The Seven Whispers (A Spiritual Practice For Times Like These) by Christina Baldwin is the second book studied by our book club at Purple Door Books. It’s a short, small book that’s doesn’t waste any space whatsoever and you can read it in one sitting. Every sentence and idea conveyed by Baldwin has meaning and purpose and I love that. It’s the kind of book that you can keep at your bedside table and refer to again and again.
Christina Baldwin shares the core of what is at her own spiritual practice through these seven whispers of spiritual common sense:
• Maintain peace of mind (“…it is the cornerstone of spiritual life.”)
• Move at the pace of guidance (“…combine the practices of measured movement and listening.”)
• Practice certainty of purpose (“…a commitment to figure out why we are here and what we are going to do about it.”)
• Surrender to surprise (“Surprise is a chance to open something new.”)
• Ask for what you need and offer what you can (“…we enter a dance of unavoidable reciprocity.”)
• Love the folks in front of you (”…look for the good in other people, even if we don’t think it’s there.”)
• Return to the world (“Return to the world of the body, the senses, the world of Nature.”)
Christina opens the book by declaring that “I have believed all my life that there is a necessary interaction that occurs between a person and the Divine.” If you believe this too, you will get something valuable from this book. One of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much is because she is also a person who finds the Divine in Nature, which is where I feel most connected to my Higher Power. I also appreciate the fact that reciting the seven whispers is a simple practice and the whispers do not possess any hidden meaning.
Christina offers some of her own personal anecdotes in order to draw a parallel to the meaning behind each whisper but doesn’t go on and on in order to get her point across. In order to maintain peace of mind, we need only to remember to pause and breathe deeply. “One breath to let go. One breath to be here. One breath to ask now what? Now what is trying to happen in my life?” All we have to do is breathe deeply and ask God, “please help me maintain peace of mind.” Deep breathing is at the heart of most holistic healing and it just makes common sense. All you have to do is try it. Inhale. Hold your breath for a moment. Exhale and push all that worry and stress out of your body. Maintaining this simple ritual at any time of the day really works! All we have to do is to invite peace of mind into our life.
“When we move at the pace of guidance, it occurs to us to wonder what plans the Divine might have for us, in the midst of the plans we have for ourselves.” What Christina is saying here is, slow down, and take the time to look around and really listen and think about what you are doing because life is about being fully present and we should not allow ourselves “to become doing machines.” The practice of mindfulness at all times goes a long way when seeking connection with the Divine. Ask “what do you want me to do” and “how do I need to change in order to do it.”
My favourite quote in the book is:
“See emotions as a form of weather, as changeable as the sky. When you have fear, put up your umbrella and keep walking. When you have joy, take off your sweater and enjoy the sun.”
If we stop to take the time to remember that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, then life takes on a whole new perspective.
“When we practice certainty of purpose, we balance our personal will to fulfill certain needs and desires with an awareness that our individual lives affect the needs and desires of the larger community.” “We need each other to fulfill our destinies.”
The fourth whisper, Surrender to Surprise, was one of my favourite chapters. “Surprise encourages us to relate to experience with a sense of wonder…challenges us to be startled awake, and sometimes shocked to our core.” It is a spiritual skill to become aware of how surprise supports us and in living consciously we have to be prepared for both the good and the bad things that will happen.
We also need to practice helping others, nurture our relationships with neighbours, commit to friendships with others even when the spark isn’t obvious, and look at the ways in which we need each other.
Finally, and what works best for me, is to remember to return to the world of Nature to bear witness to the Divine in the elements, in the landscape, in the wildlife, and in the sheer beauty of every unspoiled natural thing because Nature’s healing power is wondrous! And so is The Seven Whispers.