I love this question, “How do I recognize spiritual guidance?” This is the kind of question that can really take you on a quest for finding real meaning and purpose for your life.
This kind of question isn’t answered in a five-minute read of an article on how to recognize spiritual guidance, but such an article can point you in the right direction.
This is really a question that you are here to KNOW for yourself through DIRECT EXPERIENCE.
I will divide this article as follows:-
Part I: Understanding Spiritual Guidance
Part IV—Other Aspects and Summary
I hope that this will then begin to give you some clear instruction regarding the journey that is learning to recognize spiritual guidance. The result may surprise you in that ultimately there is no such guidance.
Understanding Spiritual Guidance
I think if you are interested in learning how to recognize spiritual guidance, you first need to be clear what it is you mean by the word “spiritual.” Such an understanding is foundational to being able to recognize spiritual guidance.
You will find different definitions of what it means to be spiritual. As a writer on the spiritual awakening process and revelation, I like to share my understanding of what it means to live spiritually.
The best definition is one that you discover for yourself and that you FEEL aligns with your heart and soul.
At close to 70 years of age, growing bolder not older, my definition of what it means to be spiritual includes:-
- Disidentification from Personality
- Surrender of the Personal Will.
- Living in true faith (not from blind faith)
- Feeling the Force of Connection.
Being spiritual does not mean you are affiliated with a religion.
Neither does it not mean you are so affiliated. I do not belong, nor do I attend at any church other than the Church Made without Hands.
Disidentification from Personality
For most of you reading this article, I imagine that this might be something you have never been introduced to before. This has been the case for me within my religious upbringing.
For this writer, this is the foundational step on the spiritual journey. What impedes spiritual guidance from Spirit, Source, God is the sense of the separate personal self that is your identification with the voice in your head—your overthinking mind.
Disidentification from the personality is what the spiritual master Jesus Christ invited when he said:-
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.- Matthew 16:25—KJV.
Recognize that you are not being asked to give up your life but being asked to give up your investment in the persona or mask that you present to the world. There is no real loss here. You swap rags for riches. You align with the richness of Essence.
We derive the word personality from the root word ‘persona.’ This translates as a ‘mask.’ It is the name of the mask worn on stage by Greek actors. It is the mask we wear to face the world within order to get what we need.
Detachment and Witness Consciousness
The disidentification from the mask of personality referred to as The False self (Thomas Merton) or ego does not diminish our sense of the True Self. It means you are letting go of the role or roles you play. You are unfolding the Essence of who you are. The role or roles remain, but you are no longer caught up in the drama of believing you are the role.
Only in the stillness of detachment can the soul yield up her secrets. Elsa Barker
In the Buddhist tradition, this disidentification from the personal self is called detachment. It is not, as some teachers I have studied with taught the disengagement from feelings, emotions and sexuality. This is the practice of spiritual bypassing. This is the avoidance of the need to engage with personal shadow work.
For this writer, spirituality begins when you become the witness (witness consciousness). You witness the thoughts the emotions, the sensations that are the phenomena of living life in this world of time and space.
In this way, you become spacious. You become available to the vastness of Spirit that is both empty and full at the same time. It opens you up to true fulfilment.
You are out of the way so that the Will of the Divine can be done through you. Your thinking mind is out of the way so that you can be thought through. Being thought through is real spiritual guidance.
Surrender of the Personal Will
You will not recognize spiritual guidance when you are dictating to the cosmos from the sense of your personal self. Any interpretation will be from a “What’s in it for me?” kind of focus.
You see this “What’s in it for me?” approach taught by many practicing The Secret or The Law of Attraction. Most Law of Attraction focus is about what one can get rather than how to tune into the Source of Fulfilment that designed you to give and gift through you.
The REAL Law of Attraction is when you can declare:-
The Secret of Secrets is inside me again (Anna Ahkmatova)
Not that you cannot receive guidance in how to best manoeuvre your way thought life. However, such guidance is about maintaining the sense of the separate personal self.
The moment of surrender is not when life is over, it’s when it begins. Marianne Williamson.
Guidance for Soul Purpose
Spiritual guidance aligns your soul purpose with Divine Purpose. The soul is always in alignment with such purpose but given your attachment to personality as being who you are, you are out of touch.
This means you do not dictate. Spiritual guidance is always available. You don’t earn it but most of the time you block it. You block it because your core belief is in separateness from God/Source/The Force.
This is the primary cause of most unnecessary suffering in the world. It means you believe your will is separate from Divine Will. This then manifests as the will to power.
Spiritual guidance is alignment with Divine Will. This is the Will to Love. You begin the challenging journey of self-surrender as advised in the key spiritual instruction:-
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven—The Lord’s Prayer.
Through the practice of witnessing and inner body awareness, you release the hold of your overthinking mind and attachment to the drama that is most people’s lives. You open to the guidance of the still small voice within.
Living in Faith
Here, in the opinion of this writer, is the heart of the matter. Living the real spiritual life is living a life of surrender to the unknown but not the unknowable.
When I write about faith, this is not the faith of attachment to a system of belief and dogma. That is what I call blind faith. It is blind teaching the blind. This is when the signpost clingers teach others how to cling to signposts convinced that they know the territory they have never travelled.
It is like going to a restaurant and being taught how to eat the menu. At sometime I hope you take courage to find some real nourishment.
Faith is being prepared to accept that you DO NOT KNOW. You do not KNOW who and why you are. You do not KNOW God. Spirituality begins when you long to be a KNOWER. This KNOWING is beyond belief because it is you being KNOWN through by the Divine. This is beyond the sense of the personal. It is a direct experience of the transcendental or impersonal life.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart beyond the reach of proof. – Khalil Gibran
It is not something to believe in but to live from. You can begin as a believer in the possibility, but if you stay there, you are a clinger to the signposts (words) that are only pointing the way.
Living from KNOWING is spiritual guidance. It is INSIGHT.
Relax and Trust
The only real spiritual guidance you ever need is, “Trust and align your will to that of the Divine.” In this way, you cannot go wrong. Not that there will not be resistance.
The problem is that you want signs you are headed in the right direction. If there are no signs, you think you are being ignored. However, it is not for you to dictate how spiritual guidance will manifest.
The next message you need is always right where you are. Ram Dass
Guidance manifests when you relax and trust that the Universe has your back. Guidance comes in the form of your life being more spontaneous, creative, allowing and flowing but you are not doing it. You are Being it. You are more of a happening.
Guidance is when you are in love with whom you are and your energy is such that you become a gift giver. You gift the energy flowing through you from the Source of Love that you KNOW you are not and never have been separate from.
Feeling the Connection
For a Christmas gift one of my God daughters bought me a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Feel the Force.”
Religion is about believing about the Force. Spirituality is having the courage to connect and FEEL the Force. Belief, for the most part is cerebrally driven. It derives from Western philosophy of the enlightenment when the French philosopher Rene Descartes declared, “I think therefore I am.”
Spirituality is where you recognize that “I am and aspect of I AM and sometimes I am thought through.” This is where you as the personal, “I am” are living in alignment with the universal “I AM.” The modern mystic Eckhart Tolle says it this way:-
No thought. Just Presence—Eckhart Tolle.
The spiritual master Jesus Christ says it this way:-
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?—Matthew 6:27
We receive spiritual guidance to the degree that you FEEL connected to Spirit.
You experience through your soul and not through your disconnection via the overthinking distracted personal mind.
Part II relates to How to Ask for Spiritual Guidance