Five Steps to Cultivating Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit

handCultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit is the simplest, most natural thing in the world. It is the most satisfying relationship you will ever have, and it will result in all your human relationships improving immensely. Though it may seem elusive, this relationship is right here, right now. The key to making contact with the Holy Spirit is letting go of the ego self, or what the Course calls, “undoing,” “unlearning” and “forgiveness.”

Here are five steps to cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit that always work–even if you don’t discern results for a while.

1. Be willing. Another way of saying this is, “Step back and let the Holy Spirit lead the way.” Willingness is pretty easy, because even if you are not willing, you can be willing to be willing. That’s good enough. Just to be sure you really mean it, say aloud, “Holy Spirit, I am willing to be in relationship with You. Help me develop our relationship.” Breathe. Fully exhale … then allow a sweet inhale to come.  Then say it again–as many times as feels right.

Feel encouraged, because A Course in Miracles promises that you cannot fail. “Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see.” (T-21.II.)

Think of “willingness” as connecting your will with God’s Will–like plugging into a Power Source, just as you do with electrical appliances and your cell phone. Willingness grows naturally after that, because once you’re connected to God’s Will, you are connected to an unstoppable Loving Force. A tiny, sincere willingness begins the process of cultivating your relationship with the Holy Spirit.

antennae drawing2. Tune In. Once you’ve stated your willingness to yourself and the Holy Spirit, consciously choose to tune in. Just as you would adjust the dial on a radio to get clear reception, do the same in your own mind. Focus your attention on the memory of God within you–it is there. The Course calls this memory the Holy Spirit. Draw your attention to something within you that Knows. This can happen quickly–in a holy instant. Trust that your intention is enough to help you tune in, even if it feels like nothing happened.

Lesson 124 tells us, “Your benefit will not be less if you believe that nothing happens.  You may not be ready to accept the gain today.  Yet sometime, somewhere, it will come to you, nor will you fail to recognize it when it dawns with certainty upon your mind.”  In the Preface, Jesus tells us that “return to God [is] not only possible, but inevitable,” and in Chapter 4, “God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him anymore than He can avoid you.”  And there are many more assurances of this kind throughout A Course in Miracles.

3. Establish Connection. Now that you’ve tuned in, it’s time to establish a lasting connection with your Internal Teacher, as Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, referred to the Holy Spirit. How? Notice what comes to you … what ideas enter your mind? Ideas will probably not be logical, linear thoughts. For me, establishing connection has a lot to do with body language.

AmyonrugThroughout the day, I often find that lengthening up my spine creates space between my vertebrae, which invites my head to align over my shoulders (rather than poking forward) and results in the crown of my head tingling. This tingling is a receptive feeling which naturally leads to connection with the Holy Spirit. Tingling is my kinesthetic equivalent to what other people call, “seeing energy or auras.” I feel energy.

ACIM doesn’t talk about energy, but it does speak of an “individualized curriculum” where each student has their own unique process of awakening. The process simply reminds us that there is more than meets the eye, and returns us to our “spiritual eye” so to speak. In Chapter 2 we’re told, “Spiritual vision can literally not see error, and merely looks for Atonement” (which is the undoing of error, the Holy Spirit’s Correction to the ego’s mistake). For me, feeling energy is clearly undoing my identification with the seeming solidity of flesh and blood as my identity.Rumi lisa dietrich

4. Open to Guidance. Now that your connection is established, open to Guidance. If “connection” could be visualized as holding hands with Spirit, then Guidance is receiving direction. Let your Internal Teacher lead you by the hand.

kids fall downAgain, for me, at times this has been physical. Doing the Sufi turn, like the whirling dervishes do, has unwound me many times. But if this seems too esoteric, remember as little kids most of us spun around recklessly until, giggling and dizzy, we collapsed on the ground. Don’t rule out anything as a spiritual practice. I’ve also often had the experience of speaking or writing something that was beyond me … the minute the words came out, it was clear they contained wisdom that was not little Amy’s.

And, of course, there are the wonderful synchronicities that occur in mundane circumstances. Just driving in the car, I’ve received many messages–songs on the car radio, license plates with telegraphic messages, road signs, and more. These often reinforce something I’ve suspected I need to do, but haven’t quite had the courage to follow through. It’s not taking the action that is important–it is being reminded that I have nothing to fear because the peace of God lives within me.

5. Stop & Listen. Even though God is an unstoppable force, we have to stop blocking Him before He can flow through us. In order for the Holy Spirit to lead the way, we need to stop. Stop “doing,” stop talking, stop directing, stop tensing, stop clenching and bunting and resisting–for just one moment. A moment is all it takes for Timelessness to replace time (in other words, to allow the holy instant to arise).

blurryMost people have trouble with this until they get the hang of it. It is a fear/control issue. One way to sidestep the fear is to gaze out into the distance and “trance.” This is also something we all did as children. Let your eyes de-focus. Allow the world to grow blurry and recede … there is Something Else in your mind … let it appear. Now listen. Open your mind and receive what is already yours. Receive the Love, Peace and Joy that is always within you. Just for a moment, release control by suspending all judgment. The ongoing Beingness which you already are will arise naturally.

Over and over again, the Course tells us to listen. “Listen today and you will hear a Voice which will resound throughout the world through you.” (Song of Prayer); “Listen and you will learn how to remember what you are.” (T-10.V.11:7); one of my favorites, “Be not afraid today to circumvent the voices of the world. Walk lightly past their meaningless persuasion. Hear them not. Be still today and listen to the truth.” (Lesson 106); and last, but not least, “If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen.”

This last quote leads us right back to #1: Be willing. Cultivating a relationship with your Holy Spirit is a circular, right-minded process that defies ego logic and can never fail. Give these five steps a try, and let me know how it goes for you.

You may enjoy these related videos:  The Holy Relationship and Your Relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Also, you may enjoy Reasons to Keep Faith Even If You Don’t Hear God.  If you would like coaching, click here