What is it I need to know?

What do you do if you’re planning a trip, or you’re driving somewhere and find that you’re lost? Do you ask someone for directions? Do you find a map? Do you look on an app such as Google Maps? Or do you soldier on and not ask for help?


Reaching a fork in the road

In life, there are usually points at which we all arrive, not knowing what to do next. Perhaps we feel lost, or confused about the options and choices we have, or worst of all thinking that our options have run out.
I used to spend a lot of my life thinking that I shouldn’t ask for help – because I ‘should’ be self reliant. I thought it was a sign of weakness to ask for help! Can you imagine how lost I used to feel? Looking back, I can see that my thinking didn’t always serve me that well. I finally decided to start asking for guidance, and to trust that the answers would be there for me.

Learning to ask for guidance

For my 40th birthday, we had a trip to New York. I went to a bookshop near Columbus Circle, and I asked to be shown the book that I needed. I was on a MASSIVE ‘spiritual seeking’ mission at this time, and feeling quite lost and overwhelmed. I went across to a shelf and started rummaging, and a little book fell out and landed at my feet. It was Be Free Where You Are, by Thich Nhat Hanh, and it was my first introduction to mindfulness. I still return to it nowadays, and have given it to friends as a gift, because the teachings are so beautiful and simple. It was just what I needed at the point in time. It was also my first major experience of asking for and getting guidance.

Ask the right question

I have a question I ask now, when I’m looking for guidance and feel unsure about where to go next. I learned it from someone very wise, and I love to share it with other people.

This is how I do it. I sit quietly, breathing in a way that brings me out of my mind and fully into my body. Have you ever tried that? I follow the path the breath is travelling on the inhales and the exhales, and I feel how my body moves with the breath. It pulls me out of my thinking mind and helps me to be more present and alert to what is happening in my body. So there I am, taking some breaths and becoming very present in my body. After a minute or two,  I ask out loud or in my head this simple question. ‘What is it I need to know?’. 

The answers

I ask my question, and I listen. Sometimes the word or an image comes into my mind straight away. I may not know what that means in that moment, but I make a note of it, usually by writing it down in my journal. Sometimes, really extraordinary things happen when I do this. I may switch on the radio, and my answer is in the title of the song, or in something the presenter is saying. I may open the book and read the words that contain my answer. Perhaps someone else will unwittingly give me my answer in conversation.

Trust your guidance

We all have guidance from a part of our selves. Whether you believe that your guidance comes from your Higher Self, guides, Source, God, or your personal satnav, it’s there. Many spiritual teachers believe that your guidance is most potent when you ASK for it. 

So, why not ask? Ask this question, or your own version. I’d love to hear how you get on.