We live amidst the deafening blasts of doom, news commentators, media alarms, government warnings, the angry and the fearful, the Dystopians and the warriors of Armageddon. The still small voice is different, quiet, peaceful loving and affirming. It does not ever tell us to be angry or afraid, but rather to be strong, and to be hopeful, and to live our lives. The still small voice is louder than these other voices and does not come from outside of us, but from the deepest parts of our souls and dreams.
I first learned of the still small voice when I began attending Quaker Meeting in my teens. I loved the sound of it, gathering oneself into the silence, waiting for the still small voice that is the spirit of God. “It is,” wrote William Dean Howells, “the small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.” The King James Bible also speaks of this voice – “God speaks to us in a still, small voice.”
This is a difficult voice to hear in our world. We rarely have the chance to be as silent as we are in a Quaker Meeting, and most of us, surely including me, are wired up to many different voices that speak to us all day, wherever we are. For me, the idea of the still small voice has evolved. One friend was stunned when I told her I meditate every morning. “You?,” she said, “that is hard for me to believe.” Like a lot of people exploring spirituality, she was defining silence in a very particular way.
I am not living in a monastery, nor spending much time in Quaker Meeting. I am very much in my creative world, and love it there. I love my Ipod, my laptop, my Ipad. I read five or six books a week, devour albums, take a million photos, write a hundred blog posts, books, stories. I appreciate Buddhist meditation, but sitting on a mat in silence is not the only way to hear the still small voice. I hear it often, and in many places. When I close my eyes, and imagine a poem. Or see the light fall in a particular way that causes me to reach for my camera. Or walk my dogs on my path. When I see Maria talking to the donkeys, or smiling at me, or working on her art, reminding me that I can, in fact, be worthy of love and experience it. When I open up the feelings inside of me to write a book, a sacred miracle for me. When I make a friend, and cease a judgement.
When I see fear as a disease, not a reality, and turn from it.
The still small voice comes for me in encouragement – receiving it, giving it. It comes for me in turning away from argument, anger and fear. I hear it when I make good decisions about my life, and am in the company of loving and nourishing people. I hear it every morning when I wake up and give rebirth to myself, every day and focus on the things I love and want to do.
It was a revelation, for me, this idea about the still small voice and I share it with you because, like me, the world does not always give us a quiet room in which to close our eyes. It is inside of all of us, ready to speak to us any time we want to hear it. It is, in fact, the voice the soul heeds, the true answer to the deafening blasts of doom outside our windows.