Humans are loud. I don’t mean loud as in making loud noises for others to be annoyed by. I mean loud as in we constantly have things going on in our head. For better or worse we are always thinking, contemplating, making decisions and plans, judging things, and on and on.
The amount of technology that we have at our disposal doesn’t help. In a lot of cases, it makes things worse. In a recent talk the Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh compared technology to a horse. In his analogy he said we are currently riding that horse. But when someone walks up and asks the rider “Where are you going?” The rider looks at the person and replies “I don’t know, ask the horse”.
That mass amount of information that is moving through your brain faster than you can discern is the type of thing that stops us from hearing our Gods speak. That stream is easy to get used to and hard to let go of without a good amount of mental exercise. Meditation and Mindfulness practices are great places to start in order to get yourself ready to truly listen to what messages the Gods may have for you.
In meditation, you might just focus on one word or phrase, also called a mantra. Yes, your mind is going to wander; everyone has that issue. The trick is not that you want to control what is going through your head, but to accept that it is there, and then let it go. You shouldn’t get mad then, when your mind wanders. Instead, you just refocus your attention on the mantra and keep moving forward. Trying to control the thoughts and information flowing when your mind wanders is only going to make you frustrated (and if you are like me, upset!)
At first, you might not be able to do any mediation for longer than 2 or 3 minutes, but with time and practice, you can train your mind to focus for as long as you feel you need. I try for 15 minutes at least each day, sometimes I do more than one session if I am really feeling stressed out.
Mindfulness practices are a little different than meditation. In mindfulness, instead of a mantra, you are trying to be focused on the present moment; what you are doing at that specific time. It may be you focus all of your attention on making dinner, or typing out a blog post (try handwriting it!). Another idea is to just pay full attention when you eat with no other distractions. I’m not going to lie, these practices are tough, especially when the task at hand could be considered boring and not able to be done quickly with the aid of technology. But this is great practice for spell and ritual work. Mindfulness practice will help you develop mental muscle that you never thought possible.
So once you have developed a mindfulness or meditation practice, will divinity immediately say you are ready to listen and start talking? Probably not. This isn’t the type of thing where you can carry on a full blown conversation immediately after you have developed the mental muscle to understand when divinity speaks. But now is where the hard work starts.
The next steps are going to depend on you, your opinions, your morals and your beliefs. It is also going to significantly depend on your self-worth. Do you feel worthy enough to have Gods speak to you? Do you look on yourself as a horrible person, or someone who is worthy of love and wishes to do what is best for the people around you and for your Gods?
Once you feel you are ready, you might start hearing something, and the next thing that is going to happen is you are going to immediately question it:
Was that it?
Did they really say that?
Am I imagining things?
Then come the challenges to the statements you hear:
How do I know that is truth?
That doesn’t match (insert lore, opinion or historical fact here)
These are sticky questions. And a lot of the answers are going to depend on you, your opinions, your morals and your beliefs. It’s also going to depend a significant amount on your own opinions of your self-worth. Much like we interpret things we see based on our own perception of how the world is, we will do the same with messages from the Gods. If we look on ourselves as horrible people, the message will sound horrible. If we look on ourselves as someone who is worthy of love and wishes to do good for others, then the messages may sound much more comforting, and in my opinion, be more genuine.
For me, the sound is as much of a feeling as it is words. When the Gods speak to me, it feels like it is happening in every cell in my head all at the same time. It feels like it is shouting, but yet it doesn’t hurt my ears nor my head.
Developing the silence necessary to hear the Gods is never easy. But it is possible. But you will only get out of it what you put into it. Just realize that if you decide that you want to learn to be silent in order to hear the Gods, above all, you MUST be willing to change, because that is what they are going to ask of you.