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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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God is Talking -- Are You Listening? Part 1:
By W. Bradford Swift 

As a personal coach for over a decade, I've come to realize that one of the ways I can add value to my clients' lives is by helping them to identify the blocks or obstacles that often prevent them from receiving the gift of wisdom that God is constantly offering us.

While it's true that tapping into our inner wisdom is a powerful means of bringing clarity to our lives, there's another resource many people fail to fully tap into, in
large part because we have constructed mental roadblocks that prevent us from clearly hearing the wisdom from other people.

Actually, our inner guidance system plays an important role here as well. When we remove the mental roadblocks, we then have a much clearer channel to receive the contribution being offered by others. We can then feel for what resonates with our inner wisdom, keeping what fits and releasing the rest. But first we must eliminate the blocks that tend to prevent or distort the flow of wisdom.

I invite you to explore with me some of the common mental roadblocks that I've found can prevent us from getting the most from others. God talks to us in many ways, including using the voice of others, but are we listening? Let's look at some of the mental blocks that may be preventing clear reception.

Monkey Mind

The mind creates 50,000 thoughts a day! The trick is not to become attached to any of them. These thoughts are simply the byproduct of the brain's metabolism, nothing to take too seriously.

The term "monkey mind" is a poetic way of describing your mind's constant chatter. The monkey mind refers to the little voice in your mind that comments on nearly everything you do or experience. It is that stream of consciousness that keeps flitting from one thing to another like a monkey jumping from branch to branch. Even when you are concentrating your mind drifts off to fantasies about something you are going to do next weekend or an unresolved problem you must face tomorrow.

This chattering voice not only distracts you in most situations, it also uses valuable brain power. In today's times with modern technology such as the television, radio,
and the Internet, this chatter is reinforced as we're constantly bombarded by input. The monkey mind becomes even more of a block when we allow our actions to flow from the ramblings of the monkey mind. How many of us have been on a phone call with another, or perhaps in a teleclass, when suddenly the monkey mind thought is, "I wonder what emails I've received?" If we're not careful, before we know it, we're reading our email messages while supposedly listening to the phone call.

When our mind is chattering away it can make it nearly impossible to fully hear what another person is saying, especially the sometimes subtle messages coming from God. What to do? Well, for starters, just recognizing that we all have a monkey mind can help. By bringing it into our awareness, we can begin to tame the wild monkey. For instance, as soon as you notice you're listening to your monkey mind rather than the person you're talking with, you can stop and bring yourself back to the conversation. You may even want to ask the person to back up and repeat what they were saying before the monkey mind took over.

Taking time once or twice a day to quiet the mind can also prove very helpful in the long run. Meditation, reflection or prayer can quiet the restless nature of your mind. Also, periodically dumping all the thoughts you've been trying to hold onto can be very freeing from the monkey mind. Most of us try to hold way too much in our memories. As productivity guru David Allen, points out in his book "Getting Things
Done" our ability to be productive (which includes hearing the voice of God coming from others), is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve a new level of stress-free productivity. So, try dumping out all those thoughts onto a pad of paper. Write down all the appointments you've been trying to remember, the projects and next actions you need to take, etc. Watch the monkey mind as it relaxes, then listen. God has a message for you.

W. Bradford Swift is director of Life On Purpose Institute -- an organization dedicated to people clarifying their life purpose and living true to it -- where he is a coach, writer and trainer for other coaches. Hundreds of his articles have appeared in such diverse publications as Modern Maturity, Hope, New Age Journal, Yoga Journal, and many others. He may be contacted by email: brad@lifeonpurpose.com; by phone: 1-800-668-0183; or visit the Life On Purpose Institute website: http://www.lifeonpurpose.com

© 2001 W. Bradford Swift

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