The ability to listen and hear

A Christian Science perspective: We all have the capacity to turn to God for direction and discern intuitions that help and guide.

When I was in the Army, the instructor for a class in Morse code told us a story intended to make us all more interested in learning the code. The story went like this:

There was a telegraph office wanting to hire operators. Those interested in the job were invited to come to the office to apply. While they were waiting and chatting together before the scheduled interviews, one of them suddenly got up, walked to the interviewer’s office, and said, “Good, I’ll take the job.”

When he returned, the others asked him why he had done that. He responded, “Well, while I was sitting there mentally rehearsing Morse code, I heard a code message coming over the PA system that said, ‘The first person to hear and decipher this message has the job.’ ”

We all got the point that in order to utilize Morse code, we had to be dedicated in listening, learning, and deciphering it.

This story reminds me of a deep spiritual lesson. Through study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, we learn that we are made in God’s spiritual likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). God, who is good, is always speaking to us, because He loves us infinitely. Each individual can pray to listen and hear the ideas from God that we need to hear. As the Morse code operator heard the job announcement despite the noise around him, each of us can cultivate our spiritual discernment, which “hears” God’s message of truth, despite the “noise” of materiality. We have the God-given capacity to hear and know the goodness, guidance, and comfort He is imparting to each of us.

This requires taking the time to turn to God, who is divine Mind. It’s important to be still and to make honest efforts to silence what the physical senses are telling us. This opens our thought to the fact of God’s love for us, enabling us to identify the ideas that come from Him instead of from the chatter and roar of human existence. In short, it enables us to rely on our spiritual sense instead of the material senses. Science and Health states: “In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses” (p. 15). Silencing material sense and praying to more spiritually understand God, we receive the inspiration we need and are guided to right actions.

This calls for a sincere, humble desire and heartfelt spiritual hunger to know what is true about God and His creation. The Psalmist writes, “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart” (Psalms 10:17). Christ Jesus told his disciples that they had the ability to hear and understand the spiritual meaning of what he was teaching them. He said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:16). As we turn to Him sincerely in prayer, God prepares our heart for the guidance we need.

One day, I was feeling inspired as I read from the Bible while in the car with my son, who was driving on the turnpike. Everyone was moving along at a fairly fast clip. We and a number of other vehicles were behind a huge truck. Even though we were already what is considered a safe distance away, the thought suddenly came to me that we should slow down. I said, “Slow down right now – right this moment.”

My son immediately backed off and put more space between the truck and our car. The cars behind us also slowed down. Just then, one of the truck’s tires blew. The huge tire bounced down the highway and then rolled off into a ditch along the turnpike. It did not hit or damage anyone, and the truck was able to pull over safely. My son and I were very grateful for the intuition that had prevented an accident, and for God’s ever-present protection.

Through prayer that seeks a fuller understanding of God, we become more receptive to the spiritual intuitions that help and guide. They might result in protection, inspiration, or simple instruction about keeping our priorities straight. Whatever the need is, when we listen humbly and obediently for God’s direction, we realize that He is always speaking – giving us ideas and inspiration that bless, protect, and comfort us.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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