God in Stages
God in Stages*
By Echo Bodine
In my quest to better
understand god -- and prayer -- three friends and I formed a prayer group called
Master Mind. I'd heard about this kind of group at church. At our weekly
meetings, we'd each share what we wanted help or guidance with, and one person
would write down everyone's requests. At the next meeting, that person would
read out loud the previous week's requests, and each of us would talk about how
our prayers had been answered.
In our group, I learned
about the power of prayer and the importance of being clear about what you're
asking for. I saw that not all prayers are answered immediately. I learned about
divine timing and that everything happens when it's meant to. No matter how much
I pleaded for something, if it wasn't for my highest good, it wasn't going to
I learned that if I prayed
for things like patience, tolerance, and courage, life would present situations
that required just those attributes. I remember once calling my mom and
complaining, "Everyone's driving me crazy!" Mom asked what I had prayed for in
my Master Mind group, and when the word patience popped out of my mouth, we had
a good laugh. God wasn't going to just hand me patience; He was going to show me
that I already had it but wasn't using it.
In Master Mind, I also saw
how my low self-esteem limited my sense of entitlement. For example, instead of
praying for a brand-new car, I'd ask for one that works. Instead of asking for a
hefty raise at work, I'd ask for enough money to get by.
By listening to what each
group member prayed for, we all learned a great deal about each other and
ourselves. We also became aware of the issues we had around trusting (mainly not
When suffering with
intestinal problems, I prayed to God for a healthy colon. After weeks of saying
the same prayer, I landed in the hospital and needed emergency surgery. At first
I felt let down that God hadn't healed me, but then it dawned on me that in
order to have a healthy colon, I needed thirteen inches of "floppy intestines"
removed. This was God's way of answering my prayer.
I wanted to be on a
spiritual path more than I wanted any specific outcome I might pray for, so I
started praying, "Thy will be done, not mine." I wanted any and all fear of God
to go away so that we could be partners in life. I didn't want negative
religious messages to interfere with God and I moving forward with each other. I
wanted the trust that is essential to any good relationship. My Master Mind
group showed me the areas that needed to heal so that I cold gain that trust. I
realized that God wasn't a Santa Claus you could hand a list to.
We'd end each meeting with
gratitude because we'd realized that ultimately, what we needed to do was
surrender our will -- our list -- and instead ask for God to show us our highest
What Is Intuition?
You've probably noticed by
now that I always turn to my intuition when making decisions or seeking
guidance. Still, I didn't really understand this inner voice of mine until just
a few years ago. My mother, who listened to her gut and taught me to pay
attention to mine, simply called it "women's intuition."
My thirst to know God
continued, and I began taking classes at the Unity Church, which I belonged to.
One of the books we studied was Lessons in Truth by H. Emilie Cady. She refers
to the "still, small voice within" as the voice of God. A lightbulb came on over
my head. I asked my minister if Cady was saying that women's intuition was the
voice of God. He confirmed that that was exactly what she was saying, except
that we all have intuition, not just women. "Are you sure?" I asked him. My
whole life I had expected to hear God as a booming voice from on high. It never
occurred to me that the voice I had been listening to since I was a kid was
actually God's soft, subtle knowingness. There's a passage in the Bible
(Deuteronomy 18:15-18) that says that God's voice was so loud, people asked Him
to please speak through the prophets. Could my inner knowing really be the voice
Even though my minister
was very clear about intuition being the voice of God, I wrestled with the idea
until I read Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain. Gawain puts it a bit
differently than Cady, saying that the inner knowing we all have in our gut is
the voice of the Universe. Reading her words smacked me between the eyes. I
finally got it.
Gawain writes that
intuition never lies and is 100 percent accurate. It is not emotional. Feelings,
our emotional responses, are not the same as intuition. I was like a Christmas
tree, so many lightbulbs were coming on around me. I felt like someone had just
given me the key to the Universe, and in a way, they had.
What about Meditation?
As I read and asked
questions about getting closer to God, the practice of meditation kept coming
up. This was not an answer I wanted to hear, because it seemed impossible to
quiet my mind. People were also talking about God being within us, and this went
right over my head. I had been raised to believe that God was in heaven, far,
far away above the clouds.
I sat in a lotus position.
I closed my eyes. I did the "om" thing. Nothing happened, other than my mind
wandering to my grocery or chore list. I felt like a failure at meditation, so I
minimized its value.
One day I got the inner
nudge to call my friend Roy, who meditated daily. Could he explain the concept
of Higher Self and teach me to meditate? Roy said that the Higher Self is the
part of us that is God and that we meditate to communicate with this presence.
My mind jumped back to a
class I'd attended at Unity. There I'd heard that there was a personal God and
an impersonal God. The personal God resided inside us, while the impersonal God
resided outside us and watched over the world. My mind grappled with these new
ideas, and later that night, I asked God to help me understand them.
Meanwhile, I kept trying
-- and failing -- to meditate. Then one day I had a breakthrough. I was running on a
treadmill and for some reason grabbed onto the bars, closed my eyes, put my
attention on my belly button, and asked God, "Are you in there?"
Suddenly, a white light
came out of my midsection, and I heard a male voice say, "Yes, I am." My first
impulse was to jump off the machine and run! But I stayed and watched the light
emanating from my solar plexus. I felt peaceful. The more I concentrated on it,
the more peaceful I got. After a while, I wanted to stay on that treadmill
forever. I stayed with this unusual experience until the light disappeared.
The next day, when I got
back on the treadmill and again asked God if He was within me, a beautiful white
energy came out of my solar plexus. It took the form of a sword, like Excalibur,
and I had the sense of this light being my protector.
I believe I was able to
experience this because on the treadmill, my mind was busy keeping my feet on
the track. Because I wasn't desperately trying to quiet my mind, I was freed up
to hear the voice. As the communications became lengthier, I began to keep a
notebook by the treadmill so that I wouldn't forget all the information I was
receiving -- insight into the gift of healing and my psychic abilities, guidance
about clients, advice on my personal journey.
I finally understood why
meditation is so important. Studying about meditation, in classes and books and
at church, had only given me head knowledge. Now I knew, quite literally, in my
gut. I was in touch with my Higher Self and getting to know God. It was
wonderful. My thirst was finally being quenched.
After several years of
talking to Him, the feeling of this powerful male presence within me changed and
became softer, more feminine. I felt a shift in who I was talking to. I asked
the female voice what had happened to God, and She said that She was the
feminine side of God. She would now be working with me for a while. "Could I ask
the real God if this is okay?" I asked Her. She had a good chuckle at that.
The Bible verse telling us
that we are made in God's image and likeness (Genesis 1:26) came into my head. I
realized that if that was true, there must be a female side to God. We aren't
all men, after all. I had to ponder this because I had been raised to believe
God was male. Once again, old teachings were being booted out. I had asked to
know the real God, and I was being shown the real God.
It took time for me to
adjust to the female half of my Higher Self, but once I accepted Her
wholeheartedly, the male side began talking to me again. I now hear both. And
meditation is no longer restricted to treadmill time. I spend the majority of my
day in silence, receiving guidance from both the male and female sides of my
Higher Self. This is the most peaceful and beautiful way I have ever lived.
For You to Think About
Your Meditation Practice
Do you meditate? If so,
write in your journal how your practice got started for you and how it has
changed over time.
If you do not meditate,
write down what might be keeping (or blocking) you from doing so. Also write
down what you feel you would need in order to meditate.
Do you know that prayer is
talking to God, and meditation is God talking back? We need to give our inner
voice time each day to express itself.
I want you to try sitting
in silence for at least five minutes every other day. Just sit, close your eyes,
and ask God if He/She has any messages for you. Keep your focus on your solar
plexus area (just below the rib cage). When you find that you have more time, do
this for longer periods.
If your day is absolutely
packed with activities from morning till night, then I want you to write down
when, during that hectic schedule of yours, you are all by yourself. In the
bathroom? In traffic? At lunchtime? During a coffee break? I guarantee that when
you're ready to give God some time to talk back, you will find the time -- and be
grateful that you did.
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Look For the
Good & You'll Find God: The Spiritual Journey of a Psychic and Healer
© 2008 by Echo Bodine (Her
Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.
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