Are you one of those people who talks to God? I’m not referring to formal prayer but rather to those times when you glance at the sky and pose a question to the universe. We all do. But when you pose a question to God (or the universe, or whatever term you’d like to use), are you really ready to hear the answer?
Most of us aren’t even aware of our frequent requests to the universe. How many times a day do you find yourself making statements like this: “Please, God, let me make this light,” “Okay universe, I could really use some help winning the lottery,” or my personal favorite, “What the hell do I do now?”
For many people, these questions are simply an expressive form of inner communication. We pose questions out loud in an effort to clarify our own thoughts and sometimes we earnestly ask for direction or help with a challenge. Usually we don’t expect an answer.
But what if you get a response?
In actuality, the universe is always responding to you, answering your deepest questions, giving you clues on your next direction and guiding you on your personal spiritual path. The universe speaks through many avenues and it’s up to you to listen for the advice you so humbly asked for. This is a brave process. It requires attention and a willingness to act upon the information you receive.
Frequently, when we ask a question of God or the universe, we are not ready for the answer. Sometimes we’re scared of the answer because it would mean moving out of our own comfort zones. Other times, we receive answers from the universe but we don’t understand it as such and therefore discount what we’ve just heard or experienced.
Learning the language of the universe is extremely important and may feel like a lifelong process. Taking the time to understand and then recognize this language helps you understand that you’re not alone in this world. It helps you feel connected to spirit and helps you make decisions and determine next steps when you need them most.
How the universe speaks to us
On rare occasions, the universe hands you an answer to your question with such authority, it’s hard not to take notice. That was certainly true for me last week when I received news that a publisher rejected my book proposal. I was, to say the least, disappointed. After spending six months working on the proposal, I was disheartened and started questioning my future. Should I look for an agent to market the book? Should I give up writing altogether? Should I start another project?
After earnestly asking for direction from the universe, my first step was to forget the whole matter. Too often we want immediate answers to our questions and then get mad at the universe when it doesn’t materialize an answer in thin air. I posed the question out loud and resolved to let the matter settle a bit while I allowed my emotions to flow about the proposal.
Two days later I was talking to my sister about the proposal. I told her my disappointment and outlined my options, including the idea for a new book that was rolling around in my mind. About an hour later, I retrieved the mail. In the stack of bills and circulars was an envelope addressed to my father who’s been deceased for 15 years. It’s not unusual for him to get mail still and I usually just throw it away. But this envelope caught my eye and for some reason I opened it. Inside was the guidance I was looking for.
In big bold letters was a book cover with the title, “Write your book…NOW!” The flyer was for a book advising others how to write and publish their own book. Although I wasn’t interested in the book itself, the message was hard to miss. The universe was shouting at me and it was time to get started writing.
Deciding on a job or career change can be difficult. For me, I was aware of only my growing dissatisfaction with my first marketing job after college. I had grown significantly in the position, but was starting to get in regular disagreements with coworkers and was becoming intolerant of my new boss. Still, leaving the job didn’t seem like the thing to do.
Over the course of the next several months, I began to get colds and strep throat frequently–very frequently. These bouts of illness would require me to stay at home for several days. Once I healed, I would return to work and get frustrated all over again. I asked for help from God. But when no clear answer came, I returned to my familiar, if not uncomfortable, life.
I had been expecting some sort of clear revelation from the skies above. I wanted a job to fall into my lap or a winning lottery ticket to take me away from it all. It felt like no body was listening.
The universe had been talking to me…in a whisper. Yes, illness can seem more like a shout (especially if you’ve ever experienced strep throat), but since the colds and strep were treatable, I didn’t get the message. On my fifth bout of strep in several months, the universe spoke to me again, this time in the form of a book about the psychological reasons for illness. It had been on my shelf for several months but I never bothered to pick it up.
Reading that book helped me understand that I created the illness myself (in cooperation with the universe) and that I’m responsible for my own happiness. Honoring myself was clearly the path I needed to take and God was showing me the way. I decided then and there that I would leave the job within several months.
When my friend Liz got engaged, a nagging sense of doubt kept creeping into her consciousness as she began planning the wedding. Although the wedding planning was easy and a lot of things fell into place, she still couldn’t shake the sense that something wasn’t right with the whole engagement. The only glitch was finding a place to hold the event. Things looked up when her future mother-in-law agreed to hold the wedding at her house and even volunteered to paint and wallpaper the living room for the occasion.
The day of the wedding, Liz arrived in her gown and makeup through the back of the house so as not to see her fiancé. Before walking into the house, she offered up a quiet prayer to guide her toward her burning question: “Is this wedding a good idea?”
As the wedding processional started, she descended the stairs into her mother-in-law’s living room, freshly wallpapered with four-inch stop signs in a repeating pattern. She thought it a strange design for wallpaper but brushed off the thought as the wedding began.
Needless to say, Liz’s marriage didn’t last long. And after her separation, it became clear to her how the universe was giving her a message, this time through symbols on wallpaper. “It’s so obvious when I think about it now. If only I had stopped to process it at the time,” she told me.
On a road trip through Colorado one summer, I became hopelessly lost. I dislike maps and so wasn’t using one to get me from town to town. But as the skies grew dark and with no civilization in sight, all I could see was a vast outstretch of land and a gas tank that was headed toward empty.
I tried to quell my sense of panic by reminding myself that everything was OK and that I would find someplace to refuel and stop for the night. But an hour later, there was only darkness ahead. I asked the universe for help.
About 20 minutes later, I had the strangest impulse to turn back onto a dirt road I had passed a few miles back. I’m not sure why the impulse was there and tried to talk myself out of honoring it; but before I knew it, I had turned the car around and headed toward that dark dirt road. There were no signs indicating what road it was or where it was headed, but my gut told me to keep driving.
After less than two miles of winding dirt road, the darkness ahead of me opened up and I could see city lights. I could clearly make out the signs for a gas station, hotel and McDonalds. I had unknowingly been driving around the back of a small mountain range and had found a small connecting road that led right into town.
My impulse—a direct form of communication from my inner self—had guided me right to safety. Had I ignored my impulse and kept driving forward, I may have run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
Once you hear it, act on it
If you’re lucky enough to recognize and understand when you’re being given advice from the universe, act upon it. If you ignore it, you’re in essence telling the universe, “hey, I asked for your advice but I’m not going to take it now, so don’t bother helping me in the future.” That’s a little over the top, I know, but being grateful for the advice you receive starts by taking action on it.
Acting on advice from All That Is helps sharpen your connection to spirit. It helps you develop a sense of trust within yourself and it helps you strengthen your intuitive and psychic muscles—something that will serve you well in every area of your life.
Ask powerfully; listen powerfully
Finally, it’s important to understand that when you ask a question of the universe, the universe will respond in kind. If you ask a question without much enthusiasm, the universe will give you little feedback. When your desire to know and to understand is strong, you’ll receive more definitive answers to your questions.
Please, be relaxed about this process. Anxious energy thwarts the process and keeps you from hearing the whispers and shouts of the universe. Approach your “question and answer” session with God with a curious, and somewhat playful, attitude. You can be serious in your questioning, but a relaxed approach will help you hear and feel the results you seek.