1 Samuel 3:1–10, The Art Of Hearing

Verse 10: “The Lord came and stood there, and called, ‘Samuel, Samuel’, as before. Samuel answered, ‘Speak; thy servant hears thee.’”

How wonderful to be awake!
To hear, to feel, to know.
I listen for the nuances of Spirit.
She moves in the rhythms and paces of the day,
Flowing through my body,
She speaks to me in the cracks and crevices I am.
The broken places are the openings.
I step through them to find my Essence.

This scripture offers a picture of psychic or soul growth as we are called forward to new responsibilities and new roles in relationships. While the story of Samuel is about people relationships, we can consider each character as a type of energy within our psyche/soul.

Samuel is the child-like self, open, curious, pure, and intentional. He represents the new seed of the Self that is moving to consciousness. Eli is the known, conscious attitude; he is the self we identify with and call our ego. Eli’s sons are shadow (unconscious) aspects of our selves, showing up as unbidden, rogue attitudes and feeling states that act in opposition to what our ego (Eli) says is right. Of course, the Lord manifests in the psychic structure of the Self.

We all find ourselves, as Eli did with his sons, confronting energies acting of their own accord within us. These inner “sons” have always grown out of our attempts to live the fullness of who we are. Our ego mediates between the outer world and our inner world. The ego is the vehicle through which our larger Self/God Within expresses and lives in the physical, relational world. Sometimes, our attempts to be who we are, to grow in new ways, is misdirected by energies not connected consciously to our ego and/or Self. *

Eli’s sons did not listen to him. They continued their destructive ways. Symbolically, Eli represents our ego when its authority and scope of influence over self is no longer effective. We can all call to mind frustrated attempts to change a feeling state, a thought process, or a behavior pattern. No matter how much we talked to our selves, or how hard we seemed to try, we remained in the same place! When this happens, a new way and a new sense of self are needed. The old us (ego/self) must relinquish power for a new sense of self/ego to be established.

Fortunately, the Self/God Within works on our behalf to grow our consciousness and to strengthen our sense of self. (The individuation instinct is the innate mechanism through which the Divine works to pull us forward in our development.) When we pay attention, and we build a conscious relationship to the unconscious, we begin to experience and know this pull for conscious growth firsthand. We then trust the process of letting go and opening to a new way of being, a new sense of self. This happened for Eli as he coached Samuel to listen to the Divine and to share all that was said.

Inner Reflection
Where are you struggling with wayward “sons”—thoughts, feeling states, habits, behavior patterns—working against your stated desires and values? How have you given energy to these sons wittingly or unwittingly?

Sit quietly, and listen for the voice of God Within. What is it saying? Where is the new potential in you? How does it want to express? Be courageous and open to the movement of the Divine in you. Set an intention and follow through on needed changes. Welcome the larger sense of self that comes as the ego/self lets go of control and authority and aligns with the Self/God Within.

*Think of something you have done in an effort to help yourself, only to later learn it has caused harm. Coping mechanisms such as overeating, excessive drinking, compulsive spending are examples. Ideas, beliefs, habits, response patterns that have become rote and calcified, that no longer allow creative libido to flow and manifest, are examples. Reflexive psychic defenses such as rigidity, confusion, lack of focus are also examples as they are primitive responses to stressors that overwhelm the ego/self. As Eli with his sons, we (our ego) have no power to influence these wayward “sons.” Fortunately, the Self/God Within) works on our behalf in these moments.

Return to list of meditations.