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"Tuning In to the Signal" featured as part of SpiritSite.com's "Coaching Corner" column, is Copyright © 2001 by Diana Robinson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
"The signal that guides or calls us is quite faint."
Tuning In to the Signal
For many, spiritual growth is a process of reaching out toward something, following a "call" or "signal" if you will. Another analogy would be that it resembles the growth of the plant that reaches and grows toward the sun, guided by the light and the warmth that it feels.
However, the signal that guides or calls us is quite faint. It is hard to hear a still, small voice. Communications engineers speak of a signal to noise ratio. The weaker the signal is in comparison to its surrounding noise, the more difficult it will be to hear it. If you can do little to make the signal louder, then it is necessary to try to reduce the noise.
In our case, the noise that makes this special signal difficult to hear includes not only physical noise, and all the physical sensations being received by our bodily senses, but also emotional and mental noise. The more that we focus on these, the less likely we are to become aware of what we might call the spirituality signal.
It is obvious that a blaring TV or radio will distract us. We know, intellectually, that one reason that the discipline of meditation is important for spiritual growth is that in it we learn to quiet the noisy chatter of our thoughts. It may be less apparent that the complaints (or pleasures) of our emotions also constitute noise that makes discernment of other, fainter, signals less easy to hear.
Emotional detachment from what is happening around us enables us to observe, to think, "It is raining," or "It is cloudy," without the automatic accompaniment of a judgment call that this is bad, or sad. Thus we can maintain our calm and serenity, rather than call up the noise of our emotions which makes the signal more difficult to hear. Hence the importance of detachment.
Now to a reader's question, "How does one 'not' allow gloomy days to get one down?"
Admittedly, this is not easy. Historically, sun worship has at times been a powerful force in human culture and for most of us it feels natural to be joyous on a sunny day.
However, in our search for growth, let us remember that in the greater scheme of things, sunshine or cloud cover has little meaning. Unless your livelihood depends upon certain types of weather, sun or cloud today will not make your life any different two weeks hence. The sky will not fall.
Secondly, remember that your joy does not need to come from outside of you. Your serenity can come from the fact that you like yourself, that you are making the choices that you wish to make, or that you are on the way to creating the life you want even if it is not all that you would wish at this moment. These things will be true if you have developed a solid personal foundation of beliefs and values on which you base your life and your behavior. If you have not, then it may be difficult to maintain your equilibrium in the face of changing outside circumstances. As a result, as the inner or outer noise level rises, your calm may often be disturbed. Again, when this happens your ability to tune in to your special signal fades.
Why is the signal important? Certainly because it can guide your inner, spiritual growth just as the sun guides the plant. But also because it can feed, reward and guide you in strange and interesting ways. It can lead you to make a sudden change in plans that takes you to something you need even when you weren't looking for it. It can bring you to what I call "postcards from God," experiences of sudden beauty or meaning that convey a sense of joy, or of caring, just when it is most needed. I count myself fortunate indeed to have had a number of such experiences that have helped me to find a deeper meaning in life.
Take a Step: Try asking yourself if the things that have an effect on your mood, whether for bad or for good (yes, really) will change your life in two weeks time. Will the sky fall? Will your troubles all disappear? If not, is it worth letting the tumult of outside circumstances drown out the special inner signal you are waiting, listening for?
Personal Coach Diana Robinson describes herself with the tag-line "Enhancing your life... Your way!" She also authors two free e-zines and can be reached at Diana@ChoiceCoach.com or at www.ChoiceCoach.com (site will open in a new window).