Are you there, God? It’s me, Christina
I feel compelled to begin this post with a disclaimer: this is a meaty, murky subject of which I have limited experience and knowledge. I’m not a theologian, a philosopher, a clergy member, a spiritual leader, or a devout yogi. I’ve never checked myself into a monastery, a nunnery, or an ashram to sit in silence and experience nirvana for days on end. The closest I’ve come is spending a (noisy) week at Bible camp in Three Lakes, Wisconsin, as a kid and then a (less noisy) week at a Six Senses spa in Thailand as an adult. The only nirvana I’ve experienced is the one that smells like teen spirit. I’ve always subscribed to the Christian faith, but I’m your typical lay person: highly flawed with a faith that has waxed and waned over the years. So now you can decide whether or not to continue reading…
Despite my lack of credentials and spiritual shortcomings, I am a truth-seeker, a contemplator, a self-improvement junkie, and, most importantly, a believer. Stripped of my ego’s domination, I’m a sensitive soul who wants to be a channel of God’s peace and love in this world. I yearn to know more about God and feel His* presence in my life. I strive to be more God-conscious even though I’ve struggled to grasp what it actually means and how to achieve greater consciousness. My desire to be more God-conscious often feels like an unattainable goal, like trying to run like a Kenyan when my body is built like a Swedish farm girl. And yet, and yet, and yet…. I hear God whispering that it’s within my reach if I can learn to drown out the noise of our Earthy world and tune into His universal vibrations…the whole notion of “being in this world, but not of this world,” if you know what I mean.
Does hearing His whispers mean that I’m already God-conscious? I think so. From my limited “earthly” understanding, God resides within us and we can access His presence anytime. Each of us possesses the power to achieve God-consciousness, also known as a higher consciousness or transcendentalism. This is a core belief of most faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’i, etc. Just like the lesson Dorothy learned in “The Wizard of Oz” when Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy that she had the power all along and only needed to learn it for herself. Close eyes, click heels, return home… Sounds simple, doesn’t it? So, why does it feel so frickin’ difficult??? I can point to experiences where I’ve felted His strong presence, such as the moment my mom entered eternal life, during a few deeply blissful meditations, and while worshiping to music. I’ve also witnessed His miracles, and how He has answered prayers in the most unbelievable, inexplicable, mind-blowing ways. These experiences have stirred my soul enough to CRAVE His presence just like I crave Trader Joe’s mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups… MORE PLEASE!! Whenever I feel that God-consciousness eludes me, I consider all of the “evidence” of His presence, and remind myself of the ways I can satiate my craving through prayer, meditation, writing, and music. So, I know it’s possible… yes, it’s possible.
But let’s face it… I don’t live in a constant state of serene meditation and prayer. In fact, my daily life is quite the opposite of serene: it’s chaotic, often unpredictable, and quite MESSY. I usually wake up at the crack of dawn, after a night of tossing and turning, with a tiny human attached to my back or belly. My sweet little Toots wakes up between 6-7 a.m. with a list of three year old demands: “Mommy, I need to go potty! Mommy, I want juicey please. Mommy, watch Dora. Mommy, I want clothes NOW. Mommy, I want (fill in the blank).” I stumble out of bed, completely sleep-deprived, with God-consciousness as the FURTHEST thing from my mind. I move around on auto-pilot, with my talkative ego dominating my mental chatter. I’m aware that my thoughts are often small—I mean, embarrassingly petty and trivial—and my early morning emotional state is best described as “fragile.” My day continues at warp speed while I juggle my son’s needs with household chores, meal preparation, errands, exercise, and my part-time coaching business. Listening to contemporary worship music while driving 65 mph down the highway and sipping herbal tea is about as close to enlightenment as I get. In a blink of the eye, it’s time to give Toots a bath, read him a few stories, and put him to bed. At the moment, bedtime involves lots of crying and protesting, followed by lying on the floor next to his bed until he falls asleep, and then eventually letting him sleep in our bed when he wakes up screaming. My time to meditate and pray is reduced to a few minutes as I’m falling asleep and groggily giving thanks for our day, the miracle of Toots’ life, and His many blessings. Then wake up, and repeat!
No surprise that I don’t feel particularly God-conscious…
So, how do I become more God-conscious while still going about with daily life? I wouldn’t be much of a wife, mother, friend, or professional if I spend my days sitting in a meditative silence. God certainly hasn’t called me to monkhood! The only answer is this: to slow down enough to listen to those whispers I hear and honor them… to slow down enough to notice all of the ways He speaks to us through nature, the people around us, and experiences…to slow down enough to savor the present moment without agonizing over the past or worrying about the future. In my last post, LEAP! with your Heart, I referred to this inner voice as my heart, but others may call it their instinct, intuition, or gut feeling. Regardless of the label we choose to describe this inner wisdom, this is God’s voice speaking to us. He’s not the voice of shame, fear, anger, disappointment, or worry—gals, that’s your ego talking. He’s (or She’s) the gentle voice inside us that encourages and empowers us, that loves us just as we are today, fabulously flawed. When we let His voice flow freely, we experience His divine grace: a love like no other, a peace everlasting.
What I’ve come to understand as I’ve crafted this piece is that tuning into your inner wisdom IS God-consciousness. We needn’t look outside ourselves to find it—it’s a gift, always accessible without any strings attached. God wants us to be the uniquely beautiful, talented women that He created us to be. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect and is quick to forgive our shortcomings. He calls us to slow down enough to listen to our hearts and trust this voice to guide us in every aspect of our lives. He challenges us to stand in faith…to trust and be patient… to believe…to be grateful…and to dream big.
*Note: I’ve used a male pronoun for God, but I actually don’t believe God is a “she” or “he.” Some writers use “it,” but that didn’t feel right either. God is God!
(Keep scrolling down for Discussion Questions/Writing Prompts)
Discussion Questions/Writing Prompts:
What does God-consciousness or Higher Consciousness mean to you? How do you connect with God or your Higher Power? Think about some examples of when you’ve experienced God-consciousness, enlightenment, or however you wish to describe that awesomely peaceful feeling.
What daily challenges do you face in connecting with God or your Higher Power? What tips can you share with me and other women for listening to God’s voice (aka your heart, your inner wisdom, your intuition)?
As you become more God-conscious, tuning into that voice, what are you being called to do? What’s one action you’d like to take towards that calling?
For my fellow Christians, when I’m in need of shot of God-consciousness, this is one of my favorite You Tube videos to watch of Kim Walker-Smith singing “Holy Spirit You are Welcome Here.” And when I’m feeling like I’ve totally lost the connection, well then it’s time to watch Worship Mob’s cover of “Say Something I’m Giving Up on You.”