It was a dark and foggy evening. Char and I were driving home along a country road when, a few meters ahead, the bright red lights of a railway-crossing barrier started flashing.
The warning bells clanged and the barriers came down and Char pulled her van to a stop. A fast moving train rushed out of the darkness and roared passed, the railcars illuminated by the flash of crossing lights. As if we had been pulled into another world a sudden silence settled upon us. After a few moments I asked, “What’s the message of the flashing red lights?”
“Hmm,” she replied, “probably that we’re supposed to stop.”
“Oh, that’s not what I meant!” I said. “We both know that there are no accidents, so why has this train crossing stopped us NOW?”
Char had been waiting for days to tell me something that was upsetting her and we had spent the last hour on a walk along the Fraser River, deep in conversation. She had been feeling anxious and upset about a project she was involved with and she had convinced herself that it would be better for her to drop out. My friend Char is a very logical thinker and she laid out for me all her reasons for abandoning this project in such a steady stream that I was left with little to say. How could I refute such well thought out evidence?
What Is the Message Here?
Now on our way back, we sat, serendipitously stopped by a train that roared past endlessly in the night while Char considered: What is the message here? What am I not seeing?
Finally she said, “I’m never on the train, I’m always watching it go by. Once in a while I get tired of waiting and I climb aboard a train that I think might be going in the right direction — but then something happens: I get anxious and frightened. I think, “This can’t be the right train; it’s twisting and turning and going through all these dark tunnels. Who are these people who are traveling with me? I don’t know if I can trust them.” I get myself so worked up that I end up jumping off long before the train gets to where it’s going. Then, after the train reaches its destination, I hear from someone I met onboard and I find out that it was going where I wanted to get to, but now I’ve been left behind. And once again, I’m watching trains go by and waiting for the right one.”
“What an amazing metaphor,” I said. Could this train passing by now be a message from your higher Self? Perhaps it is asking you to consider another perspective, Char,” I said, gently.
“Yes,” she replied, quietly. “I think I need to go home and do some journaling around it.”
Guidance from Within
Guidance from our wise inner being is constantly being presented to us everywhere and in every moment. When we feel upset, agitated, and righteous it’s hard to hear communication from our higher knowing. The incessant chatter that goes on in our minds blinds and deafens us to synchronicity, coincidence and metaphor — all ways that our wise inner being communicates with us.
There are messages in books that you happen to come across; in magazine articles you are attracted to reading, in your environment and from your body. So, when your palm pilot crashes or your cell phone looses its signal, when you unexpectedly have time to read an Oprah Magazine in the waiting room, or when you suddenly get a headache or sore throat, get curious.
- What is the message here?
- What am I not seeing?
- What is it I need to know?
- Is there another way of looking at this?
One day, after running errands in Vancouver, I decided to stop in at Banyen Books rather than head straight home. On the counter there was a bowl of little inspirational cards. I picked one out and read…
“Be still. How else can you receive?”
Once again I was reminded that we just need to quiet that ever-chattering mind long enough to remember that at any given moment we have a choice — to listen or not to listen. Spiritual guidance is accessible to us anytime.