Wednesday, February 4, 2009

7 ways to Listen to the Spirit

Why is it that I just don't take time to listen more often? I find I get some of my greatest inspirations and powerful thoughts when I am actively seeking quiet time and focusing on listening. Seems like an easy task, but in my busy life I don't do it often enough. I would say listening is right there with my daily habits of prayer and scripture study in influencing my spiritual growth throughout the day.

From my experience, here are 10 ways to make time to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit.

1) Learn to breathe
I'll admit, over the years I thought breathing techniques were cheesy. However, recently I learned a simple technique which quiets my mind and body almost immediately. Called "Square Breathing" it is simply breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4, breathing out for a count of 4, and holding for a count of 4. Repeat a few times until you feel your mind slow down. This practice has helped me to find quiet time in almost any situation. Try it sometime, then just take the time to listen.

2) Pause after prayer
We here this one so often it is almost a cliche, but there is a reason it comes up over and works. I've found if I take time to focus on breathing immediately after finishing my prayer, I feel quiet and peaceful. Even just a few minutes on my knees after prayer can be a powerful experience.

3) Use your commute
A few years ago I decided to try to put the time in my car to good use. I've had success on and off over the years, but I've found that turning the radio off and just listening as I drive can be an excellent way to hear the spirit.

4) In the shower
Another cliche possibly, but some of my most powerful insights have come in the shower. It is a quiet and relaxing place, take advantage of the soothing power in the water and calmly listen.

5) Write things down
Often the spirit will give me a simple, strong impression. I will know immediately it is something I should pay attention too. Then I get on with my life and forget. Take the time to listen, then take the time to write your thoughts down. Looking back on some of my notes, I'm amazed at the wisdom the spirit has whispered to me.

6) Focus your listening
Rather than just finding quiet time, make an effort to ask a question and then listen for answers. I've found if I focus my mind on something specific, and ask my Heavenly Father a question, it helps my mind turn to the the spirit. I can receive instruction directed to my need.

7) Make listening a priority
No matter where or how, if we don't make the time to listen, we won't listen. Make it a priority in your life. Make a specific plan to spend time just listening to what the Lord would like to say. It can be a powerful influence in life.

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