Brian Wilcox. 'Spring Snow'
A new follower asked the Sage, "Is it true we're to go within to hear the Voice of God?" Said the Sage, "Without too." "What? I've always heard God is within." "Yes, true, the within of the without too."
An English Quaker, Caroline Stephen (b. 1834), wrote, in Quaker Strongholds, the Divine "never leaves himself without a witness in the heart as well as the surroundings of man..."
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A devoutly religious man came disconcerted to the Sage. He said his God had not spoken to him in a long time. He inquired...
"When does God speak to you?"
"When is God not speaking to me?"
"So, is God always speaking to you?"
"No, only when I'm listening."
This writing sets forth that, from a spiritual sense, speaking and listening are one act, as are all matters spiritually. Listening, in this spiritual sense, is a unity with the Word.
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But as I practice the art of listening to God, I am discovering that he is surprisingly talkative even in the silence. Prayers are not going unanswered as much as he is responding in unexpected ways. Listening to God's voice requires more than just my ears; it requires my eyes, my mind, my spirit, my entire being to recognize the God-nudges in life.
*Margaret Feinberg. the organic God.
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When having dogs, I learned listening is key to the relationship. Learning to listen is integral also to the training. They train me, and I train them. Thus, this listening means more than their learning to listen to me; I have to learn to listen to them. And listening is not merely an auditory matter. The how of our listening works together, the same goes for communication one to the other. We learn how to decode the transmissions. So, I am attentive to how I communicate with my whole body and how they do the same. Even a slight change in voice volume or tone can be significant, for example.
Beyond this, I seek to communicate with them as equals: this while maintaining the alpha status. I have to see them as beings with me, not merely dog-beings inferior to me.
The essential thing in this sharing is emotional-spiritual intimacy with the dogs. I mean by this that my heart must remain open and welcoming to the dogs. Animals, like humans, can feel when someone relates with them open-heartedly. Open-heartedness invites open-heartedness. So, the training process, as does the whole relationship, goes far beyond technique and touches upon the matter of spirit.
How I relate with dogs applies to our relationship with Life. If we wish to communicate well with other humans, does it not seem clear that this desire to connect through communication, including listening, arises from the nature of Life Itself? Our desire to hear and be heard would mean something fundamental: we need to learn to listen to Life.