As someone who works with Spirit Guides on a daily basis, I spend a lot of time thinking about guidance: how it’s transmitted, how we can seek it out, what forms it takes, where it comes from, and so forth. Fascinating stuff.

Yesterday, I was thinking about the ways in which I receive guidance and wondering why the guidance doesn’t always come in a form that’s super direct and to the point. For example, in response to, “What should I do about x?” I don’t always get an answer of “Do this. The end.”

Now, to be sure, that sort of direct response does happen, but equally often the answer comes to me in symbols and other images or through synchronicity, tarot readings, and dreams. And even when I do get a direct response like “do this,” I often am not privy to the entire plan; the action step I’m given is but one stepping stone in a larger journey that is still largely a mystery to me.

I asked my Guides to help me understand this a bit more and, ironically, they gave me a very direct answer. (Hey, Spirit Guides have a sense of humor, too!) My Guides explained that if guidance was always given in a direct, precise manner, well, life would be boring. So boring.

My response was, “Yeah but…I don’t know. I think it would just be nice to have clear answers all the time.”

To which they replied, “Really? Would you watch a movie if the main character showed up on the screen, asked for the answer to her problem, a voice from the sky said, ‘Go to this town, meet this person, start a family, and everything will be fine,” and then the character went about doing just that, exactly as described? The end.” Okay, they had me there–that did sound hella boring. I wouldn’t be willing to sit through a two-hour movie like that, much less live an entire life that way.

They continued, “Humans are wired to get satisfaction from accomplishing challenging things, from pursuing things–not just from experiencing outcomes. If every day was just a string of getting one thing that you wanted after another, with no pursuit in between or mystery or anticipation, you’d turn to dust with boredom. There would be no impetus to get out of bed in the morning.” I couldn’t argue with that.

secret teachers of the western world“And further, there’s something else at play here: a preference for left-brain thinking over right.” Here, my Guides were referencing a string of books that synchronicity had delivered to me over the past month. The first, The Secret Teachers of the Western World, explored the idea that our society is currently very left-brain dominant, but that hasn’t always been the case. While modern prevailing thought values concrete “facts” and hard evidence, dismissing feelings and intuition as quackery, in previous times (and certainly, in various “alternative” groups today), dreams, intuitive knowing, symbols, and other right-brain ways of understanding the world were equally honored.

And the next book that came to me, a wonderful graphic novel, Unflattening, explored the difference between language and pictures, how language has trumped pictures in our left-brain society (for example, comic books are considered by many to be fluff; they’re not “real” literature), and how we can enrich our experience by blending the two modes of thought and perception rather than valuing one to the exclusion of the other. So, too, I was approaching guidance with the assumption that direct, language-based, “facts” are superior to symbols, dreams, and intuitive knowing, and that’s totally not the case; both are valuable.

flatWhen I looked back over my journal entries from the past few years, I saw this beautiful mix of direct, concrete guidance (“create this website,” “apply to this school”) and more symbolic guidance (powerful tarot readings, insightful dreams, books that were just what I needed to read at that particular moment in time). When the situation was best served by a direct answer, that’s what I received; when the process of finding the answer for myself was more in alignment with my highest good, that’s what I received.

When it comes to the latter kind of guidance, the more symbolic form, my Guides concluded with this, “Would your life feel more adventurous, fulfilling, and rich if you were given a Grail Quest…or a to-do list?”

Here’s to embracing the beautiful mystery and to receiving guidance in its many beautiful forms!