Guidance: The Presence of Spirit in our Lives

We are never alone.
We all have guides.
Many of them are angels.

Spiritual guidance is one of the more mysterious topics in the world of healing. This is because we live in a culture that is grounded in the scientific method. As a society, we learn to disregard information that does not come from a concrete, physical source. Yet, spiritual guidance has been part of the human experience for millennia. It is the inspiration for countless profound moments in history. While we may not be witness to a burning bush that speaks with the voice of God, or be inspired to write the Declaration of Independence, we can develop our own personal relationship with Spirit that will enrich our life and sooth our soul. This is our birthright.

We are never alone. We all have guides. Many of them are angels. Most of us have heard of the guardian angels that protect children as they sleep. Actually, the scope of service provided by angels is much larger. Personal guardian angels (most people have several) are available to assist us in achieving our life's purpose. They can provide help in endless material and immaterial ways. The trick is, they are bound to respect our free will. They cannot interfere with our life, no matter how miserable we have made it, unless we ask. If we are unconscious about guidance in our life, our angels may spend a lot of time sitting around reading comic books. With an actual request for help, however, they can really go to town.

Prayer is a form of request. That's why it is so effective. It doesn't matter who it's directed to; since angels answer God's prayers, it only matters that we ask. We may also call angels to assist us with special problems such as getting home safely on icy roads or finding something. It is important to know that we can make our urgency known in an authoritative way for a just purpose. In those panic stricken moments when one's child is suddenly out of sight in a potentially unsafe situation, we might say, "I need help and I need help right now! Send ten angels to surround my child and keep her safe. Lead me to her now!" This has always worked for me, with my little one found calm and happy. There are legions of angels waiting to be requested for service and we have the right to call on them.

Guides or spiritual helpers can present themselves in many forms. Angels are common. They bring with them a high clear energy and devotion to human service. Power animals represent a more earth-connected form of helper that can provide very sophisticated information and support. The natural strengths and habits of the animal are also available to be called on -- the vision and speed of the falcon, courage of the bear, or gentleness and grace of the deer. Spiritual teachers such as Jesus, Buddha or Mary can be called on for guidance. Sometimes ancestors or previously incarnated souls that have had particular skills in an area that we are developing may inspire us. All are the voice of Spirit. The relationship is ours to develop.

In my classes, I love to invoke the student's guides so that they can feel and experience some kind of contact with their spiritual helper. Sometimes we will request the guides to move one place to the left, so that we can feel how different someone else's guide feels. This helps to establish a sense of reality about the presence of guides.

Besides protection, many of us desire an active relationship with our guides in which we can ask for specific direction and guidance. Should I get married? Go to graduate school? Take this class? What is the source of this pain? How can I support the healing of this disease? Any question can be posed to our spiritual helpers, although inquiries about future outcomes can only reflect potential resolutions based on the energy of this moment. Free will can always be exercised to make new choices; new choices produce new outcomes.

The response to our questions can come in a myriad of forms depending on our individual gifts. Information will come through the channel that is most open. For example, sometimes guidance comes through the physical pain. When all else fails, pain will get our attention. It demands attention. Pain is our body's port of last resort. Many times I have treated people for pain and uncovered the deep emotional and spiritual issues that were held by the pain. It is wise not to ignore pain, for the next step is disease.

Emotions are present to inform us about our experience. Hatred lets us know that something is toxic for us, and we need to get away or set boundaries around it. Envy informs us that there is something that we want to create in our lives. We don't need to take it away from someone else. We simply need to create an expression of that vibration in our lives. Disappointment and betrayal tell us that something is about to end or change. Longing calls us to our life's purpose or the next step of our path. If we are present for our emotions and attune to their messages, we are following guidance.

Intuition is that vague feeling about where we should go and what we should do. It is quiet and often overlooked, yet is linked to the instincts that can save our lives. It requires attention and respect. Most of us are aware of the ways that subtle senses are utilized to receive guidance. We may hear a song fragment, a poem, a sound or a quiet voice respond to our prayer or question. How do we know that this voice is guidance and not our egos? Guides are never critical, nor will they put us down or advise us to hurt someone else. A simple litmus test is whether following the guidance makes our life better. If not, it's our inner critic, not our inner guide. The bottom line is that if we are not comfortable with the guidance we get, we always have the option to say goodbye and ask for a different guide.

Spirit communicates in symbols. If we develop an awareness of personal and archetypal symbols, including (for example) the meaning of colors, shapes and numbers, these symbols may become a mutual language between us and our guides. For those with subtle vision, information can come in both literal and symbolic forms. It is common for people to see colors and images. For some, a whole movie-like scene will unfold. A careful study of the image can reveal the message. Remember that one's personal interpretation of a symbol takes precedence over someone else's. In receiving guidance, our own experiences are our foundation.

A relationship with one's guides can be a source of comfort, peace and understanding. The opening that can develop with practice brings with it a wonderful sweetness and sense of rightful belonging, even companionship. With patience, it will become the work of a lifetime.

Published in Alaska Wellness, January/February 2001.