Ever wondered what the voice of God sounds like? Do you imagine it would be like someone whispering in your ear? A voice you’d hear inside your head? Or are you waiting for a great booming voice from the heavens – like in the movies?
If you’re stilling wondering, you probably haven’t heard it, yet. Or perhaps you have, but didn’t recognise it for what it was.
One of the problems with expectations is they create illusions – things we imagine will confirm our expectations. When you expect God to speak in a particular way, you’re on the lookout for that voice. Anything else you might hear doesn’t make the grade by your chosen standard.
Trouble is, though, God’s voice has many forms, including the full range of sounds you can imagine, and forms with no sound, for example, when God speaks on the breeze or through feelings that stir the heart.
But, there is a challenge to hearing the voice of God in all its forms: noise. And, that noise is both internal and external.
Our world is full of noise, especially the noise of the marketplace, where everyone is clamouring for our attention. It takes a lot of effort to hear your own voice, let alone the voice of God, when you’re constantly bombarded with distractions.
The noise of the marketplace is external. You can shut it out by turning off your devices and disengaging from media and conversation. You can retreat into your sanctuary, that place where you go to get away from it all. You can even go on a formal retreat and withdraw from family, friends, and obligations for a period of quiet reflection.
But, even in those periods and places of quiet, there is still noise: the internal noise inside your head. That voice that never seems to shut off. You know the one. Your inner voice.
The secret to hearing the voice of God is learning to silence your inner voice. That’s what’s really meant by going into the great silence of prayer or meditation.
The funny thing is, once you find that great silence, you can go there no matter where you are, even if you’re standing in the marketplace surrounded by noise.
Peter Mulraney is the author of Mystical Journey: A Handbook for Modern Mystics.
Featured Image: Justin Posey | Death To Stock