I’m a big believer that God is hearable, not seeable. I can loosely rationalize this notion by referring to John 1:1 (even though that translation is blurry — but whatever, it works for me).
In the form of centering prayer I study and practice, it’s all about listening for God. The question is — out of all the voices in my head, which one is God’s?!
Is it the really hangry one that just wants Chipotle and won’t let me get anything done until guacamole gets in my stomach? Is it the one that judges others and how different they are to me (yes, that one is up there too)? Is it the voice of my late father (that one won’t go away, damn it)?
Which voice is it? Is any given voice from my ego or from spirit?
I’ve recently heard it put a certain way, which I quite like (and I paraphrase, from Fr. Richard Rohr)…
God’s voice is a deeper voice than your own that will never shame or frighten you, but rather strengthen you, even when it’s challenging you.
[I don’t read ‘deeper’ as ‘more masculine’ but rather ‘coming from a deeper place within’ than our day-to-day human voice.]
God’s voice isn’t always nice and comforting. It often pushes us into uncomfortable territory. It challenges us to run contrary to our human survival-based egos, but it never shames, bemoans, or ‘frightens’ us on a core level (though the direction it calls us can seem terrifying, the intent is never to frighten).
God doesn’t seem to speak English (very stubborn, I know). I may translate God that way, but the voice (if we can even call it that) originates as something deeper and more primal. God’s voice seems to come as a heard magnetic pull rather than literal words that can be logically parsed and understood through language comprehension.
Listening to the ‘right’ voice is easier at certain times than others. It’s a lifelong practice and one we may never get totally right. But if we remain open and work on heightening our receptivity, we get more glimpses.
Okay, time to go grab some Chipotle, stat…