Someone recently asked how to nurture a special, direct communion with God. They wanted to know what to do to stay feeling connected to God, and here is substantially what I said:
I talk with God all the time, not just during my morning prayer time or when there is a real or special need. “Should I bring my umbrella” is the type of conversation I have with God all the time. I always listen for the answer after I ask zillions of small things, and get those subtle intuitive responses that practice my connection to God. Just like any good relationship, you have to work on conversation.
A long time ago, I built in a bunch of intentional habits to my everyday experience. Each doorknob I touched I’d know that “the Christ goes before me,” each telephone call I answered I’d claim that “God was with my mouth,”each red light and stop sign I stopped at was an opportunity for contemplating or appreciating a spiritual nugget. This discipline in these little ways helps me never get very far without thinking of God.
Last fall, I began to pick one nugget from the Bible Lesson or my daily prayer time, and write it in a journal, then thinking about it throughout the day. (You can read examples of this here, here and here.) I’ve been doing that to great effect so I have a fresh idea that intrigues me each day to return repeatedly to during those stop lights, forest walks, and food prep moments.
Gratitude is also a key way for me to feel connected. It helps me to own that God is the author and Creator of every good that I see everywhere! So if you acknowledge every good you see as God’s awesome and beautifully considerate presence, it is hard to ever feel far from God.
I knew a woman once who said that gratitude had healed her of cancer. She said she had to learn to be grateful for the wrapper on the bread. This impressed me, and I try to not let anything good go by unnoticed or unappreciated.
All this fills my days so much that it is almost like unceasing prayer, but it is actually just joy and Love, and yes, by the side door, it is communion also. This is why all the flowers, fabulous food, glorious colors, and infinite, beautiful good everywhere become so sacramental for me. God is present in all of that and it brings me so much joy, to not only notice it, but to be at one with it all.
Joy is the opposite of what Christian Scientists call “animal magnetism,” which is a fancy term that is used to imply that the suppositional opposite of truth, reality, or good has any power with which to act. We don’t want any part of animal magnetism– think thugs like evil or error– so at every turn we must vigilantly choose joy.
The opposite suggestion will always seem to be there, but so will God and all good. So at every juncture, let us consciously focus on God, good, and rejoice fully in that. We have to be proactive about that choice instead of thinking that joy and communion sometimes just happen (or not).
Apathy on this will not do. Connection takes some mindfulness, but as I discussed above it can be fun, like a treasure hunt, or like a wooing. Just do it.
Furthermore, it helps me to realize that “the Christ” is also the opposite of animal magnetism. Lovingly welcome the Christ into your human consciousness all the time. The Christ is the complete reflection of God (right where you are) and the divine message from God speaking directly to you in every moment, present with you, and ever accessible to you.
Moreover, it helps to realize you cannot be separated from God, because God is infinite and ever-present. How can you get away from that? Separation and disconnection is always only a suggestion that is clearly impossible, if you are always choosing otherwise, seeing God’s good everywhere, and in constant friendly conversation over every little thing. ABBA, Father/Mother–your best buddy and chum– is ever at hand. With you. Now and always. Never aloof or distant.
As they say, if it seems like God is not there, who moved? Run back into those gracious, out-stretched arms. God needs you to know Himself/Herself. This relationship is imperative for you both. It is a two way street. Do your part, for God is definitely there doing His/Hers.
I love thinking about divine Love’s adventure being all in all. Our connection with this is a joy, the ultimate love story, not a duty or a chore. It is a rock and a surety, not a fickle, fleeting fluctuation. Ask God out every day on a date and get to know God intimately. Never let go. It is your most lasting relationship; don’t just make it faithful, also make it fun!