The soul listens. It cannot help but listen since it is part of a greater whole which is the Soul of the Universe that is God, Spirit, or the One.
It listens for the inner Voice that resonates with the path of truth and light that is the way of the highest. It follows this way because it is its nature to do so, without conflict, without doubt, without a separated wish to act differently out of its own intrinsic desires.
The embodied self, by contrast, has to learn to listen. It has to remember how. For the connection with the voice of the One has, over time, dimmed for many. Now, it is reawakening. It is coming to our attention as a depth of knowing and a renewed awareness of a reality that lies behind the visible. This reality is beginning to make a claim on our senses, altering our perception of what life is truly about.
Listening and turning toward the Source of life, toward the Voice that operates as a ceaseless calling within the deepest layers of our being is the essence of a guided life. It is a life in which the basis for acting has shifted from doing what 'I' want to honoring the will of the Divine - adhering to the commandment 'Thy will be done.'
At times, even while seeking it, one may lose the feeling of guidance. At times it may appear that one has been left on one's own to do without it. These are the times of integration when the desire to turn toward the Source is being more completely merged with the human self so that no aspect of consciousness will remain beyond the pale of Divine light. Longing often participates in such a time of integration. It draws us closer to that which we long for. At times of longing and of feeling without guidance, the human self must be content with reaching - each day, each hour, each minute if need be, toward the Source of what it holds to be its deepest truth. Though the heart may wish for greater clarity, it must also believe in the power of its own intention.
Living a guided life is the inherent birthright of each human being, for each is connected with the Divine origin of their being in ways that are indestructible. Such a connection allows guidance to wash through the self like a wave that effortlessly becomes part of one's awareness, not necessarily as instruction or specific information, but as a sense of being in the flow of one's life, in the right place at the right time.
When guidance comes that touches us on the mental level as words or thoughts, then we have a sense of something particular that we feel we must do. This arising impulse does not come with a sense of coercion, but as a sense of truth and of rightness that brings joy to the heart because it gives life meaning. It may, at the same time, seem impossible to do what we have been guided to do, but the sense of meaning, joy, and rightness remains, even in the presence of doubt.
By contrast, a heart that feels guided, yet knows only anxiety and dread about where the guidance is taking it, is often dealing not only with the truth and light of the Source itself, but with other elements, as well, which are overlaying this inner truth. Light cannot create dread. It can only create goodness. Light mixed with negativity of any kind can create a mixture of feelings, however, especially the feeling of fear. Then, the experience of being guided will reflect a partial truth that contains the Divine breath of love, and another aspect that contains the element of fear. Because of this mixture, the direction one is being asked to follow can become unclear and lose its original purity.
It is the better part of wisdom to know which Voice to listen to and which to follow, a knowledge that one gains over time and through prayer. Prayer to be led along the way of the highest light or the highest path of truth is always effective. Whether known or unknown to the conscious self, prayer aligns the self with Divine purpose so that one's own will is progressively shaped in accordance with Divine will. This may not happen all at once, and it may not happen with conscious knowledge, yet the longing of the heart to follow the guidance of the higher self and of God leads the self inevitably toward the light.
For this reason, it is always useful to listen and to pray, not necessarily out loud, but with one's heart, and breath, and life. There are many ways to ask that "Thy will be done." At the same time, it is important to be free of judgment if one feels that one has let God down by not following the path of truth or by not feeling able to do what is being asked. Self-judgment comes from the ego, not from the Divine Creator who is always compassionate. To walk humbly before the Divine is all that is asked, not that mistakes shall never be made. In the presence of mistakes, to turn again to the Source of one's being and to ask to be shown the way - this is all that is needed in order to eradicate mistakes: listening and a humble heart.
Some guidance comes strongly to us with a sense of sweeping change that sends us careening in a new and unexpected direction, changing the outer shape of our life altogether. However, much guidance operates in a quieter way. It asks us to place each footstep behind the deepest choice we can make to follow the Divine and to be led.
From this perspective, decisions learn to be made in an entirely new way. Rather than thinking by ourselves that something should happen in this way or that, there is more often the initial sense of not knowing how something should happen, or needing to find out. This may take a minute or it may take a lifetime, for the way of guidance is timeless, assuming direction of one's life that is both within time and beyond it. Such guidance depends on the readiness of the embodied soul, and, at this time on the Earth, on the infusion of the planet itself with the higher vibrations of spiritual light.
In the end, the single most important quality of living a guided life is the wish to do so, for this wish more than any other influence creates an orientation of heart which ultimately brings to us the clarity, wisdom, support, and directions that we wish for. Whether such benefits are perceived by the mind or not, these aspects of guidance touch all that lives within, conveying truth directly to the deepest part of ourselves. In that deepest part, we learn to listen and we learn to hear. In this way, we come to live a sanctified and guided life.