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Excerpted from A Still, Small Voice by Echo Bodine. Copyright © 2001 by Echo Bodine. Excerpted by permission of New World Library, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Each of us needs to set aside the information we've received through our religious training and find our for ourselves the truth about our creator."

  Echo Bodine, A Still, Small Voice, Part 3

But often when we try to develop a relationship with God, all sorts of uncomfortable emotions come roaring to the surface, including fear, anger, and confusion. We're afraid of God's power; we're angry that He/She hasnít been there for us at some critical time; we're confused about what we can expect. And for most of us, religion hasnít done such a good job of clarifying this. Instead of empowering us at an early age to develop our own personal relationship with God, organized religion has taught us that God is removed from us, distant from us - and for many of us the image hasnít been very loving.

Periodically I teach a class on living by our intuition, and at the beginning of every class I have everyone take turns sharing an experience they had during the past week when they listened to their intuition. In one particular class, as we made our way around the circle, I noticed that 90 percent of the class was telling stories about not acting on the guidance they had received from their intuition. I pointed that out, and asked them to explain to me why they were choosing not to follow their intuition. We ended up having a great discussion that led to our religious views of God, and so many of them expressed a fear of what their intuition might tell them to do if they asked for guidance.

They went on to say that as much as they wanted to live fulfilled, spiritual lives, they worried about what course their lives might take if they really did follow the guidance of their intuition. Many realized that they were looking at their intuition in a religious way, fearing what God might ask them to do. The common fear seemed to be that life would be "no more fun, just a lot more hard work." What became clear to me was that if someone wanted to live by her intuition and if her current relationship with God was based on religion, she would first need to heal her old image of God because it was getting in the way of trusting her inner voice.

We've been taught horrible images of a vengeful, spiteful, jealous, schizophrenic guy up in the sky who decides who gets cancer, whose turn it is to die, who's going bankrupt, who's going to be in a car accident, whose house will be hit by a tornado, whose child will be molested, which town will be flooded, which farmers Will lose all their crops. He turns up the heat in the South in the summertime and the cold in the North in the wintertime. He causes hurricanes on the East coast and earthquakes in the West. He doesnít make women thin when they pray to lose weight and he doesnít grow hair on men's heads when they pray to stop going bald. He makes it rain on our wedding day, and causes the tire to go flat on the car. He doesnít prevent the teenager from getting pregnant, doesnít heal our favorite pet when it gets sick, and takes our favorite grandma away from us because He wants her home with Him. Worse yet, He has created an eternal paradise for the best and most faithful of his children, and the rest are cast into eternal hell.

No wonder we struggle so much with trusting this deity. He sounds like a monster.

The relationship I've developed with God through prayer (talking) and meditation (listening) has shown me that this old-time notion of God couldnít be further from the truth. Even though it may be challenging and difficult, each of us needs to set aside the information we've received through our religious training and find our for ourselves the truth about our creator.

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