You've probably had the experience of an idea popping into your mind out of nowhere; or felt a powerful hunch in your gut. Maybe you "saw" something, as in a vision. Or you heard an inner voice prompting you. Do you trust these forms of guidance, dismiss them, feel confused by them, or even worse, not even recognize/acknowledge them?
I've responded in all four ways, at least until I began immersing myself 8 years ago in books and training programs that focused on intuition and Higher Guidance. As a neophyte life coach, I was looking for a ways to facilitate change more quickly and deeply, both with myself and with my clients.
Over the years I've moved from hardly being aware when Higher Guidance hit my radar screen to seeing it as a natural part of my day to day life that I can recognize, trust, and act on. My ego voice does like to get in there to trip me up, and muddle me into confusion. But it doesn't happen as often.
Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., wrote a book a few years back called Divine Guidance. It's a plain-speaking, clearly written book that teaches readers two things: how to distinguish true guidance from false guidance; and how to more fully open up your channels to receive Divine Guidance.
In her book, Doreen Virtue discusses 12 ways you can distinguish true guidance from false guidance. This post will cover 4 of those ways, and the remaining 8 qualities will be discussed in the next 2 consecutive posts.
Characteristics of True (Higher) Guidance and False (Lower/Ego) Guidance
by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.
1. True Guidance has a mature tone and content. It's supportive and motivational, like an encouraging coach. There's a loving and energizing feel to it. False Guidance is immature. It encourages fearful thinking that tears down confidence, reduces enthusiasm, and inspires doubt.
Here's a powerful example. About 7-8 years ago, a coaching colleague called me up to ask me to step in for her to speak at a business dinner to take place in two days. She needed to fly to Europe for business. I turned her down. Although I was free that evening, I felt afraid that I couldn't possibly prepare to give a talk that soon. Truth be told, no matter how many times I did it, public speaking still gave me the nilly-willies. As soon as I hung up the phone, I heard an inner voice, like an angel speaking into my right ear. I was told enthusiastically that I could easily come up with a topic that I'd enjoy speaking on and to say "yes" to this request. Much to my surprise, I phoned my colleague back, agreed to give the talk, and experienced one of my most memorable and positive talks. Who would have thought it? Obviously not my lower self.
2. True Guidance is consistent. False Guidance switches topics impulsively. True guidance repeats itself consistently over days, weeks, months, even when we don't heed it. It doesn't change, unlike false guidance, which creates chaos by giving us conflicting advice and changing the advice frequently. Your higher guidance may be telling you to take better care of your body; or to reach out to someone; or to take action in your career etc.
In the spring of 2003, I was repeatedly guided to make our home market ready for sale. This guidance persisted for weeks. Although we had no intention of moving, we made out a punch list of improvements and completed them over the next several months. Less than 8 months after receiving the guidance, my husband accepted an out-of-state transfer. We sold our home the first day it went up, for within $1000 of our asking price! This is such a powerful example of how the loving Universe wants to support us. Pay attention to persistent messages from your Higher Self and act upon them.
3. True Guidance talks about your life purpose or mission. False Guidance talks about how to compete with others. True guidance talks about life purpose in the theme of love and giving service to the world. False Guidance inspires fear and doubt, and tells you that you are too small and will fail, so why even try. If you've ever thought about changing careers, doing something different, or long to do the kind of work that makes a true difference, you are being nudged to fulfill your life purpose. Expect the ego to interfere and create fear, especially in the financial aspects of this kind of change.
My most persistent Spirit nudging over the past upteen months has been to ease out of 1-on-1 coaching. I've been guided to understand that it's time to create other vehicles for touching people and giving service. Writing plays an important part of creating new vehicles, but like a jigsaw puzzle that lays in a pile of pieces, I don't know what the completed picture looks like. And I don't have to. I just need to take the first steps and know that the guidance continues to come. I fully expect to be able to refer back to this post a few months down the road and share positive results. In the meantime, writing has made me feel more alive than I have experienced in a long time, a sure sign that this is coming from True Guidance.
4. True Guidance wants you to be joyful right now. False Guidance wants you to delay happiness for the future. True guidance nudges us to fulfill our life purpose throughout our lifetimes. It does not procrastinate but encourages us to work on the important stuff right now. True guidance assures us that Heaven backs us up with all the time, money, intelligence, creativity and contacts we need. False guidance makes us believe that we still are not ready, no matter how many books we've read, workshops we've attended, or degrees we hold. False Guidance encourages us to put higher priorities on the back burner, such as putting off exercising until the stars align, or delaying an essential project til the youngest daughter gets married, or going on a diet next month etc.
False guidance is ingenious in the ways it devises to delay us and make us believe that happiness lies in the future. These tactics include addictive behaviors such as compulsive eating, drinking, smoking, drug-taking, Internet surfing, shopping, television viewing etc. My personal favorite is staying busy as a way to avoid acting on Higher Guidance. It's much easier for me to check email and do laundry than to take action steps to market and promote myself.
The next post will cover 4 more of the distinguishing characteristics, so be sure and check back, or subscribe if you'd like to be notified by email or feed. In the meantime, stayed tuned . . . to your True Guidance!