Tuesday, August 19, 2003
(Can you tell I'm clearing out my hotmail inbox?? :) )
Signs When You Need Them
by Alan Cohen
While driving home one day, I noticed that someone had posted some cardboard signs along the roadside, leading guests to a party on my street. I live out in the country where there are no city blocks, with many curving roads and irregular intersections.
I saw that the person who had posted the signs, placed them at the crucial intersections. At every important choice point, there was a sign. I drove for long stretches past numerous smaller intersections, where there were no posters. Then, when I again reached a crucial intersection, there was another clear marker.
It occurred to me that this is how Spirit gives us guidance -- we get signs when we need them. Whenever you arrive at a critical choice point, information shows up to help you decide. If you are not getting a sign, you are probably not at a crucial intersection. That's the time to just keep going and enjoy the ride. When you are ready to know, you will. If you don't know, it is not time yet. In the meantime, just breathe, trust, and find the blessing where you are.
If you are seeking direction, pray for guidance. Then let the universe deliver your answer in the right way, place, and time. If,
upon completing your prayer, you do not hear a voice boom from heaven, shout your name, and bellow, "This is what you must do!" don't freak out. Give the Great Spirit a chance to deliver your message when you most need it. It will come.
Guidance often arrives in uncanny and synchronistic ways. I met a fellow who prayed for a sign to help him decide whether or not to accept a promotion that would require him to relocate his home and family to a distant city. Then one night he came home late and saw a "For Sale" sign on his lawn. Since his wife was already sleeping, he did not want to wake her. The next morning he asked her about the sign. "What sign?" she asked him. "The one on the lawn," he told her. The two walked outside, and no sign was to be found. The fellow deduced that he had indeed been given a sign. He took the job, and
the move ultimately turned out to be a success for everyone.
A man at a seminar told me he prayed for direction one morning, and then that afternoon as he walked out of a restaurant, the wind blew a piece of paper against his knees. He picked it up and discovered it was a flyer for my seminar that evening. He attended, and subsequently his life changed.
Another friend decided he wanted to become independently wealthy and retire at a young age. He prayed for help with this project. The next morning when he went out to jog, as he turned a corner he saw a book someone had left on top of a trashcan: Your Money or Your Life. He took the book, read it, and found the wisdom he needed. Now he is well on his way to riches and early retirement.
If you act anxiously to hasten your answer, you inhibit your ability to receive guidance, and delay its arrival. In such a situation your wisest move is to step back from frenetic activity and return to peace. I once needed to find a particular document to resolve a financial snafu. I searched for it nervously, and only grew more confused and frustrated. Finally I realized I was getting nowhere and decided to sit down and meditate to clear my mind. I let go of trying to locate the paper, and relaxed. Toward the end of my meditation, an image popped into my mind, showing me a certain folder toward the rear of a file cabinet. I looked in the folder and there was the document.
I use a very successful method to receive guidance. I call it "The Truth Smoke-Out." Whenever I am not sure what to do, I say to the universe, "Just show me what I am to do here. I am willing to do whatever is in the best interest of everyone involved. Give me a clue, and I will follow." Then I release the situation. I give up any preconceived notion about how this is supposed to turn out, and when I am supposed to know. Sometimes the answer comes instantly, and sometimes it takes a while. But it always comes.
In the Greek version of the Bible, the first translation from the original Aramaic, two different words are used for our word "time." One is chronos, which is equivalent to our understanding of time in seconds, minutes, and hours. The other word is kairos, which can best be translated as "in God's time" or "at the right time" or "when the time is ripe." In our culture we are used to living in chronos. But there is an entirely more important element of time, which is timing. That's kairos. Practice living in kairos, and answers arrive at the perfect time. God is at least as smart as the person who put the signs up for the party.