How do you know if God is speaking to you ?
This is a very interesting question. One simple answer is that God is speaking to us all the time, but we are rarely listening!
But I think behind your question are two other questions: 1) Are my thoughts coming from God – how do I know if it’s just a random desire, or something God is trying to tell me? 2) If God is talking all the time, how can I interpret correctly what He’s trying to tell me?
Neither of these is easy to answer or to practice, but here are some suggestions:
Question 1: Are my thoughts coming from God or from my own mind? When God guides us truly, what we feel is clarity, energy, and positive solution. Often people get into thoughts that make them feel depressed (such as Why am I making these mistakes all the time). Sometimes it seems as if we’re having insights into our “true,” flawed nature, and we are supposed to pay attention. But if these so-called insights make us feel hopeless or depressed, they are definitely NOT coming from God.
God might send insight into changes you need to make, but these types of insights come with energy and a sense of – “Yes! this is the right direction for me to go. I will put my will and energy into trying to change.”
What if the thoughts are not about yourself, but about some new direction, a desire to pursue? Often desires have a lot of energy – such as: “I really want that new, expensive car.” For more on this, see the answer to Question 2.
2) How can i interpret correctly what God is trying to tell me. Say, for example, that you are offered a new job. How can you tell if God wants you to leave your current job for this new job?
The answers to 2) and to the second part of 1) can both be found by practicing what is explained in Swami Kriyananda’s book Intuition for Starters.
I will explain it briefly below, but i highly recommend this book for providing answers to that quesiton.
In order to practice the following exercise, you should have a meditation practice. Since meditation is fundamental to listening to God, this is important on all levels. I hope you are doing this already. If not, you can find meditation instructions (free) at http://www.ananda.org/meditation/learn/technique.html
In order to get clarity on what direction to take, and on trying to tune in to God’s direction, begin by using a meditation technique to quiet your thinking process. Become neutral about any desire that has come up, by being clear that what is most important to you is to do what God wants (since that will bring you the greatest happiness).
At the end of meditation, when the mind is relatively quiet, hold up your question to God at the point between the eyebrows. Keep the mind quiet, that is, avoid starting to think up answers to your question. Instead, try to tune into the heart chakra in a quiet and sensitive way.
If you want to go in a certain direction, listen calmly and sensitively to your heart. Do you feel there any nervousness, heaviness, or great excitement? If you feel any of these, that is not a good direction for you. If you feel a sense of rightness, calm certainty, or joy, these are good directions for you.
While this is a skill that needs practice in order to develop, it is well worth developing. Even from the beginning, when you’re not sure what you’re feeling, you’ve made it clear to God that you really want to do what he wants you to, and that you are trying to listen to the best of your ability.
Continue to work with this. If you seem to be getting no clarity after meditating in this way, look at what direction makes the most sense to you and start moving in that direction, asking that God make it clear to you if this is not what he wants for you.
The interesting thing about this process is that it involves continually listening in your heart to see if you’re going the right way. Sometimes guidance comes to go a certain way, but not forever. Perhaps that guidance was just to get us moving, but we’ll need to keep listening to see if our direction should shift.
Since you have asked this question, it seems that listening to God is important to you. So, please invest in the book I recommended (it’s only $10), and work with these ideas. You will find your life changing in beautiful ways.
In divine friendship,