THE sage who first said, ``I never learned anything while I was talking'' had a point. There's certainly value in doing a lot of listening. I have always liked that message, and it's one I need to hear because all too frequently I talk more than I listen.
To prayerful people, listening is invaluable. Listening while praying helps people make room for constructive and inspiring thoughts from God to enter their thinking.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, indicates in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The effects of Christian Science are not so much seen as felt. It is the `still, small voice' of Truth uttering itself. We are either turning away from this utterance, or we are listening to it and going up higher'' (p. 323).
I remember a business challenge years ago when I truly had no choice. I had to stop and listen for God's messages to take form in my consciousness. The company I worked for had dispatched me two thousand miles to a city where I was to help over several days with a project we were engaged in with another company.
When I arrived at the latter's plant, I was met by the head of our firm. He told me plans had changed. Instead of simply assisting, I was to be responsible for the project. He shook hands with me, told me he was assigning our local man to assist me, and left. I was stunned. I had enough knowledge of the work to help, but no grasp of the overview at all.
The only thing I could think of was to ask the plant manager if I could have a small office with desk and chair for my stay there. I had no plans beyond that.
Thinking that I had made a long journey only to fail badly, I asked the man assigned to me to give me a few minutes while I tried to chart our course of action. I forced myself to sit quietly at the desk and not be panicked into doing something--anything!--to get things going.
As I sat there I started to pray. It was hard keeping my thought attentive at first, but prayer had benefited me in tight spots before, and I knew that receptivity to the Mind of Christ was the only thing that could help me now. The first thought that came was that, while I did not have any ideas for the program, God, infinite Mind, has countless ideas, good ideas, creative ideas, more ideas than I could use in a thousand years. That calmed me. I continued listening and praying, and was able to follow the Bible's injunction in Proverbs ``Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding'' (3:5).
Soon I had a single thought on which to take action. Just one thought. I called my assistant and asked him to advise the plant that our first step in the project would be such and such. Off he went.
I continued sitting at the desk, a hard thing for me to do just then. I prayed some more, affirming that I reflected divine Mind and I--like all of God's creation--was blessed with the resources of that infinite intelligence. Before long a second thought came. Again, just one thought, but that was all that was needed at that point. We took action on it.
Soon a succession of ideas came, and that unleashed a stream of additional ideas. Each one was just what was needed. It was not my thinking, I can assure you! It was the divine Mind, God, governing my thought as I prayed for His guidance. The project, as you might have guessed, moved right along to a harmonious conclusion. I felt almost like a bystander, watching a success take shape.
The spiritual enlightenment derived from that experience has blessed me many times since. As Mrs. Eddy's poem ```Feed My Sheep''' says (Poems, p. 14):
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
We can all learn to listen to, follow, and rejoice over God's thoughts a little better each day.