Undoing the Ego

A Great Yogini

This is a mesmerizing story that Mooji tells and which you, too, may love and use well.

Yogini

The Yogini painted by Mooji

A great Yogini was deep in meditation.  Suddenly, beautiful and melodious sounds could be heard, appearing as if from nowhere and everywhere simultaneously.  It was like nothing she has ever heard.  She felt: this music is truly wonderful but it cannot be what I am, for I am here to hear it.  The music faded away.

Next appeared the most exquisite colors, like no painter could paint; nor could any flower display it for it was not of this earthly realm.  She thought, “This is, indeed, astonishingly beautiful.  However, it cannot be who I am nor can it be real for it cannot appear if I were not here to perceive it.”  This phenomenon, too, she ignored.  Shortly afterwards, it also vanished in the presence of her deep and unmoving silence.

Shortly after this, there appeared several beings shaped as if from pure light, floating through space and smiling lovingly at her in a welcoming manner.  She felt profoundly touched and filled with loving emotions but inwardly, she somehow kept her composure.  “How profound,” she felt, “but this also cannot be what Is the unchanging reality, for, were I not here, who would see them?”  As soon as this insight occurred, the figures vanished.

Her mind entered her heart and could no more produce any effects.

A deep silence prevailed as her mind merged inside her indivisible, unconquerable and essential being — a state know to the Yogis as Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

If you are ready, the tale of the Yogini can help you resist temptation when the ego uses spiritual experiences to try and maintain its hypnosis over your Mind.

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

The Spark Is Still As Pure As the Great Light

Hey Sparky!

It’s been a while since I wrote, and you’ve been on my mind the whole time. I’ve been immersed in the Thought that each and every one of us has the spark of God within us, and share this so you can feel the Light within yourself:

The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal. In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the Great Light, because it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you. (T-10.IV.7&8)

Please re-read the quote slowly and thoroughly. Read it out loud. Tell yourself, “I am a lamp of God. I am the spark within a Great Ray which streams from the Great Light. I am willing to put all my faith into the spark that I may hear God Himself answer me.”

The spark is the umbilical cord back to God. The Great Ray is the bridge you cross to your Source, the Great Light. The lamp is your body when you give it to God to use for His Purpose. The ego uses the body for fear, anxiety, tension, and death. If you would like some practical mysticism for undoing the ego’s darkness and discovering your spark, join “Undoing Anxiety,” a free MiracleShare Academy webinar series. Just click the pic below.

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Glowingly, Amy

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

God Is In Your Smile

“Find where your smile originates and you will find your Source.”  Holy Spirit beamed this thought into my open mind and Amy crosslegged whiteinstantly I became aware that a smile is not your lips, your tongue, your mouth, your teeth, your jaw.  A smile starts deeper than that and spreads beyond the face entirely.

In fact, during my advertising career years, when I was lucky enough to work with voiceover artists and celebrities in recording studios, I learned that you can hear a smile.  If the person reading the script is faking their smile, a smile is not communicated!

(FILES): This February 24, 2008 file phoTo digress a moment, Wesley Snipes once read some copy of mine before he was famous.  And it was an honor to write for Ossie Davis, whose voice raised thrills as he warmed up by practicing some of my lines aloud.  Both of them had beautiful smiles, by the way. Ossie Davis smile

As I was saying, a smile spreads beyond your face because a smile is actually your Inner Light.  Your smile is one of those obvious, but often overlooked, clues that God is in you since your smile isn’t mechanical, therefore it must be inspired!  I remember telling my psychotherapist at a very low point in my life when I felt that I couldn’t overcome the anxiety and depression that was paralyzing me at that time, “The worst part is that deep inside I know I’m naturally cheerful — it’s in my smile!”

Have you ever noticed that smiles are contagious?  When someone smiles at you, or you at someone, usually both end up smiling.  This is because, “The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark.  It is everywhere and it is eternal.  In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured.  Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten.  If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen.”  (T-10.IV.7:5-6; 8:1-3)  Your smile can help you learn of the greater light if you follow it to the Light from which it originates.

I once knew someone who had Bell’s Palsy* which is a condition that affects the nerves in the face.  He was self-conscious John Sudworth bells palsy smilethat his smile became crooked and spent the rest of his life trying not to smile.  How sadly backwards.  It took an effort to stop smiling — and if, instead, he had smiled, he may very well have healed and reactivated the nerves and muscles of his face.  But even if he didn’t, his smile would have communicated Love which overrides any deformity.

Your smile is an ordinary miracle, capable of reminding you every day that God is within you and without you.  When you smile, you radiate well-being and joy.  In other words, you are a conduit for healing miracles.  And when you become conscious that you have volunteered your body to fulfill the Holy Spirit’s loving purpose, your smile is reflected back to you a thousand times more than you smiled it!

A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as being spontaneous, natural, involuntary and it collapses time.  It defines a holy instant as a miniature of Heavewink with star in eyen — providing us with an experience of Timelessness.  String together enough miracles and holy instants and — poof! — you discover your Inner Light.  Why wait?

Let’s find where your smile originates right now and you will encounter your Self.  Take a moment and follow the trail of  your smile.  Does it actually start in your mouth?  Is it in your heart?  Your eyes?  Is it moving through you and emanating from you?  Right about now you could feel a shift in perception and realize that your smile is not only within you, but you are within God’s Smile!  The real you is a Smile without a face.

Abide in your smile“Father, Your Son is holy.  I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness.  How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.” (W-341)

Abiding in your own smile naturally leads to the discovery that you truly abide within Your Father’s Smile.  How many times does Jesus tell us in the Course that you are not the body, you are free, for you are still as God created you?  Well, it’s true!

While you identify as human, place yourself in the Holy Spirit’s Hands for guidance.  You will find yourself smiling more and more!  As you smile, you will realize that you are not human — you are Being.  And Being is Unaffected by what is not real.

As the Introduction to ACIM states: Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.

* * * * *

You may also enjoy reading Service with a Smile! and Remember to Laugh and Happiness Is Your True Nature

* Click here to read about John Sudworth’s attitude towards Bell’s Palsy.

God Is In Your Smile was originally published April 26, 2015 and this is the newly revised and updated version.

To hear Amy speak about A Course in Miracles, watch her YouTube videosIf you’d like to ask Amy a question for her popular Ask Amy column in Miracles magazine, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com …  To receive blessings from Amy, read Sweet Dreams of Awakening.  Also, check out Workin’ the Workbook, Amy’s online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice. 

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Coming Apart at the “Seems”

A Course in Miracles tells us that everything we think we see is an illusion.  It says there is no world, there are no bodies, and life as we know it is merely a dream.  Grasping this intellectually is the first gulp. After we swallow, we still need to digest this sublime wisdom.

One simple and effective way of digesting this is what I call coming apart at the “seems,” a play on “coming apart at the seams.”  It’s a spiritual way of falling apart which, paradoxically, reveals that you actually have it Together.

Who we areLet’s look at several instances of “seems” from the Course:

In Lesson 6: I am upset because I see something that is not there, we are told, “Today’s idea is useful for application to anything that seems* to upset you, and can profitably be used throughout the day for that purpose.”

Lesson 8 gives us a practice, “I seem to be thinking about [name of a person], about [name of an object], about [name of an emotion]. But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”  Lesson 9 calmly points out, “It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems* to picture is not there.”

In Chapter 31 we read, “Whatever form temptation seems* to take, it always but reflects a wish to be a self that you are not.”

Lesson 68: Love holds no grievances, begins with this:  “You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. It seems* to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him.”

After practicing Course principles for some time, my language changed to include the word “seems” on a regular basis.  It was the outcome of mind training.  For example, I would tell myself,

“I seem to be upset that my phone bill is outrageously high!”

“I seem to be angry that my yoga practice seems to keep throwing my back out.”

“The hurricane warnings seem to be scaring me because I still haven’t gotten flood insurance.”

“I seem to be a person and my body seems to have a stomach ache.”

“The world seems very real and the atrocities occurring in it seem highly disturbing.”

This one word “seems” had a potent ability to tune me in to my Inner Teacher.  “Seems” changed everything.  “Seems” slowed my thought process down and provided holy instants of illumination.  Light streamed through the reasons I thought I was upset and unveiled that I’m never upset for the reason I think (see Lesson 5).  “Seems” allowed me to see that I was defaulting to the ego as my teacher.  Then it became easy to choose again–choose the memory of God within me (the Holy Spirit) as my Guide.

In Chapter 5, Jesus tells us, “The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.”  You and I do not have to undo anything. We can leave undoing to the Holy Spirit. But we do have to choose to follow His Guidance.

open head w mechanical parts“Undoing” means uprooting the ego thought system.  This naturally leads to seeing through ego illusions to the Truth.  The ego thought system thrives on holding grievances. We do not have to try not to hold grievances. We simply need to become aware that we have chosen a “grievance” state of mind.  Once we realize that we are the dreamer of the ego dream of separation, and that grievances, guilt, fear, and punishment perpetuate the dream, then we can choose another teacher, the Holy Spirit, to undo our attachment to grievances.

Coming apart at the “seems,” for me, is the Holy Spirit’s undoing of “Amy.” Several years ago it came to me that I was thinning away, like the heel of a threadbare sock. The Course puts it this way:

“By focusing on the good in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good.” (T-31.VII.3:3)

This is one of the happy outcomes of coming apart at the seams. As Shawn Colvin sings in her song, Round of Blues, “it’s a new breakthrough, it’s an old breakdown.” If you’re sick and tired of your old breakdown, let’s have a new breakthrough together by coming apart at the “seems” :)   To the ego this is terrifying, but when you allow yourself to move your attention from the ego to the Holy Spirit, you find merciful detachment from this convincing, but false, terror.  Freedom awaits.

A Course in Miracles gives us concrete tools to apply to this seemingly material world while we believe we’re in it.  If you’re ready to join me in coming apart at the “seems,” please feel free to insert “seems” into every situation and emotion in your life that seems to be upsetting you.  And let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear from you.

*Emphasis mine

You may also enjoy How to Take Yourself Less Personally.  If you need help practicing the Workbook lessons from A Course in Miracles, sign up for my online class, Workin’ the Workbook.

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

A Clean Slate 2016

It’s the first day of a new year — a clean slate.  clean slate with eraser

A clean slate is full of promise … and can be daunting, especially if you have tried and failed in the past.  So let’s apply the Course principle that there is no past, right now. Interestingly, the past and feeling guilty go hand in hand.

If you are willing to reassess a past failure as a worthy attempt, your heart is uplifted rather than downcast.  When your heart lifts, the chains of time are momentarily undone and the holy instant purifies your mind as you enjoy a glimpse of Heaven.  Maybe you have not paid enough attention when your heart lifts. Here’s your chance.

Say aloud, “On this clean slate let my true function be written for me.” and take a full inhale and exhale.  If your heart lifts, breathe through that feeling, enjoying it fully.  This connects you with your Inner Teacher, the Holy Spirit, the bridge to God.

If your heart sinks, know that you are feeling guilty in some way, and allow yourself to know more about what this sinking feeling represents. Don’t avoid it — plumb the depths with your trusty partner, the Holy Spirit, your Friend and Comforter.

As you become aware of the upsetting, disturbing, enraging, terrifying, shameful and destructive thoughts and feelings that result in your downcast heart, give them to the Holy Spirit.  Have a conversation with Him/Her.  Report your thoughts and describe your feelings aloud, giving each one to your Friend, your Inner Light, which cannot help but shine away inner darkness if you expose it in this way.

Now 2016 is truly a clean slate!

The phrase “a clean slate” is used in the audacious Lesson 65: My only function is the one God gave me.  Lesson 65 “offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties. It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands. It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.”

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, if you began the Workbook on Lesson 1 today. But the truth is, any lesson can take you all the way Home if you surrender to it fully. That’s why I sometimes refer to every lesson as “Lesson One” because essentially they are all the same.

Happy Clean Slate!

Copyright © 2016 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Mooji: Thunderbolts of Truth and Blessings to ACIM Students

“At a certain stage it will stop seeming auspicious to be a person. It’s a kind of grace that few will appreciate.” ~Mooji

On a rainy Saturday in October, with a feeling of baptism in the air, Mooji met with me in the breathtaking Ramakrishna Yurt which is perched on the edge of a precipice and has a view that silences the ego mind instantly.

Sri Mooji is a true Master, the living Christ, and points to the simple truth that you are, also. If you desire the deepest Truth, this video is for you. Mooji and I speak about Course concepts and his insights reverberate like thunderbolts! See for yourself.

You may also enjoy the conversation Bill Free and I had on his new internet radio show, Pure Presence.  If you missed it live, here’s the link: https://www.unity.fm/episode/PurePresence_100215

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Six Messages Straight from the Holy Spirit

stairway to heavenImagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung gleams more resplendently as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light. The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer as His Magnetism becomes irresistible. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”…   Enlightenment!

A Course in Miracles offers a workbook practice to help you reach Enlightenment.  The practice reconnects you with your Internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  This connection changes everything.  As you follow Spirit Guidance you are liberated from fear and empowered by Love.  But … sticking with this guidance can be tricky, as the ego may very well kick up a fuss as it senses its ultimate demise.

oval blue doveThis is why the Holy Spirit offers some very clear recommendations so you can stay on-track.  As you stick with Spirit, you develop more focus, faith and trust in your own experience which then strengthens your connection to the Truth which is already in your mind.  Here are some basic recommendations from the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus in ACIM:

Recommendations Straight from the Holy Spirit

★ Develop the good habit of practicing your workbook lesson as close to awakening, and going to sleep, as possible.

★ There is also a purification process involved, so it’s natural to experience unpleasant side effects at times. But remember, when swimming pools are disinfected, first the muddy, murky sludge that has gathered at the bottom is churned up to the surface. Only after the filter has been going for a while does the water become clear. In the same way, you are cleansed and purified through the workbook practice. After a while fear and darkness dissolve, and all that remains is the loving light You Really Are.

★ All the workbook lessons should be done in an unhurried manner. A comfortable sense of leisure is essential. With our busy lives, this often seems impossible. But if you ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the time, He will give you that miracle. After all, we’re told at the very beginning of the ACIM Text, in the 50 miracle principles, that miracles collapse time. They are nothing if not practical!

★ As you practice the idea for the day, use it totally indiscriminately. Do not attempt to apply it to everything you see, for these exercises should not become ritualistic. Only be sure that nothing you see is specifically excluded. One thing is like another as far as the application of the idea is concerned. This is important because it impresses on the mind the first miracle principle: “There is no order of difficulty in miracles.” When this becomes real to us, there is nothing else to do but naturally and effortlessly spend our lives extending miracles.

★ “The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit’s particular care and guidance.” ACIM, M-29. Isn’t it comforting and inspiring to know that the Holy Spirit is working with you individually?*

★ Open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and feel His power surging Life and Love into you. Doing the workbook practice is like plugging in your cell phone – a powerful energy is charging you up! And there will be signs to boost your confidence along the way.

* There will come a day when you realize that you were working with the Holy Spirit, not He with you.  He helps you awaken to Reality, not dream a better dream.  When you choose His guidance, you are choosing against illusions and enlightenment is recognized as always here, always true. “The Holy Spirit must work through you to teach you He is in you.  This is an intermediary step towards the knowledge that you are in God because you are part of Him.” (T-7.IV.2:1-2)

For a long time, it seems as if your path is your own – very personal and filled with unique experiences. It is your particular set of experiences, relationships and understandings. This is because first you must become your self, and that readies you to realize your Self.  “A tiny moment of surprise, perhaps, will make you pause before you realize the world you see before you in the light reflects the truth you knew, and did not quite forget in wandering away in dreams.” (W-131: No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.)

Now try it again: Imagine you are climbing a ladder to Heaven, rung by rung. Each rung gleams more resplendently as you draw nearer and nearer to Heavenly Light.  The Holy Spirit is not shining brighter – you are drawing nearer. And when you reach the top you realize there is no individual “you”… Enlightenment!

WtW Lauren crisp n clear

Workin’ the Workbook (WtW) is an online class that helps structure, clarify and support your Course in Miracles Workbook practice.  WtW also helps you persevere and stick with all 365 lessons. Many people quit before completing the Workbook and don’t get to experience the rewards of choosing the Holy Spirit rather than the ego.

You can begin at any lesson — start with Lesson 1 or resume where you left off.  The price is $37 a month (just a bit more than a dollar a day) and no one is turned away due to lack of funds (email me at miracles@amytorresacim.com to ask about scholarships).  The classroom is open to you for as long as it takes to finish all 365 lessons.

Let’s practice together!  Click here for more information and to sign-up for Workin’ the Workbook, my online class which supports the ACIM Workbook practice.  

 

Copyright © 2014 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Ask Amy: Tears of Joy

Guy QuestionQ:  I don’t know if my heart is being touched by God or if I am going nuts. I cry all through the day. There is no sadness, just a deep compassion and love present. This has been going on for a while now. I read A Course in Miracles and I cry. I hear beautiful words in my head that do not seem to be my own and I cry. I feel drawn to sit out in nature and see beauty all around me and I cry. What is going on with me?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAA: The ego loves to say, “I don’t know” and “what if I am going nuts” to keep you endlessly distracted from, as you so nicely put it, your heart being touched by God. In ACIM, Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms, “The ego is insane.” (W-pII.12.2:1) and assures us, “The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the will of God.” (T-13.XI.7:4)

Within your question is the answer to your question. Here are the telltale signs that you are having the best kind of meltdown:

* There is no sadness. Tears without sadness are joyful tears of awakening. The ACIM Text informs us, “There is no sadness where a miracle has come to heal.” (T-27.V.4:1)

* There is deep compassion and love present (holy qualities of your true Self). “In your heart the Heart of God is laid. He holds you dear, because you are Himself.” (W-197)

* There is constancy (you say, “this has been going on for a while”) rather than egoic roller coaster emotions or debilitating mood swings. God’s Mind is Changeless.

* You are moved by beauty and seeing beauty in everything. “This loveliness is not a fantasy. It is the real world, bright and clean and new, with everything sparkling under the open sun.” (T-17.II.2:1-2)

* You are recognizing your inner wisdom (as you read A Course in Miracles). “This course removes all doubts which you have interposed between Him and your certainty of Him.” (W-165)

* You are receiving beautiful words that do not seem to be your own. “Only God’s holy children are worthy channels of His beautiful joy, because only they are beautiful enough to hold it by sharing it.” (T-5.Intro)

Chronic crying without relief or resolution is very different than what you are describing. In your case, it sounds like you are open enough at this point in your spiritual unfolding to experience tears of joy.

Spiritually, tears of joy are a spontaneous recognition of your true Self. You are literally overflowing with love, compassion, and appreciation. These tears are Grace moving through you, purifying you, uplifting you, and confirming your true Nature. Not only is your heart being touched by God, you are discovering you are within the Heart of God.

This joyful crying is still an experience – a phase in your awakening. You do not have to wonder how long it will last, or try to recapture it if it ceases. Spiritual experiences are markers on the path, not a goal in and of themselves. You are well on your way to full awakening and God is in charge now.

For those of you who would like to be guided into this “tears of joy” state of Mind, Lessons 261 – 270 offer this experience.

This Q&A appears in the Ask Amy column from the Sept-Oct 2015 issue of Miracles magazine.  Miracles is a well-loved staple in the ACIM community.  For a subscription, email Jon@miraclesmagazine.org or call 845-496-9089.  To ask Amy a question, email miracles (at) amytorresacim (dot) com

Copyright © 2015 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

Reasons to Keep Faith Even If You Don’t Hear God

The reason people get terribly discouraged when they pray and don’t hear God is because it seems as if God is not answering them. In order to keep faith, we have to open our minds to the idea that just because we believe “God doesn’t care about me” or “God doesn’t exist” doesn’t mean it’s true.

Here are five reasons to keep faith even though, right now, you think you can’t hear God:

1. God hears you even if you don’t hear Him.

In How You Can Talk With God, Paramahansa Yogananda tells us, “The trouble is not with Him, but with us. Our intuitive telephonic system is out of order. God is calling us and speaking to us, but we do not hear Him.” Even if you are convinced that God has not heard you because you specifically asked, and even begged, for something and did not get it, all that proves is that you were directing God to do what you thought best — rather than asking God for His guidance. We have to remain open to the possibility that what we think is best is not necessarily so. Our solutions may not be the Answer. Extend a little willingness to trust that God has heard you, even if you haven’t heard His reply – yet.

2. You have your fingers in your ears.

We don’t realize that we are deliberately plugging up our hearing, which, of course, interferes with receiving God’s messages to us. In order to hear God, whose call is there for us continuously, all day and all night long, we need to open ourselves to Him by releasing our desires, longings, and demands. The way to do this is to give everything to God. When we give God our desires, our wishes, our fears and sorrows, our resentments and jealousies, we are releasing blockages which clear our “ears” and makes it possible to “hear” Him.

3. Your eyes are closed.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.” Many spiritual paths speak of a third eye. Located in the space between the eyebrows is the sixth chakra, the energy center of enlightened vision, which brings the body’s eyes together into one single eye — a spiritual eye which gives us God’s Vision. God speaks to us with symbols. It may be an inner voice, or visions, or a coincidence which is more than coincidence. Open your mind and ears and eyes will start to reveal Him to you. You can google “spiritual eye meditation” to find a specific exercise to help you open your spiritual eye.

4. You are asleep.

In the bible, the Adam and Eve story tells us that Adam fell into a deep sleep, but nowhere does it say that he awoke from this sleep. Again, more than one spiritual path tells us that this world is a dream or an illusion. A common reason that we think we can’t hear God is that we are in a deep, hypnotic sleep, utterly convinced that our dream is reality, when actually God is a reality beyond our human comprehension.

A compelling paragraph from A Course in Miracles states, “You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognize from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?”

The question becomes, how can we awaken, and in that awakening hear what God has been whispering in our sleepy ear the entire time? There are many ways. One is to quiet the mind through meditation. Another is to ask God to guide us in His way without setting our own agenda. The main thing is to listen receptively.

5. Your seeds are germinating underground.

God is Love Itself, and you are God’s child. Trust that any time you turn to God that you are developing a relationship with Him. He is aware of you always. You are just learning how to recognize His communication, which comes in many varied forms and symbols. Every time you turn to God you plant a seed of love in the ground. They are germinating. The buds will poke out from the earth and start to rise toward heaven — your seeds will blossom. Let yourself believe this and you will find that God’s Voice was with you all along.

These are five reasons to keep faith even though you can’t hear God in this moment. Open your heart, open your mind, and let God surprise you. When we think too much we block our ability to receive God’s Thoughts. Try to relax, be it meditating, cleaning the house, fishing, or taking a bath – something calming that takes you out of your worried thoughts, and chances are better that God will reveal Himself in the very moment you least expect it.

You may also enjoy Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit.  If you would like coaching to help you tune in to God, I am available for spiritual guidance. Just email miracles@amytorresacim.com

Copyright © 2011 Amy Torres. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Value of Great Listening Skills

listen notHave you ever been talking to someone who is looking around the room while you speak? Or who interrupts you to say something on a completely different subject? Maybe you were confiding in a friend who seemed distracted and when you accused her of not listening, she said indignantly, “I was listening!” and to prove it she parroted back the last phrase you had spoken.

There is a difference between listening and technically hearing what is said. Hearing what is said takes short term memory — it only indicates that on a surface level you took in their words but didn’t join emotionally with the person speaking to you.

Men tend to be better listeners than women because generally they can tolerant silence better. Women are better listeners than men in that they are more comfortable sharing emotions. Men need to learn how to be more emotionally available and responsive. Women need to learn how to be supportive through their presence rather than talking too much.

Becoming a better listener means becoming a better person because it cultivates emotional maturity and generosity. Is it possible to become a great listener? Yes it is. Let’s look at eight ways you can develop great listening skills.

dog listening1. Be interested. Many people think listening means keeping quiet until it is their turn to talk. But true listening is a selfless act. Listening means giving your thoughtful attention to another person. This attention is non-judgmental, open-minded, respectful and curious.

2. Listening is receiving. We are receiving the trust and vulnerability of another person. To be a receiver, let yourself be a blank canvas for the other person. Allow your friend to toss out ideas, feelings, contradictory thoughts, and whatever else is coming up. Let her be upset or illogical.

3. Indicate you’re listening with subtle cues. Let the person know that you’re interested by nodding your head, murmuring “mmm hmmm,” and softly echoing a word or short phrase here and there.

listen ears4. Attuning and matching. A good listener usually makes eye contact, but might also sit companionably side by side and gaze straight ahead, allowing the talker privacy and intimacy at the same time. Attune yourself to the person talking to you by noticing the degree of eye contact they are making with you and match them. For instance, if the person seems self-conscious and looks down or away a lot, drop your gaze as well from time to time. This way she will feel accepted rather than scrutinized. If she is animated and leaning towards you, lean towards her. Pick up on her rhythm, her body language. Psychological research has found that people feel understood when we use the same gestures they use. This helps them to feel safe and relaxed.

5. Wait for an organic pause. Try not to interrupt — it’s an amazing gift to provide enough space for someone to let it all out. When there is a lull, and the person seems to have unburdened themselves, that will be the time to speak. When I was a student in Gestalt psychotherapy training, I would eagerly jump in while clients were still talking and a fellow student told me that I wasn’t waiting for the “organic pause”– that natural breath between spoken thoughts that opens the door to another voice chiming in. I came from a cultural background where we were used to interrupting each other’s interruptions, and it wasn’t unusual for five conversations to be going on at the same time. Even if this is acceptable socially, it doesn’t work when someone really needs a shoulder to cry on, or in a work situation, if a colleague needs to resolve professional issues.

6. Acknowledge and empathize. Good listening is not complete silence. When the time comes to speak, briefly reiterate to the person what you heard them say. For example, “It sounds like you’re really upset with your boyfriend for having lunch with his ex. If I were you I’d feel the same way.” or “I know you really wanted that promotion and I don’t blame you for feeling it was unfair that the new guy got it.” By reflecting back to the person what they said in their own words, you are acknowledging you heard them accurately. And by saying you might feel the same way, you are putting your foot in their shoe and empathizing with them. The emotional tone of what you say should be responsive rather than reactive. In other words, while you’re listening take note of what’s coming up for you and put it on a back shelf. Sort out what is useful for the person who is confiding in you and, for now, keep your own emotions and opinions to yourself.

7. Don’t give unasked for advice. Most of us have not been listened to in the way I’m describing, so we’re not used to listening to someone else this way. We may consider ourselves very nice people and have all kinds of good ideas for the person speaking to us about their problem. What we don’t realize is that offering solutions before a person has expressed their upset feelings doesn’t work. Do you want to be told what to do while you’re venting?

8. Make an offering. After acknowledging and empathizing, you have the option of offering something more. It can be something simple like, “How can I help?” or “Would you like some feedback from me?” Chances are your friend feels relieved and solutions are starting to form within her now that she’s cleared a space inside herself. Don’t be surprised if your good listening facilitates her having a revelation about herself or the situation. She may tell you that you’ve done more than enough already! If she does want feedback, this is your opportunity to share your experience and offer advice. Timing is everything — wait until you’re invited.

good listener ribbonWhat’s in it for you? Great listeners are receivers — they receive trust, they are in an honored position in that way. They help people sort out their thoughts and feelings. Listeners offer solace and consolation. They celebrate and appreciate good news or achievements. And in the process, listeners receive the gratification of being there for someone else. Listeners have cultivated patience to wait until another person has talked themselves out-and have discovered that people often find their own answers to their struggles.

So, listening develops faith in us that people have an inner intelligence and we don’t have to be mini-Gods and fix everyone’s problems by jumping in and talking too much or too soon. By developing great listening skills, we provide a mirror that reflects back to the person speaking what is inside of them, and that is powerfully rewarding for both of us.

 

Copyright © Amy Torres 2011