The second part of the conversation is listening. So when you meditate – really meditate. Don’t just sit there trying to relax, or trying to ‘clear your mind of all thought,’ really meditate. Listen! Listen to what He is saying, what He is trying to tell you. God does not just speak to a few special people back in the Bible days – HE is talking to YOU! Yes, YOU! NOW! As in RIGHT NOW! LISTEN!
First, know that it takes time. It takes practice. You have to learn to hear. You need to relax and you need to focus.
Relaxing is not always easy. Our culture thrives on anxiety. We eat stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You have to slow down. First sit quietly and take a deep, slow breath in. Deep, slow breath out. In and out, in and out. As you breathe in feel the Grace and Peace fill you. As you breathe out let go of your tension and worries.
Now focus. As you relax, picture a bright, warm soothing light. The more you relax the closer the light becomes, the closer the light becomes the more relaxed you are. Closer and closer, brighter and brighter, more calm, more loving. Focus on the Light of the World. Listen with your heart, not your ears.
Invasive thoughts will try to distract you. Don’t fight them. If you fight the random thought then you are focusing on it, not God. If God was sitting right there next to you would you really be wondering if you put the laundry in the dryer? Tell yourself that you’ll think about it later if a stray thought pops in, and return your focus to God or back to breathing and then back to God.
Fooling yourself into hearing what you want to hear will distract you. This one is tough and an error easily made, especially if you are worried about something. Telling you to not worry is like saying empty the ocean with a colander. The best method is try to just relax in God’s peace, the more relaxed you are the less likely you will be hearing what you want to hear. This is not foolproof however, and I am just the fool to speak from that experience.
Being afraid of what He will say will close you off. Fear, like worry, is a negative emotion. Negative emotions close you off to the positive emotions that connection with God brings. It is like asking someone a question and then closing your eyes, covering your ears and shouting “Why won’t you answer me! Why won’t you answer me! Why won’t you answer me!” Again just relax in God’s peace, it is the best way.
Disbelieving that God will actually talk to you, or fearing that you are talking to a demon will close you off. Again, negative emotions close you off to the positive emotions that connection with God brings. Just relax in God’s peace, I know it’s hard but you have to try and with practice you get better at letting go. As far as evil spirits, demons or other things who are out there to deceive you. You can defeat them easily. Jesus told us how.
But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5: 44 -45
Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, “Why weren’t we able to cast it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17: 18 – 20
That is how you “fight” off demons. If you are filled with Love, which is God, they tend to scatter. Fill yourself with God’s love and tell them to leave. That’s it. Hating them, fearing them, or fighting them fills you with negativity which is what they want. Moreover, you can’t be deceived into doing something wrong if you just do what God told you to do in the first place. The Ten Commandments are pretty clear on the whole right and wrong thing. Moreover, Jesus even narrowed it further with:
One of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, testing him. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22: 35-40
Not complicated. Just let nothing turn you away from God.
Speaking of… Place value on your own experience. God told you what you need to hear. Don’t let people tell you that what you experienced is not the way it’s supposed to be. I have been told that God doesn’t talk to people like that! God wouldn’t talk to you! You’re crazy! And worse. You have to remember that that doesn’t matter, your relationship with God matters. And that is between the two of you.
That being said, don’t go around telling everyone what you have heard unless God specifically tells you to. That is just your pride, speaking. Wanting people to think you are important because God speaks to you. God speaks to everyone not just you and nobody like a holier-than-thou jerk. It is not what God is speaking to you for. The vast, vast majority of the time His words are for you alone.
How is God supposed to talk to you? God talks to you how He talks to you, whether in feelings, or words, or visions. He even called the Magi by aligning the stars. God is not limited on how He communicates with you either inside or outside of meditation and prayer. God talks to you how He talks to you, it is what it is.
That being said, do not try to interpret what God means by what He says. He says what He means and He means what He says. If you try to interpret you will feel like an idiot later, when you discover the meaning was exactly what He said it was.
Sometimes you start to relax to meditate and just fall asleep. Awesome! God is giving you rest that you obviously needed. Moreover, don’t forget that God has spoken to people in dreams, so don’t worry about falling asleep. And when it comes to dreams, some are just your brain figuring things out and some are visions. Don’t try to interpret. It is what it is.
Sometimes you just can’t stay focused. There are always tools to help. Focus on your breath, the flame of a candle, a simple object that you hold in your hand, an altar, all of these mnemonic devices are there to remind you to focus.
And when you think He is not communicating back with you remember it doesn’t have to be a voice. It could be a feeling or just a simple knowing. Also never forget that it takes time and practice. You are trying to learn a new skill. You wouldn’t expect to be a concert violinist the first time you pick up an instrument, would you? The fact that you are trying to listen is the important part. Take your time, God is patient.
Peace be with you.