in new ways.
Each day becomes an opportunity to hear what spiritual life says.
How can we hear what spiritual life says to us today?
Where will what spiritual life says guide us to go this week?
[Image by Nrico]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.