The Still, Small Voice: Opening to Receive Divine Guidance and Intuition

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The Still, Small Voice: Opening to Receive Divine Guidance and Intuition

By Naveen Radha Dasi

The spiritual journey is inherently one you take alone, and yours is not the same as anyone else’s. As many monks, so many paths. So while you might have many questions, no one outside of yourself can provide satisfactory answers in many situations.

However, guidance is always available if you are able to perceive the voice of the Heart.

Meaning Out of Meaninglessness

God is always speaking. Every fiber of this world is none other than an expression of His inconceivable form.

Whether we see the events of our lives as a series of random occurrences, materially determined and without deeper significance, or as the unfolding of a subtle reality full of life and purpose and therefore deeply, personally meaningful—this is a choice, left to our freedom as individual beings.

Both views are valid, while neither is absolutely true. Reality does not answer to our stories and concepts, and from a certain perspective, it is all gloriously meaningless. With infinity contained in a grain of sand, nothing is any more or less significant than anything else. Things are as they are; they do not need an external justification.

Yet because it can be either way, take a leap of faith now and imagine that the universe is alive—that there is nothing but Life—and that the Consciousness that animates it is infinitely compassionate, infinitely wise, and infinitely concerned with you in particular.

Imagine that you are not just a walking bag of organic matter but a finely crafted divine work of art, expressing by your very existence a specific aspect of God’s infinite creativity.

Imagine that this Divine Consciousness wants nothing more than for you (yes, you who are reading this right now!) to turn towards it in love and allow yourself to be embraced.

From this vantage point, it seems only logical that the Divine, out of love and mercy for the individual soul lost in ignorance, would orchestrate everything in that being’s life (indeed, everything in the universe) precisely to guide them home in the most beautiful and effective way possible.

Following the Soul’s Intuition

Now, there are no more accidents. Nothing happens by mere coincidence, and nothing happens by mistake.

Instead, life is a flow of synchronicities and subtle guidance. Small signs, intuitions, unexpected words of truth spoken by strangers—all of these can offer a lesson, a direction, or a new perspective on a sticky question.

No prayer goes unanswered. Ask for help and it will be provided, albeit rarely in the way you might anticipate.

When you sincerely seek truth, Truth reciprocates by offering situations that carry some lesson, some opportunity to release, to open your heart, to confront where you are stuck, or heal where you are still tender and protective.

The rigid structures of the ego keep us from perceiving the harmony underlying daily life, and even when we recognize some connection, the ordinary mind is incapable of interpreting it. This is why we tend to react out of concern for gain and loss, judging events by how much they benefit our ego interests rather than how they support our spiritual evolution.

Only the soul, which wants to return to its Source almost as desperately as the Source yearns for its return, can understand this inner language and follow its guidance.

When you are quiet enough to perceive that still, small voice, it will always guide you precisely where you need to be.

Is It Divine Guidance or Only a Subconscious Impulse?

However, you must always have discernment. How can you know whether the message or impulse you perceive is really direct guidance from the Heart or your own desires and subconscious tendencies? Are you in the flow or only following the path of least resistance?

If you are unsure, it might help to explore the following questions:

Is it aligned?

Yama and niyama are not only guidelines to help us progress in yoga but express a transparency in which the radiance of the Heart manifests in one’s behavior. Therefore, any course of action not clearly in coherence with yama and niyama should be questioned.

In general, when you act in alignment with the Divine Will, you feel more openness, freedom, and peace. Look for this sense of love and natural flow when making a decision.

Is it challenging?

Following the Heart’s guidance, you enter into a flow where life happens in its own perfection, without a sense of personal effort or struggle. And yet, this does not mean it is always comfortable or easy. On the contrary, if you feel called to do something difficult or scary, and this option is more inspiring than an easier alternative, it might be your deepest intuition helping you evolve out of your limitations.

Is it constant?

Emotional urges tend to fluctuate. You want one thing one moment, the opposite thing in the next…

If an impulse persists even while your moods and mental ideas change, and it feels very close to that still, quiet center of your being, it may come from beyond mind and emotions.

Is it authentic?

Ultimately, there are no definite rules for understanding what messages are truly divine guidance, especially since the Heart speaks to us through the mechanisms of knowledge that we have available—our emotions, insights, intuitions, and signs from the external world which we may or may not recognize or know how to interpret.

The only way to know for sure is to come naked in front of your own heart, into that space of true authenticity and vulnerability where you are willing to let go of all preconceived notions.

Humility and the Limits of Knowledge

And although there is so much available to be learned and understood, the movement should always be toward needing to know less.

It is not that once you become fluent in the language of intuition, you will always see clearly what you should do. Rather, you begin to live more in surrender to the mystery. You start to recognize how your human perception illuminates only as much as shining a flashlight up at the night sky.

In an attitude of humbleness, you accept the limitations even of your intuitive understanding. Sometimes, part of the lila is to be completely baffled, unable to count on any of your senses, and the only option is to surrender to God.

Trusting the benevolence of that supreme intelligence behind all manifestation, you can walk the concealed path with peace in your heart, unknowing of anything beyond the living space of the present moment.

This prayer of Thomas Merton, published in Thoughts in Solitude, encapsulates this humility and surrender so beautifully.

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.”

Naveen Radha Dasi is a Hridaya Yoga teacher and a frequent contributor to our blog. You can read all of her posts here.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Amy

    This is such a beautiful musing. Thank you for your guidance and insight.

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