Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual’

Your Still Small Voice Within

FocusThat still small voice, the spirits, inner vision, gut feeling, sixth sense, or a hunch in my gut told me to do it.  Regardless of how we refer to this phenomena, it can aid our lives in so many ways.  Nurturing this gift can be very beneficial.

Over the years, I’ve learned that sometimes these feelings or voices can take on different meanings.  Allow me to explain.  Sometimes directions can be quite clear to do this or that and circumstances, people, or nature may confirm the feelings within to be true.  These directions may affirm that we did the right thing.  Often, that feeling, usually emanating from our solar plexus, simply confirms what we did was “right”.  Then there are instances when these feelings may be just tests to see if we are listening to the inner guidance as we should.  At times, we may not even know if we averted a negative experience or mortal danger, to which I would say, does it really matter?      

A July 2014 article in the Stanford Report referenced research conducted by a Stanford anthropologist, Tanya Luhrmann, citing some interesting results of a study.  This report explained that “voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful.”  The study addressed people who suffer from schizophrenia in the United States, India, and Africa.  The article elaborates that most Americans associate hearing voices as a negative experience or even considered as a symptom of some form of psychosis. Conversely, those from Africa and India experience hearing the voices of their relatives or others actually stimulate positive compassionate enlightenment.

I have experienced similar positive events over the years.  I’ve also noticed when I am most focused on the day to day events, the “voices” are virtually silent.  Monkey MindSome Asian views would suggest that focusing on truly less important day to day events would be listening to the Monkey Mind. When Monkey Mind is silenced, the inner voices, wisdom, even intuition, flow. I would add here that, in my own experience, the voices I hear, never suggest or imply anything that would potentially harm myself or others. I believe the same to be true for others as well.  In fact, they usually encourage, teach, and uplift me. They also keep my inner child in line! 

Speaking of my inner child, I recall an experience that illustrates listening to the still small voice within.  I had simply planned to go see a movie.  No big deal, I don’t go to the theatre as much as I used to, but one had come out that caught my interest.  I was all set to head out when I couldn’t find my keys.  After several minutes of searching, I gave myself a goal. If didn’t find them in a certain amount of time, I would just give up on the plan.  Five minutes before that set time, there they were!  I found them! But then, the gut feeling, the solar plexus squeeze came into play indicating I shouldn’t go.  That’s when the internal dialogue commenced, “Well, I don’t need to go.” Almost immediately came the childlike side’s reply, “But you found them with five minutes left to spare!”  I thought for a second.  “Well, that is true.  I did find them within the prescribed time frame.”  So, off I went to the movies!  “Yay!”  Then the opposing voiced its opposition, a voice I established a relationship with years ago, very specifically stated, “You don’t need to and should not go.”  “Oh boy, I haven’t heard that voice with the associated sense of guidance in a while.”  The dialogue continued for the next several minutes as I continued on toward the theatre.  The uneasy turmoil also continued to roll in my solar plexus during the debate.

Finally, the guiding voice won.  My solar plexus relaxed immediately.  I ran an errand instead while I was out.  On the way back, curiosity kicked in and I wondered if I had done the right thing. 

Red Tailed Hawk in flightA red-tailed hawk flew in front of my car which, for me, was a clear indicator that I had made the right choice.  What’s a red-tailed hawk got to do with this story you ask?  I developed a close spiritual relationship with red-tailed hawks many years before.  I learned through this relationship when circumstances demanded my attention, hawks would come across my path.  When they did, their presence either indicated I needed to pay attention or I had made a proper choice in a given set of choices.  How would I know?  Timing was the indicator for me.  When I made the proper decision, they would present themselves within moments of my query, such was the case this day.  Was a personal disaster avoided?  Did I avoid an accident by listening to the still small voice?  Or, was it just a test of spirit?  For that matter, does it really matter?  No, if I need to know, I’ll find out and that’s okay.

It’s important to listen to the facts, weigh the evidence, and make decisions based sound reasoning and logic. But, sometimes you just need to listen to the voice within.  Go with your “gut” feeling.  The gut decision may or may not involve hearing voices, seeing hawks fly in front of your car, or having someone say just the right thing at just the right time.  Being mindful, is just that, to be filled with awareness, not allowing everyday physical events (The monkey mind) to overshadow the unseen or “unheard” voices of the soul that can prompt and guide our spirits on toward a life in balance.  

Silent Walking

 

 

It all comes down to this, walk aware.  Walk in such a way that you are aware of not only the elements present in your physical surroundings, but also the non-physical world around you.  So, walk aware, feel your gut, reconnect with your inner self, and listen, listen to your still small voice within.

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Tales for the Journey – The Calling Crows

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Photo 1 By Roger Bunting

The American Crow may be found throughout North America.  They can be found cawing their hearts out from California to the Carolinas and Maine to Florida year round while it’s not unusual to find them in most of Canada during the summer.  These very intelligent birds are common sights perched in both bare and foliage filled treetops, gathered in fields, and wandering roadsides.  They can outwit most birds, animals, and even many of us humans.  It adapts to its environment.  They aren’t particular at all about their habitats ranging from empty beach-sides and open woods to the center of towns and local neighborhoods.  They’ll consume most anything as ground feeders especially earthworms, small animals, insects, seeds, fruit, plus garbage, carrion, and even some chicks they rob from other nesting birds.

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Photo 2 By Hornet Photography

In the winter months of Maine, there aren’t many species of birds that tough out the winters.  Crows, among a few others, do.  As I walk a nearby nature trail, I see and hear them as they make their daily rounds wether perched, wandering, or on the wing in their methodical flapping with very little gliding.  They always seem to be up to something.  Their activities don’t appear haphazard, but rather calculated or coordinated  with a planned creative purpose.

Though the typical “caw” identifies that bird as a crow, I’ve noticed slight differences between the cawing voices of northern versus southern crows.  One seems quite magical while the other seems static.  One is multidimensional… the other myopic, but it’s still a familiar “caw” that catches your ear.  They actually do have a language that sounds… magical.

It’s a privilege to hear all our winged friends talking to each other as the day begins.  The deep blackness of the crow ushers in the brightness of the new day almost like its caws give birth to the new day.  Native American elders have shared that the conversations of birds are very complex.  Crows (along with many other birds) greet the new day and tell the other “winged ones” and forest inhabitants the news throughout the day.  To the animal kingdom, they’re the original morning news team without the necessity of television, radio, or print.  Their watchfulness tells every creature about their discoveries, current events, where some of the other inhabitants, including predators, may be, locations for the best food for the day, or simply telling everyone, “Wake up. Wake up it’s time to greet the beauty of the new day”.

Watching crows will show them as very organized.  They post sentinels to keep a watchful eye over the area.  Nesting high in the treetops is common for a good view over where they feed and live.  They communicate with each other to work together.  Like many animals, crows have been known to predict tornadoes, rain, and other weather patterns by the way they fly.  They help all those around them in addition to those closest to them.  They really are quite magical in deed.

Cultures throughout the world teach that people should look at the natural life around them because it will help teach life lessons in order to live better lives.  The longer we listen and the more time we devote to listen and observe, the more often truths are recognized and their language can be understood by us, who are also part of that same creation.

Crow2

Photo 3 By Donald Portlandia

What can be learned from crow?  Though a great deal may be learned from the stories and legends of crow’s wonder, uniqueness, and even magic from Greek and Roman mythology to the ancestral words of the Native Americans, there are few basic truths that may help us in our daily lives for today.  Crows have been associated with creation and solitude in various cultures of the world.  Typically they not only symbolize creation, but spiritual strength as well.  Illustrating these various qualities they encourage us, “caw” to us, to maintain that same creative awareness and spirit that embraces our being, never losing sight of the magic that surrounds our life while maintaining our spiritual strength gained through our solitude.  Think on these qualities the next time you see or hear a crow “caw”.