Can any two people have the same perception of God? Can anybody perceive the whole of God? God
comes to us in all shapes and forms and means. But, do we notice?
How do we hear God speaking to us?
What is in our minds when we pray?
How can we stay focussed on God?
Our minds are full and cluttered. When we are born, our minds are free and empty. The bible says that
babies are pure in the eyes of God. As the years pass, we fill our mind with experiences, worries,
memories and hopes, we focus on all sorts of pains in our lives, we suffer discomforts often unnecessarily.
All of these things distract us from being able to hear God. The more we are listening to ourselves and our
own minds, the more difficult it is for us to hear God.
Think about your prayer:
When you pray, do you strive to think of the right words?
Do you try hard to imagine the right things to pray about?
Do you tell yourself to do something to make a difference?
Do you sometimes start thinking about something else?
There is nothing wrong with trying hard to pray with words, but where in any of this are we listening to
God? If it is so difficult to stay focussed for the short few moment of prayer that we undertake on a Sunday
morning, then how much more difficult is it to hear God and know God throughout the whole day, every
day. Surely, this is the ideal. And, yes it is idealistic, but as with most idealisms it is worth striving towards.
How do we go about this?
There are a number of paths, and we each have our own, but the formula is the same. Before we can truly
know God and hear God, we must eliminate the clutter from our minds. We do this by eliminating
distraction. We do this by training our bodies and minds to develop and recognise an inner peace. To be
at peace with ourselves, we must also love and take care of ourselves. The bible says that our bodies are
temple for the spirit and that we must take care of that temple so it is fitting for the spirit.
How does one take care of one’s temple?
There are two key elements to this. The first is through lifestyle and behaviour. If we cultivate a sense of
peace within ourselves then our minds will also find peace more easily. Consider the aspects of lifestyle:
exercise, food (and other consumption), social networks, stimulus (excitement, fun, etc.), entertainment,
environment, sleep. These can all be adjusted in some way to help us feel better in body, mind and spirit. A
change in these areas can help fulfil the ten commandments in ways that are very accessible and practical.
For example, “Thou shalt not steal” can be practised when we reconsider the resources that we consume
in our day to day activities.
The second element in taking care of one’s temple is to build a pattern for peace that your body, mind and
spirit recognise with minimum effort. Just as we breathe all the time without thinking about it, we also have
the ability to maintain a deep inner peace with little effort. It just takes practice.
Practising for Peace
One practice is to associate body, mind and spirit with peace. By creating physical and mental forms and
associating them with a sense of peace, one can soon learn to switch on that inner peace by just recreating
the form in the body or in the mind. We already do this to some extent in our prayers by closing our eyes,
by holding our hands in a familiar pose and by kneeling. In contrast, try clenching your fists as tight as you
can and you cannot find a mental or spiritual peace. We also do this with familiar sayings and words such
as “Amen”. We find these things special because there is a hidden power in the physical forms and in the
Over the next few weeks we will be looking for a few minutes each Sunday at ways that we can enhance
our inner peace and, each in our own way, hear from the God that is in us and all around us.
1) Breathing: What is the relationship between breath and peace? Can one control the other?
2) Worries: how can we eliminate worries? Are we struggling against an unnecessary ideal? Do we
overly judge ourselves?
3) Lifestyle choices: Making guilt-free decisions. Be good to yourself. Taking care of yourself.
4) Meditation: What is it really? How is meditation good for us? Who meditates?
5) Body at Rest: balance, comfort, no physical needs, shapes that encourage peace.
6) Time: finding time, making time, living in the now, time of the day.
7) Place: a sacred place, a familiar place, making your own place.
8) Senses: familiar smells, sounds, temperature.
9) Sounds: The power of sound on the mind and body. Silent reading can make you
hoarse!Associating sounds and vibrations with peace to create sound memories. The feelings that
you get when you hear a song from your childhood. The power of “Amen”. Silent sounds.
10) Hearing from God: How does meditation help? What to expect. Where to go from here.
by Matthew Dixon, yoga teacher and Christian