his way or that way? Job A or job B? Stay or leave? Decisions bombard us every day to the point of choice overload. Whether big or small, constant decision-making has the power to weigh you down and pump you full of fear. In these moments, you wish you had someone or something to direct you toward the right path.
If you’re anything like the rest of us, your first instinct is to turn to the external world for answers. You might seek guidance from a trusted friend or family member. Or maybe you’ll turn to the Internet for opinions from experts, despite them being strangers to you. You put your trust about what’s best for you in outward authorities, neglecting the source that knows you best—your inner spiritual guidance.
Inspirational author and speaker Debra Landwehr Engle says turning to a higher power is the greatest support system people can choose for themselves. In her new book, Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, Engle encourages us to build relationships with our spirit guides. The reason people neglect to turn inward for guidance, Engle says, is because they often forget that they have it, or worse, don’t know they have one at all. “The last thing our ego wants is for us to connect to a higher power,” she says. “It wants to keep us stuck and small, putting limits on who we are and how we think.”
WHAT ARE SPIRIT GUIDES, ANYWAY?
Spirit animals, pure light, colors—spirit guides can appear in many different incarnations. While spirit guides communicate in various forms, their purpose is singular: to watch, teach, heal, and mentor us on our journey to higher consciousness; to gently but consistently guide us to stay on the path of our soul’s purpose.
Some might hear their guides while others can see them. And some just suddenly “know” something they didn’t know before. Engle says we have the experience that’s exactly right for us and our communication style. Communication with our spirit guides is telepathic and is observed during meditation, dream state, or deep, focused thought.
Engle’s own first realization of her spirit guides happened many years ago. During a session with a clinical psychologist who also performed past-life regressions, her guides appeared in front of her in the form of a team of cheerleaders. She recalls them being all dressed in white jogging pants and white sweatshirts with happy, animated expressions.
Going through a significant time of her life, Engle asked her guides about the purpose of her existence. They showed her signs of the Earth, with strands of energy running through it like spiritual nourishment. “‘That’s the energy of love,’ they said. ‘You’re here to bring love into this world as fast as possible,’” Engle writes in Let Your Spirit Guides Speak. In showing Engle her purpose, the guides helped her to release her fears and live the way she was meant to in her day-to-day routines. Spiritual guidance then became a part of Engle’s everyday life, showing up in surprising and unexpected ways and helping her grow into who she is.
“[The guides] surprise me with answers that truly support and enlighten my spiritual growth,” she says. “They take what we think is the problem and show us how it’s a blessing and a gift. My guidance is an ongoing conversation that I often take for granted because it’s such a natural part of my life now.”
GUIDING US TOWARD OUR GUIDES
Having a strong relationship with spirit guides isn’t a natural part of most people’s lives. In writing her book, Engle wanted to help people find direction and connect to their guides and their purpose. Her mission was to end the great epidemic of loneliness created by the constant negative and fear-based messages in the world today.
“Living without guidance makes for a very lonely place to be,” she says. “We can be surrounded by other people and still feel alone if we don’t really remember who we are and have this sense of connection.” Connecting to your spiritual guides comes with the comfort of knowing that you’re never alone. In all of the little frustrations and anxieties of everyday life as well as those big, stressful events, guidance keeps you safe.
Engle says spiritual guidance is available to everyone regardless of their religious beliefs—the guides have zero conditions. By virtue of being human, everyone has access to them. They are not hard to reach. You don’t have to make an appointment. They’re always right there; you just need to be willing to make contact.
But how, exactly, do we get to that place of personal connection with our guides? Spirit Guides Magazine had the chance to pick Engle’s brain on how to quiet the ego and allow room to let our spirit guides speak.
Sit quietly and spend time with your guides. You might not be able to see them, but they can see you. Give them your full attention (yes, that means turning the phone off!). In a noisy world, spirit guides whisper, so it’s vital to get yourself into a quiet space. Take a few deep breaths and listen. Engle advises not to go in with great expectations of what your guidance might feel and look like.
“The first time can be as simple as a puff of air, a memory, a flash of color,” she says. “Don’t discount or minimize it as nothing. That’s your ego getting in the way. Ask your guides to heal your fear-based thoughts so you can be fully present and aware.”
Ask specific questions
The guides cannot intervene unless you ask them to, as it violates your free will. Asking for help is key, Engle says, and nothing is too small or too big to ask for. “We put limitations on what we ask, but they’re always right there to help us. They’re our chauffeurs, our administrative assistants and, most of all, our inner counselors and coaches.” They can see the bigger picture that we simply cannot see. While your ego gets busy planning your life out, you can ask your guides if the path you’re on is the right path for your higher purpose.
The more often you take time to sit and develop the relationship with your guides, the more it helps you remember to turn to guidance rather than getting caught up in fear. Engle suggests sitting down and meeting your guides at the same time every day, even if only for one minute, to make a routine of showing up often.
Acknowledge your guidance
Take a moment to acknowledge your guides every morning, and thank them every night for their help. Ask your guides what you can do for them. They have a purpose, too. “They have messages to get out; we are their vehicle to do that,” Engle says. “If you’re having doubt or fear about their direction, the best thing we can do for them is to say ‘yes’ and follow their guidance. It can be years before we understand why they told us to do something.”
Continue showing up, and honor and respect the guidance, even if nothing “big” seems to be happening. Be willing to build your relationship with them. In doing so, you will open up a little more every day. “We don’t have to totally believe this,” Engle says, “but if there’s a light of willingness, the guides can work with that.”
Debra Landwehr Engle is the author of Let Your Spirit Guides Speak and The Only Little Prayer You Need.