Receiving guidance as a former atheist often feels crazy-making. I started this spiritual quest as kind of an exploratory whim when Christopher was ill, and it’s turned into something quite serious in my life. I’m grateful to know that I’m not the only one out there; in my last blog I cited data from the Pew Center for Researchwhich revealed that one-third of people receive and follow divine guidance.
That number also coincides with the approximately one-third of people who have a sense of their calling, or life’s purpose. For me, they’re one and the same. I’m curious as to how much overlap there is between those groups, though in the past I would’ve been one of those who had a calling without the benefit of guidance.
However, my guides tell me I’ve always followed guidance even though I didn’t realize it. I’ve always tried to make my most important decisions following my gut instinct, which in hindsight is a practice of conferring with my Higher Self, or soul. I don’t think they meant that I literally always followed guidance unless guidance included, even back then, making mistakes so I can learn.
I guess by that criteria, I probably have.
We sometimes ask why we are presented with unremitting challenges, which are actually there so we can learn and grow on that subject. Challenges are always opportunities to learn because if we already could easily handle the challenge, there would be little to learn from the experience. By learning in that manner, we master the topic, and also then potentially teach it to others, which may be related to our calling. That’s how that works.
We understandably might wish that we get a break from all this great learning and growth. After all, even kids get spring break, right?
We get breaks too, but if we have a glass-half-empty mindset, we will only notice when we are uncomfortable and having to learn a lesson. We’d be less likely to notice when we’re enjoying the fruits of our labor, relaxing, or resting. But just like school, the lessons get easier once we actually learn. In contrast, we fall farther behind if we continue to resist learning, since the lessons and life get progressively harder over time.
In short, resisting the lesson creates unhappiness. We’re in “school.” We’re here to learn. Just do it so you can graduate to the next lesson. It’ll make your life easier and you’ll be wiser in the end.
You don’t have to believe in guides and angels to understand this reality. Many of us know this already, whether we believe the lesson comes from God/Spirit, the universe, karma, or other. It’s how the world works IMHO, regardless of whether you believe the lessons are divinely ordained.
It’s not all just struggle. There are also invitations to grand adventures, as I’ve written about previously regarding our calling or our Hero’s Journey. You’ve reached a certain point and now you can “graduate” to a fantastic opportunity, where you’ll have a whole new set of lessons and challenges. That’s how it works. The lessons never end. You’re forever in school but at least you don’t have student loans for this education.
Guidance departs from my calling where I have also chosen to enlist guidance on the more mundane aspects of my life. I’m not necessarily recommending this to people, I’m simply sharing this as a reality of my spiritual journey. For example, I enjoy just going to the store for my errands and asking Spirit if there’s anything else I need, and Spirit will often guide me to something wonderful that I hadn’t thought of, or a great price on something I frequently use. I discovered frozen edamame in my local grocery store, cashew milk ice cream at a discount, a new energizing facial cleanser, and 30% off stuff I like to keep around the house like Special K cereal.
That’s better than cutting coupons.
Discounts aside, receiving and following guidance are not without issues. After all, as I mentioned earlier, messages are about what you need to know right now, not necessarily the factual truth. By receiving message I am accelerating the lessons and the challenges they bring. It’s not always comfortable or easy. I guess the cashew milk ice cream is some consolation, like Mom taking me out for a cone after a hard day. I feel that Spirit is sympathetic to my frustration and despair that I sometimes experience after a particularly challenging lesson, which are also the richest and most meaningful ones.
Just remember that lessons are like cost-averaging: Where you invest a fixed amount of money in your stocks each month. When the market is high, you get fewer shares but they’re doing well and growing. When the market is low, you get lower performing stocks but you get more of them. Either way it’s good, as long as you continue to stay in the game.
Lessons are that way too. The harder the lesson the richer the learning. The easier the lesson, the more you feel confident and capable, but you just don’t learn as much.
A win-win, either way, right?