Sunday, 29 January 2012

On Finding God

I read recently a quote about people leaving church and finding God.  Now if I had a better memory or a stronger desire to make the effort to find the quote I would tell you who it was who came up with that one.  It is pure genius and certainly speaks of my experience. 

A few months back I was listening to Michael Neill (Intuitive Life Coach) speaking on his show on  He was talking about the concept of Buying In to whatever it is we are "supposed" to be doing.  The example he gave was of a teenager not really doing chores, etc until they Buy In to the importance of contributing to family life.  Likewise, regardless of what we read, hear or are being nagged to do, we cannot fully take part until we Buy In to why we benefit.

I think that this is a key concept in faith and a spiritual life.  I have always had the gift of faith---since I could remember anyway.  And I was raised with the ritual and traditions of the Catholic Church.  I quite enjoyed participating in the various ceremonies, the choir, and later youth retreats.  But like so many teenagers I lost my faith in the Church.  I could no longer Buy In to the need for the Bible, confession, some of the rituals of the Mass.  This partly came from reading the Bible.  Most of it.  Sad, but true.  Although I read it, and even got a bit out of it, it didn't speak to me in a way that enhanced my spiritual practice at that time.  I just couldn't accept that it was all that useful if it was written by men, most of whom never met Jesus, and which then went on to cause so much strife in the world.  As I heard Coversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch say on the radio recently---if any of the religious texts and practices we have now were the answer, then why is everyone still searching for God?  I am sure I paraphrased there.

I more or less stopped going to church for many, many years and only attend sporadically now.  I suspect that this is true of so many people nowadays.  And I think it is because we find it difficult to Buy In to religion.  As children we are carted in to church and told to sit still and be quiet.  Rituals which were actually designed to bring us closer to God became chore lists, without meaning.  This has been the case not only for our generation, but for many generations in fact.  This is a shame really.  I am not sure if there is a better way---I certainly hope that I can share with my children a bit of my understanding of Spirit. 

Over the years I have read a lot, about a lot of different things---new age---Buddhism, Shamanism, a bit about Druids....I hung out with Native Americans, Jews, and Muslims....trying to glean some meaning to life.  And I do believe that I have found it.  I don't know everything, but I do have very strong beliefs.  And I became a spiritual healer along the way.  Not only is this one of the greatest gifts, but the ability to connect to Spirit and renew my faith daily is great indeed.  Having found Spirit, it is now much easier to find it wherever I go.  It may be in a church, or the Bible, definitely in other people, and often in other religions has become a cliche for a reason.  Maybe this is just the way we are going.  Because we ARE doing it right.

How to Pray in Earnest

I have joined an evening Bible Study Group partly to Better Myself and mostly to Get Out More.  I have actually found it really inspiring and helpful to my meditation practice.  We are studying the book of Acts, which was written by Luke.  It is nice to have a look at this description of the very early church.  We have discussed quite a few themes, and we keep coming back to prayer.  This week our study questions asked us how do we pray in earnest.

Well, here goes.  A rough guide.

Step 1.  First you need to get yourself a problem.  It can be "small," "big," an illness, a difficult person....anything which makes for a Very Stressful Time.

Step 2.  Now, approach God in a frantic, can't-stand-this-a-minute-longer rant.

Step 3.  Get a bit miffed that a.) you have to go through this and b.) NO ONE IS ANSWERING YOU!

Oddly, this rant will make you feel a teensy bit calmer after a few minutes.  (The old getting it off your chest technique).  Then you will be ready for ....

Step 4.  ...wait for will hear something...

Maybe God, maybe guides, angels....maybe your own inner wisdom.....but in the stillness the answer will come.  Sometimes your answer will be quite direct.  "You need to look after yourself."  Sometimes it is a simple message such as "We are here for you."  And sometimes it is a reminder.  "Try turning this around."  (This is a great technique.  For instance when I was frantically praying I really NEED to know the truth here before I explode with the stress!!!!  Turning it around means stopping and saying I know the truth.  And quite often, you do. )

This is how I do it anyway.  Easy right?  Well there are a few things to keep in mind.  You do not always get the answer you want.  If an answer makes you afraid of taking action then it is most likely your ego, and not from Spirit.  Basically, if you are not feeling absolutely loved and supported, then what you are hearing is not from GOD.  And lastly, as with all relationships, you must remember that you cannot speak and listen at the same time.