Below are some key questions you can ask yourself when you think you may be receiving spiritual guidance. Keep in mind, a “yes” to a single one of these questions is adequate. And don’t interpret your answers to these questions literally, use these questions as a trigger to your own intuition and discernment.
Is it alive?
True spiritual guidance does not tell you to do anything that will make you feel dead inside, such as take the wrong job, or marry the wrong mate. Your rational mind may guide you to do something that feels deadening, but your spiritual guidance will not.
Is it kind?
If you feel you’re being guided to do something insensitive or unkind, reconsider. But don’t mistake kindness for people pleasing behavior. True spiritual guidance is kind, but it can also act as tough love, setting necessary boundaries. You may be guided to break a people pleasing, co-dependency pattern. Check the kindness level in your own heart, including kindness to yourself.
Does it feel exhausting, or fill you with dread?
True spiritual guidance may ask you to complete tasks on time, and to focus. You may even feel a tiredness, or feel you’re on the front line of something overwhelming. But even if your body is tired, you will also feel an excitement, positive flow of energy through your body, and a rightness and lightness of Being. You may feel scared, you may have butterflies in your stomach, but that’s OK. But if you feel dread, you can be certain that the guidance isn’t true.
Does it deplete or nourish you?
When spiritual guidance asks you to do something that requires a lot of energy, it will only ask you to do tasks that fill you with spiritual energy, and does not require you to give away all of you own personal energy.
Does it feel like chains on or chains off?
The Buddha has said, that wherever you find water, you can tell if it’s the ocean, because the ocean always tastes of salt. In the same manner, anywhere you find true spiritual guidance, you can tell it’s true spiritual guidance because it always tastes of freedom. Not comfort, not ease, but freedom. Comfort and ease can become a trap. Does your guidance feel like it could be a trap, or does it feel like freedom?
Does it feel natural, efficient, peaceful and graceful?
By interviewing different spiritual masters, Christian mystics, sages, shamans, and gurus, it was reported by the majority interviewed that true spiritual guidance usually feels very natural, efficient, peaceful and graceful.
Does it make sense?
While spiritual guidance may ask you to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense, common sense is still a useful discernment tool. It certainly didn’t may not make sense when spiritual guidance tells you to leave your job, but there may be a good opportunity down the road. If spiritual guidance is asking you to do something that doesn’t seem to make common sense, slow down, and ask for clarification and confirmation. If you’re not sure what to do, it’s OK to ask for more guidance.
Will it be harmful to anyone?
As with the “Is it kind?” question, this does not mean someone won’t get their feelings hurt when you set a boundary, and it also doesn’t mean you may not be guided to hurt someone who breaks into your house and threatens your children. It’s simply a reminder to you that if your guidance is potentially dangerous or harmful to someone, double check it.
Would Love do this?
What would love do? Sometimes love forgives the unforgivable. Sometimes love leaves a bad situation. Sometimes love sets a boundary. There is nothing more powerful than love in the universe.
How does it feel in your body?
Does your body feel expansive or contracted? Is it saying “yeah, let’s go!” or “Hell no!” When you think about what you feel is guidance, does it make you feel nauseous, do you get a headache? Does the thought of it make you feel exhausted or does it light up your heart? Let your body be your compass.
Are you rushing?
True spiritual guidance doesn’t rush you, unless someone’s life is at risk. If you’re unclear, pray for another sign, ask for a dream, or a clear gut feeling. Slow down, quiet your mind, and listen deeply. Pay attention, and you will get an answer. If you feel pressured, the answer is probably “Not yet.” A sense of urgency stems from fear and scarcity. True guidance isn’t fearful and there’s always enough.
Is it controlling or coercive?
If what you feel guided to do is controlling or coercive to someone else, stop. True guidance doesn’t coerce or control.
Is it ethical and aligned with core values?
Ethics may not be black and white, and you may be led into a grey area, but if you think your guidance is telling you to do something that might be a blatantly unethical, stop.
Will this cultivate peace?
Many things you enjoy can leave you feeling hyped up or on edge. Sometimes what we interpret as excitement is actually a stress response. Choose the friends, work, and experiences that encourage relaxation responses in your nervous system, rather than a stress response.
What’s true and not true about the situation?
Sometimes you can get confused, because you think there’s a black and white answer. But maybe it’s both or neither. Sometimes the solution that resonates in your heart is a paradox.
Is your guidance true” Consider these questions, and see if they help in your discernment. Don’t be afraid to seek out trustworthy guidance from a spiritual counselor, a reputable intuitive, energy healer or shaman. Often, they can help confirm what you already know in your heart.