Higher Guidance/Higher Self:
It's Closer Than You May Think
by Jim Malloy
Have there ever been times in your life when you needed some guidance?... some direction in life, or a bit of help making a major decision? Where did you turn? To a trusted friend? A family member? An astrologer or psychic? Maybe you found some helpful direction from these sources, or maybe not. Did you ever wish that there was a higher source of wisdom and guidance you could turn to? One that is free from human bias, whose wisdom is absolutely trustworthy? This higher source of guidance does, indeed exist, and is closer than you may imagine. It is always available to you.
Each of you has at least one spiritual guide that is "assigned" to you, and stays with you throughout your life to assist you as needed. (This is not the same as your guardian angel.) You also have what is called your Higher Self. Your Higher Self is that part of your consciousness that is one with Spirit, and therefore, always in touch with the Higher Cosmic Wisdom. Your spiritual guide and your Higher Self assure that there are at least two higher sources of guidance available to you.
Now even though this higher guidance is always available to you, when you begin meditating and traveling your spiritual path, an interesting shift occurs. The light of your Inner Spirit begins to shine more brightly, and this light becomes a sort of beacon, signaling those in the higher spiritual realms that your spiritual journey has truly begun. To assure that your journey goes along in harmony with the cosmic plan, you begin to attract various teachers and guides to fill special needs for your soul's growth.
These wise and loving beings, who are present to help you travel your spiritual path, gently and quietly suggest possibilities and positive choices whenever needed. However, this must be done without interfering with your free will. This is very important, because cosmic law dictates that your freedom of choice cannot be taken away. This is especially true here on Planet Earth, where learning to make choices is an essential part of the curriculum. So your guides won't make your decisions for you, or tell you what you "must" do. Rather, they will gently whisper suggestions, and then leave the rest up to you.
This effortless collaboration with your guides is occurring more than you may know. Much of the time when you are making life choices, you are receiving higher guidance. (I'm not referring to mundane choices, such as which kind of breakfast cereal to buy, but choices that have a reasonable impact on your life or the lives of others.) You may not be aware of it, but your guides are there, assisting you.
For example, have you ever been heading somewhere and had a sudden urge to stop at a place that wasn't on your planned itinerary, only to run into an old friend. Perhaps this friend has some information for you - or vice versa - that turns out to be quite meaningful. Or perhaps your meeting leads to some positive new opportunity for one or both of you. These kinds of synchronicities begin to occur more frequently for those traveling their spiritual path. And what's behind them? It's your spiritual guides whispering gentle suggestions in your ear. This guidance process can be easy and spontaneous... part of the natural dynamic of your life.
Speedbumps on the Path However, sometimes you may go through periods when it seems as though the choice-making process is a struggle. You may feel confused, ambivalent, or completely clueless. At these times, something is obstructing the clear flow of inner guidance, as well as the clarity of your own thinking process. What causes this? The most common cause is the constricting anxiety that comes from "over-importantizing" decisions... giving too much weight to the outcome.
What often adds to the anxiety, is the notion that there is one right choice, and we have to discover what it is. There is a tendency to feel - either consciously or unconsciously - that if we make the right choice, The Universe will smile upon us, doing everything possible to support us. Our road will be smooth and easy. Everything will work out perfectly... the right choice will lead us to nirvana.
But if we make the wrong choice... take the wrong road, we fear that we will encounter countless obstacles, and nothing will work out favorably. Although we may blame "The Universe" for making this road so hard to find, it is generally the anxiety of thinking we must find the one right way that makes it difficult.
Now, sometimes there is one choice that is more in harmony with your soul's plan, and may well lead to greater joy than the other choices. However, when this is the case, The Universe does not obscure it just to see if you can find it. That would serve no positive purpose. On the contrary, it tends to post signs flashing "this way," all around you, and in every corner of your psyche. And if you do happen to choose another route, The Universe does not withhold it's unconditionally loving support because of it.
However, quite often there is not just one road that you are meant to take, but several possible roads, leading to several "possible futures" that will all bear fruit in some way. And all will have their joys as well as their challenges. From the higher cosmic perspective, your soul's growth is the top priority, and life is set up so that even the dumbest choices will open a doorway to growth and valuable spiritual lessons.
Follow Your Bliss If you ask for higher guidance, more often than you may imagine, your guides will encourage you to do what you love, i.e. to follow your heart's desire... your highest ideal. Or as the great mythologist, Joseph Campbell put it, to "follow your bliss." Of course, that excludes anything that will cause anyone any harm. Such choices may catalyze a feeling of elation or excitement within you when you think about them.
On the other hand, there may be occasions when your higher guidance will encourage you to do what's best for all concerned, even if it does not seem so blissful. In such cases, you most likely know what to do already, but may try to ignore it, hoping your guides will get you off the hook with an easier course to take.
When you begin to understand these dynamics of choice and of working with your guides, things tend to lighten up considerably. You begin to feel free of the pressure, and are less likely to over-importantize, and agonize over decisions. Choices start to come more easily... sometimes instantly, sometimes emerging and taking shape gradually. You begin to trust more in your instincts and intuition. And when you aren't all knotted up with anxiety, you are way more receptive to the gentle whisperings of your spiritual guides. So the whole process once again becomes a spontaneous collaboration between you and your higher guidance.
Inviting Higher Guidance Of course, there may still be occasions when a major life choice is not perfectly clear, and you feel the need for some extra help. At these times, it's best to turn within and ask for higher guidance. In such cases, the same principle holds true... the more you can relax and not get all knotted up with anxiety over the outcome, the easier it is to be receptive to your guides. For these occasions, here's an easy exercise you can do to get in touch with your Higher Self when you need some guidance.
1. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Breathe easily and naturally.
2. Imagine yourself in a place where you feel completely comfortable and at peace. It may be somewhere in nature, a room where you feel very comfortable... wherever you feel most at peace.
3. Picture a being of light approaching from a distance. You can see that this being is radiating great peace, love, and wisdom.
4. As he or she reaches you, you realize that it is your Higher Self.
5. Invite your Higher Self to sit with you. Notice how you feel completely at home and at peace in it's unconditionally loving presence.
6. Briefly explain the situation to your Higher Self, and ask for his or her guidance.
7. Then you can either sit quietly, waiting for the response... or you can carry on a dialogue with your Higher Self.
You may receive an answer immediately, or after a short time. Your Higher Self may give you an answer in the form of words, symbols, pictures, or just a deep knowing. The answer may be very specific, or it may come in the form of a higher truth, which sheds enough light on the situation to help you choose wisely. If you don't receive an answer while you are sitting, it's ok. You have still begun the guidance process, and that's important. Once you have begun the process, your guidance will most likely find you at a moment when you are not trying to find it.
Guidance from your Higher Self or your spiritual guides should always be gentle, and feel kind, compassionate, and accepting. It should never be a command (except in rare, life threatening situations requiring instant action). If a guide tells you that you "must" do this or that, it is not your Higher Self or a higher spirit guide. Simply disregard the advice, and ask it to move along.
Remember, you are being gently guided and lovingly cared for at all times. The more you learn to trust this, the easier it will be for your Higher Self and spiritual guides to assist you, and the more harmonious and enjoyable your journey will be.