Dear Reader, I hope your weekend was lovely with some space in it just for you. This week, I’d like to share a story with you written by a dear friend of mine. Nikotava is a spiritual teacher who, among other things, deftly facilitates Course in Miracles groups with gentleness and wisdom. He has a gift for applying stories of ancient teachers from all faiths to the present moment, which is really all we ever have.
I hope you enjoy “Elijah’s Whispers” and I’d love to hear your feedback…please share your thoughts here!
With love and light,
One of my favorite biblical stories is the tale of Elijah going up the mountain to hear God’s Voice. Elijah is running for his life, having enraged Queen Jezebel by killing her prophets. His life seems over — all seems lost.
After trekking a day into the desert, Elijah decides he’s had enough and asks God to take his life, curling up under a tree to sleep. But instead of taking his life, God sends an angel with food and drink. After eating, Elijah goes back to sleep, whereupon God again sends the ‘ministering angel’ to make another meal for him — his journey is not over and he will need sustenance to finish it.
Elijah sets out and walks for forty days until he comes to a holy mountain. When he arrives, the “Voice of the Lord” asks why he has come. Elijah replies that the Israelites are a sorry bunch of ingrates who rejected God, tore down His altars, and are now out to kill him. The Voice instructs him to “Go out and stand on the mountain … for the Lord is about to pass by.” As he waits, “a great and powerful wind” tears up the mountain and shatters rocks, but God isn’t in the wind. Next comes an earthquake, followed by a fire. And again Elijah realizes that God isn’t in either of these things.
After the fire comes a gentle whisper. When Elijah hears it, he recognizes the Presence of God. God asks Elijah the same question, to which he gives the same answer. This time, God gives Elijah a detailed ‘game plan’ of what to do next.
How beautifully this story describes the process of coming into contact with our intuition! I don’t believe forty days in the desert is necessary — it’s more a reflection on human nature: usually we don’t call out to God until we have reached the end of our proverbial rope. What is necessary is that we have a deep, focused intent to connect.
The beautiful thing about finally letting go of the rope we are clinging to is that we discover Grace. When we surrender, we open ourselves to divine sustenance and inspiration.
It is tempting to stop here — as soon as we start to “feel better,” do we still have the focus and will to enter even deeper into sacred space to find guidance?
If we do, we come to the next important ingredient in our recipe — clarity. Whereas before we just had to muster up the drive and desire to encounter the Divine and surrender to it, now we need to clarify our purpose – the clearer the question, the more relevant the answer.
Then comes perhaps the most important step of all — paying attention. Most often, the answer won’t come with stupendous special effects. Dramatic shows of power like this are the ego’s ‘modus operandi’— the voice of Spirit is much calmer, full of the peace that Eternity naturally breathes. It is important that we not mistake the subtle for the insignificant.
If we can be still long enough, there comes the magical moment when we hear the whispers of Spirit and find the answer we seek. The answer usually is something we didn’t expect and/or anticipate (a pretty good indication that it is not coming from ego), but it will have a feeling about it – a sense of relief, a feeling that we can breathe again, that we are OK.
After Elijah received his answer, he went forth to establish the next generation for the entire Jewish nation. The power of the intuitive answer can quite literally change the world.
The next time that you need an answer, try the Elijah technique: Intent, Surrender, Attention, and Stillness. You might find a truly revolutionary, transcendent perspective on/in your life.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”