The Holy Spirit has many channels. If one doesn’t work, she finds another. She is infinitely creative.
We always have a choice in this life whether to work with Her, to allow her in, or to toil on our own while staying lost and confused.
I don’t know that I believed in God, or could use that word without choking, for a long time.
But when my son was born and I felt pulled to provide some sort of spiritual foundation for him, I ended up at a Quaker meeting. And within weeks, something happened to me that changed my views on God forever.
That is, to say, I experienced God.
The way Quakers practice, the unprogrammed Quakers on the east coast, at least, is to sit in silence awaiting a visitation from the Holy Spirit. The Holy may come in the form of that silence, a deep connectedness among the group without words, or it may arise through a message from one or more of the members. The way a person knows if she has a message to share is that she often feels electrically charged in some way, that something in her body tells her she must speak.
We are all equal, you know. Which means any one of us can be a minister. And a minister is no more important than the worshiper who gives breath and life to the silence.
On this particular occasion, when I first became enlightened enough to believe in God, I sat quietly while a woman from the children’s group at a Quaker meeting read a story before worship started. When it was over, she offered us a question to ponder: “What does everything being right sound like?”
Well that’s a stupid question, I thought. But I contemplated it anyway, and in a little while, words began moving along the backs of my eyes. Soon a complete sentence formed. And when that occurred, a hot bolt of lightning shot up through my body and made my heart start to pound. I lost my breath, and shook as the pounding continued, and I gripped my then-husband’s knee.
I knew I was supposed to speak, but I didn’t want to. It was a big room with a lot of people I didn’t know, and speaking about the Spirit was an extremely vulnerable thing to do.
But the pounding and the shaking were not going away, so I knew I had to speak the sentence if I was going to get any relief.
I stood, and with my voice shaking, answered the woman’s question, What does everything being right sound like?
“A mother singing to her child,” I said. And then I sat back down.
Afterward, I was pretty freaked out. What was that that had happened to me? And was it going to happen again?
For a while, when I walked into Quaker meeting, I’d feel my heart start to pound in anticipation, worried and fearful of that Force taking hold. But over time I accepted it, and the powerfulness of the shaking and beating subsided to a manageable level. I stopped resisting it so much, you see. I slowly just decided to let it in, to listen to what it told me to do, to trust it.
This is the way that Spirit, or God, or Love, works in our lives. We can resist what it’s calling us to do, and therefore suffer, or we can give in and give over and let it be. And when we let it be, when we relax into it, we realize it’s not so scary after all. It actually knows the deepest parts of us, and wants us to be happy and free. It encourages us to walk toward the things that will enlighten us, that will release us from material and physical bondage. And the Spirit, or Love, will come to us in different ways, trying to get our attention.
A lot of times through people.
When you’re not expecting it.
All it takes to swim in this flow—which is so much better than having to swim upstream!—is your willingness, your curiosity. Maybe you have an openness in your heart to see what’s what about your life, because maybe things haven’t been going as well as you’d hoped. It takes a childlike experimentation, perhaps, to understand or to know. And the knowing you’re looking for is not a search term on the internet, and a bunch of books or articles that suggest information is going to lead to knowledge. (Oh, dear. Let’s save you from that!) This knowing, rather, is something in the depths of your miraculous body. It’s a knowing by sweet experience.
So, if you’re curious, allow yourself to open. Become the instrument on which the Divine plays her lovely music. You’ll be as delighted by the sounds as everyone else.
Categories: spirituality and faith