There was a time in my spiritual practice when I went into it desperate, dead scared, and with an agenda. I was in pain. I was in need. And it was the same pattern of pain and need, over and over again, or so it felt. I hated my work, and I was in financial straits.
Over the years, the form of my work as an attorney changed and the amount of income I earned changed (both up and down) but the angst stayed the same. The struggle remained the same: I hated my work, and I was in financial straits.
I wanted to know why I didn’t have the answer to this. Why did I keep going round and round? But mostly,
I wanted to know why God wouldn’t help me.
So, I would call out. I practice mantra, the repetition of sacred sounds as a form of prayer and meditation, and I would practice it with fervor. There was a forcefulness to it: anger, desperation. Looking back, I practiced mantra like I was begging. I was begging the Divine to hear me, to see me, to solve my problem.
I felt forgotten—by the entire Universe—and I wanted to be heard in my plea for help. I also wanted to be protected. I wanted to be protected from the hard and the uncomfortable. I didn’t want to feel shame or embarrassment. I did not want to do that which I did not want to do, even if it was what needed to be done, and I was afraid that was what would be asked of me. I wanted my pain removed the way I wanted my pain removed. I thought that I knew how a shift would happen, and I chanted tightly and feverishly to be helped in that.
I approached my mantra practice the same way I’d approached everything in my life: I pushed it forward (and gritted my teeth).
My form of surrendering my obsessive striving to achieve (in my own way, on my own terms) was to transfer that striving into my spiritual practice.
I asked my spiritual teacher, Swami Jaya Devi, how to pray to Laxsmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance, and she told me to love her, to offer myself in devotion and gratitude, and to listen.
I had been calling, Where are you? Why won’t you help me? What do I need to do?
But what I recognize now is that my mistake was not in the asking, it was not in the calling out. My mistake was in not listening.
There is a palapable energetic difference between pushing your prayers out into the Universe, and worshiping the Divine. There is also a great energetic difference between Asking, Asking, Asking and Listening.
Asking constantly, repeatedly, loudly, is a clanging, charged energy that moves outward. It feels like reaching for something outside of ourselves. Always forward looking. Never satisfied.
Worshiping feels like love, like honoring, like gratitude. In it, you receive as much as you’ve offered.
And Listening, listening is the key to the whole thing, the Entire Universe. It fills your well.
Most of the time, we are so busy asking, that there is no room for the answer to come in. It’s like a conversation with someone who won’t let you get a word in edgewise, or asking someone’s advice and then talking right over them.
We are all so afraid of not being heard.
My Guru told us, a group of about 200 students, You do not need to ask God so loudly. Whisper. Let your prayers be soft. Now listen.
And she took us, right then, into the silence.
It is in the silence that the answers come. It is in the fearlessness of getting quiet enough long enough to listen that things shift.
Because your wisdom is a whisper.
And when you hear that whisper, there is an opening that happens, a well of gratitude, a wish to hear more. There is curiosity. There is space. You can let something else in.
This is as true for working on your business as it is for life in general. When you ask for inner guidance on your business, can you listen?
I invite you to feel the energy of asking and the energy of listening. How do they play out in working on your business? Let me know how it goes.