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Part II – How to Ask for Spiritual Guidance

how to ask for spiritual guidance

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At the beginning of your spiritual journey you are unlikely to be fully engaged with the practice of disidentification with the personality. You will more likely be asking for guidance from that dimension of the personal other than what the mystic Joseph Brenner refers to as The Impersonal Life (the book Elvis Presley reading at the time he died).

Spiritual guidance is only for soul revelation because Source energy does not recognize the personal self as REAL. This is why, in the opinion of this writer, why most prayers go unanswered.

There are only a few primary ways for asking for genuine spiritual guidance. These are:-

  • Meditation.
  • Prayer
  • Contemplation

There may be other ways for seeking spiritual guidance but I write from direct personal and transpersonal experience. I am not writing about what, for the most part, is not my experience.

The approach I invite for asking for spiritual guidance uses a mystical approach.

These are the techniques that all mystics of various times and traditions recognize as the way to be in communion with the Divine.

A mystic is someone who has had a direct revelatory experience of God and whose focus is in living life in surrender to and embodiment of that experience.

The key aspects of such mystical practices are:-

  • Stillness
  • Silence
  • Receptivity

The premier way in which to receive spiritual guidance is outlined in the following spiritual instruction

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (Stillness), and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret(Silence); and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Receptivity). – Matthew 6:6 KJV

Let me unfold that instruction as it is intended to be practiced. All the instructions below relate to the practice of meditation, prayer and contemplation in the mystical tradition.

The Closet

The Closet refers to bringing your attention within. It doesn’t literally mean entering a closet which has been a practice in some fundamentalist conferences attended by Bill O’Donohue of Hidden Meanings.

The Door

The door you are to close refers to the senses so you move into that inner dimension beyond sensational. For beginners seeking spiritual guidance the door of the senses is are closed by focusing on the breath. (Spirit)

Your Father

Jesus Christ used the word “Father” (translated as “Abba” in Aramaic) to refer to his direct connection with God is Love.

He wasn’t referring to some old bearded white male somewhere above in the Heavens throwing thunderbolts down upon his errant children.

The word “Father” refers to “Spirit.” Don’t get caught up in words or images here because this is more distraction. No words can describe the reality pointed to by the words, “Your Father” or “God.”

Seeth in Secret

Here is the real Secret. This is not the popular Cosmic Ordering practice that is known as The Secret or The Law of Attraction.

There is nothing attractive about the ego dictating to the Cosmos about how things should be. There is everything attractive when you align your soul with Cosmic purpose.

The REAL Secret is that the Secret of Secrets is inside you (Anna Ahkmatova) It is waiting for you to be seen through. It is waiting for you to feel envisioned.

Do you not think Creation that created you for its own purpose KNOWS HOW TO manifest your best vision? In silent interiority it reveals the Secret. You don’t have to ask but you have to be receptive.

Reward you Openly

You are rewarded openly because you are open to receiving what is intended by Creation to be given through you. This is Cosmic intention happening through you.

It isn’t something you earn. It happens because you are open and in alignment with the true Secret. There is no dictating HOW you are to be rewarded which is the FALSE Secret promoted from the FALSE Self (Thomas Merton).

You are not dictating to the Cosmos but one who is a servant of Love’s purpose which is your real purpose that makes you wonderfully attractive.

From many years’ experience that I call The Journey of Prayer this is what I find is the most powerful practice for receiving spiritual guidance. It is almost non-guidance because in a very real sense it becomes a happening.

The focus moves from looking for guidance to a focus on affirm that the will of the Divine be done through you. Then you do not really need guidance. What you then give your attention to is how to be receptive to the way that Y-E-S is being expressed through you.

This is the real secret and it is magical.

How to Recognize Spiritual Guidance

Part III is about how to recognize spiritual guidance. In this part I share with you the practices I engage with in order to invite such guidance.

Practices to Invite Spiritual Guidance

practices to invite spiritual guidance

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I liken spiritual guidance to gardening. You prepare the ground for what is seeded within you and which is intended to bloom through you.

How I prepare the ground is through daily spiritual practices. There are myriad spiritual practices available. It is for you to explore what works for you and speaks through you. It is your journey. You are a unique garden of potential.

It’s your road, and yours alone.

others may walk it with you,

but no one can walk it for you.

― Rumi

The spiritual practices from which I recognize spiritual guidance are:-

  • Yoga Nidra
  • Dreamwork
  • Writing/Journaling

I share these practices and the way I use them. It is not for me to tell you what to do. I point you in what I think is the direction of soul connection.

Yoga Nidra for Spiritual Guidance

yoga nidra for spiritual guidance

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Yoga Nidra is my favourite practice other than writing and journaling. I find the practice of sitting meditation challenging. The practice of Yoga Nidra is challenging in a different way, but I find the daily commitment to the practice much easier.

My approach to Yoga Nidra may not be everyone’s approach. I see it and feel it to be the practice of embodied spirituality through affirmative and contemplative prayer. It has the ingredients of:-

  • Stillness
  • Silence
  • Receptivity and
  • Affirmation

Affirmation is through the practice of Sankalpa.

Sankalpa is a short affirmative statement that affirms your true heart’s desire in alignment with your soul purpose. Yoga Nidra fulfills the instruction as outlined in the about reflection on the Lord’s Prayer.

If I were to recommend only one practice for learning how to recognize spiritual guidance, then Yoga Nidra would be that practice for unifying body, mind, and heart in alignment with soul and Spirit.

Dreamwork for Spiritual Guidance

dreamwork for spiritual guidance

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I don’t always love dream work. For a very long time, that is of recent times, the contrast between my outer life and inner life through dreams puzzled me.

In my outer everyday life, I felt creative, energized, happy, and fulfilled. In my inner dream life, I was hateful, angry, enraged, murderous, despairing, and abandoned. There would be mornings I would wake up and think, “What the hell was that all about?”

More and more, I love dreamwork whether the dreams are pleasant. I now recognize simple patterns in the dreams that are healing. I no longer engage in a long practice of analyzing dreams. My dream life is much clearer to me, even if not that pleasant. This is a premier practice in learning how to recognize spiritual guidance.

Mostly, the dreams are around issues of abandonment, insecurity, and not belonging. Then there are the feelings of murderous rage around the experience. I allow them to be. I know why they are. They are doing their own thing.  I don’t have to act them out in the world.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.- Carl Jung.

Dreamwork requires commitment. This is a practice of emptying that the Founder of The Metaphysical University Dr. Paul Leon Masters refers to as, “Emptying the trashcan.” This is emptying all those unloved aspects of yourself and integrating them into your Y-E-S—your energy system.

Journaling for Spiritual Guidance

journaling for spiritual guidance

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This is one of my most favorite spiritual practices for recognizing spiritual guidance. I see myself as a writer about the journey of spiritual awakening as a process and as a revelation. I do this through a love of mystical poetry, song lyrics, and mythological storytelling.

This is my way of exploring the challenging and wondrous gift of living as part of, but never apart from Love’s Purpose.

I have been writing about the spiritual journey now for over twenty years. It is my way of getting in the zone. There will be Ahha moments. The blank page holds no fear for me. It is like the practice of gazing at a Zen wall.

Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding. Jen Williamson.

I begin with intention and have learned to get out of the way. I am not looking for guidance, but guidance comes. When it comes is not for me to dictate.

I am the gardener tending the garden of the soul. What flowers there is not for me to decide. What I love most is sharing the flowers (the insights) that arise from this garden of Grace.

These insights are not mine in any personal sense. They flower through me. I am blessed to partake of what Rumi refers to as the perfume of the Beloved.

As any mystic (direct KNOWER of Divine Love) will tell you this is more than enough. Your work then becomes to live as one who walks the world in Beauty as a willing and delightful fragrance of Divine Love.

Love is spiritual guidance par excellence.

Other Aspects of Spiritual Guidance

other aspects of spiritual guidance

Spiritual Direction for Walking the Path

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Let me briefly write about two other ways that answer the question, “How to recognize spiritual guidance?” I only write about I KNOW through direct experience.

What I share here is through information but also through personal experience. The two aspects that are informational are:-

  • Spirit Guides and
  • Spiritual Direction

Spirit Guides

The nearest understanding of spirit guides that has meaning in my life is through channeling. Such channeling I have benefited from through reading includes:-

  • A Course in Miracles—Foundation of Inner Peace
  • Conversations with God—Book I—Neale Donald Walsch
  • The Jesus Trilogy—Gina Lake

All the above writings have, in their own way, provided me with wonderful invitations that have guided the progressive journey of spiritual awakening.

I have never had spirit guides through angels or entities speak to me to direct my life.

In that respect, I feel I have nothing I can contribute to spiritual guidance on such matters. It is for others who have had such direct experience for you to go to if this is a focus you wish to explore.

I share below one of my very favorite lessons from A Course in Miracles. This is Lesson 49 – God’s Voice Speaks to me throughout the Day. As with much that is spiritual wisdom, do not take this literally.

Here is one of my favorite invitations for recognizing spiritual guidance. If I were to choose only one lesson to live from A Course in Miracles, I think I would choose this one. Do not take this invitation literally. You will not be hearing a voice. I have only ever heard such a voice twice in my life. However, when you hear it, you never forget.

1. It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized and highly uncertain.

2. The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign for­ever. Try to hear God’s Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.

3. We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear God’s Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.

4. Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.

5. Do not forget to repeat today’s idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary, but closed when possible. And be sure to sit quietly and repeat the idea for today when­ever you can, closing your eyes on the world, and realizing that you are inviting God’s Voice to speak to you.

Spiritual Direction

receiveing spiritual direction

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I have only ever sought spiritual direction at one time. This was from Sangharakshita (Dennis Lingwood) who was the founder of The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (now The Triratna Buddhist Community).

This was when I was considering becoming an Order Member of this Buddhist group. I remember more about the sense of Presence and acceptance that I felt with him rather than what he said.

I think spiritual direction has value, but I have clear reservations about it. In my experience it is often tied to the views of the people giving such direction and such views are heavily influenced by the path they are following.

There has been for me the sense that what is important is not the direction I am being called toward but more about being faithful to groupthink. This has always been a red flag for me. It is the reason I have not stayed with any group in the long term.

Spiritual direction is about soul alignment and not about belonging to some in-group or specific teachings. This can stand in the way of you learning how to recognize spiritual guidance arising from within. Tradition has value, but it can become far too rigid. Spiritual direction is about encouraging the individual to explore how the Spirit is pushing to express through them.

On this website I offer spiritual direction. I can sum this up in one word. This is the word “Trust.” I have only one wish, which is a kind of mantra.

I wish that when you are lonely and in darkness that I could show you the magnificence of the Light of your own Being—Hafiz of Shiraz.

It does not interest me that you become a believer or a follower of a particular religion.

I am interested in pointing you toward ways in which you are true to how Creation created you to delight through you. In this way, you will find meaning, purpose and true prosperity.

Spiritual Guidance Summary

spiritual guidance summary

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine

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I hope that you found this reflection on “How to recognize Spiritual Guidance?” of value. I no longer seek such guidance. I am more interested in being available to such guidance. Seeking and allowing are not the same.

I have faith that if I need such guidance, it will be given.

Much seeking is really about the needs of the personality rather than the soul. Spiritual guidance is much more about removing the blocks to such guidance than trying to access it. Rumi says it this way:-

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.—Rumi

These blocks relate to those aspects of ourselves that we view as demons (Jamie Catto).

When we allow our unloved energies, the light of day (not that we indulge in negativity) we turn them into our Daemons. Such Daemons are symbolic of our connection to spiritual guidance. They arise and allow us to recognize that we are “insanely gifted.”

Let me finish with some bullet points related to aspects of spiritual guidance.

7 Key Points Related to How to Recognize Spiritual Guidance

  1. Spiritual Guidance is for your Soul not for your personality.
  2. Spiritual Guidance is not spiritual direction.
  3. Spiritual Guidance comes from the alignment of the personal will with the Will of the Divine.
  4. Spiritual Guidance is Being KNOWN through.
  5. Spiritual Guidance is Intention allied with Attention
  6. Spiritual Guidance is feminine.
  7. This is for you to share.

Exploring spiritual guidance and how to recognize it is an ongoing journey of exploration. The more I explore it, the more I realize it is a happening. The experience and the experiencer are one.  As it says in the Bible, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask.”

The key to spiritual guidance is not in the asking but in the willingness to be receptive. I have intentionally left the 7th Key Point related to Spiritual Guidance empty (This is for you to share). I would love to hear what you consider a Key Point related to How to Recognize Spiritual Guidance.

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Writer - Storyteller - Musician at Yoga Journey for Life
Writer of Awakening the Heart - 21 Ways for Following Love's Message. Also author of Being Beautiful - Learning to Treasure the REAL YOU. Workshop Leader in Learning to Companion YOUR Greatness.
Tony Cuckson
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