You May Call It Intuition; I Call It a Spiritual Warning

feet-in-water-on-sandThis past weekend I spent a day at Newport Beach. The weather was perfect—dry and sunny with a lovely breeze. I don’t get to the ocean very often, so this was a real treat. Most of my swimming is done in lakes and rivers these days. I love the water, including the ocean, but I’m not a particularly strong swimmer.

Tangent: In my spiritual belief system (I’m a Yoruba/lucumi priest), different divinities are said to be embodied in nature. Thus, Yemonja and Olokun are the spirits of the ocean.

Another tangent: Do you remember the E.F. Hutton television commercial with the fine English actor John Houseman? Essentially, it said “… when E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” It showed a group of people at a party stopping their conversation to hear what E.F. Hutton had to say.

The tide at the beach was coming in; the waves were large but not humungous. The undertow was minimal. There was a lot of red seaweed coming in with the tide, but it was supposedly harmless.

I was in the water for maybe five minutes working my way past the breaking waves when I began to feel chilled and afraid. I tried to stay in and work through my fear but found that I could not. I left the water and did not return. It took me a long time to warm up.

Now there may be a very reasonable explanation for all of this, but I think of it as having received a warning from Yemonja and maybe Olokun. What popped into my mind was my Ita or life reading that all initiates into the Yoruba/lucumi faith receive on the third day of the initiation process. My Ita says I need to be careful at the beach; I shouldn’t dive into deep water and I should watch out for the rays of the sun. Once I made the decision to get out of the water and listen to this divine feedback, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of my day.

This experience led me to think about how many times we receive spiritual information in the course of a day—quite often, I believe. How many times do we hear it? Not often enough, as distracted as we are by internal and external noise. What happens when we listen and follow the advice, suggestions, or warnings? We are safe and make wiser choices, or there are fewer negative consequences. And if we neither listen nor follow, what tends to happen? We get into or are subjected to trouble.

Some people may describe my experience at the beach as “intuition.” Coming from the Latin “intueri,” it means to contemplate or look inside. It is outside the realm of reason. I prefer to think of it more spiritually.

It’s not easy to be spiritually attuned. It takes practice. This includes letting go of the notion that WE know what’s best for us. However, it is a skill and mind-set that can be cultivated.

For starters, we can improve our attunement to divine guidance with belief in its existence. The concrete tools for learning to be open to divine guidance include focusing on the breath, meditation, quiet walking, and prayer. (No surprises there!) Improvement comes with dedication, time, and success. Meaning that when we listen and the outcome turns out well, we gradually learn to trust it more and more.

My experience at the beach confirmed for me that I need to pay better attention to the divine guidance that surrounds me. And like John Houseman and E.F. Hutton advise: listen.

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  • Margaret

    Margaret

    August 7th, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    This is so true because I think that many times the messages are being sent but we find that we are too busy to listen

  • Bo

    Bo

    August 7th, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    It makes me so sad to read this. It’s God rather than Hebejewhatever in the ocean who whispers words to your heart. I am glad He is still whispering to you and that He has not turned from you as you have from Him.

  • will

    will

    August 7th, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    man i know you must have been so scared i am sure like you never have been before. i am so glad you are okay and didn’t get hurt if we don’t listen to stuff like that we are in a world of trouble. again glad you are okay!!

  • Ned H

    Ned H

    August 7th, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Totally get what you are saying. Happens to me all the time. Stuff making me stop and listen every day. Can’t imagine what would happen if I ignored it. Thanks for bringing awareness to this. Can’t be stressed enough. That we stop and listen to what the universe is trying to tell us. Would probably prevent a lot of bad things from happening to good people.

  • Pollie

    Pollie

    August 7th, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I personally think listening is the hardest part.

    I am a very busy person by nature and always want to be doing things.

    Instead I need to learn to focus and be quiet.

    So much easier said than done!

  • Marcus

    Marcus

    August 7th, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I can never quite get the hang of letting go, allowing something that I know in my heart is in control, really fully be in control. I want to have a hand in everything even in those times when I know that ultimately I have no real control. I believe in those higher powers and in the control that He or She has over the world, so why can’t I find it within me to let it go, to accept that something is beyond me, and to let things play out how they are supposed to?

  • Liza

    Liza

    August 8th, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    The point is that we don’t have to argue over what the voice is as long as we acknowledge that it is there and that when it speaks, most of the time it is going to serve us very well to listen.

  • Ntine

    Ntine

    August 8th, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    God? the once thing we all find in different ways with different expression, is often it bring us back to a connection with nature, wether it be any part of it, I’ve taken to bush walking, and sea, and more walking, and not taking of any animals, being more helpful, and polite, saying thank you, and being peaceful as a man. There’s a change they say coming, as they, the zealots would say, and end to one way, a beginning and continuing or new idea that err all live on something just as alive as us, God perhaps?

  • daniel

    daniel

    August 8th, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    You are so brave to even post about this. There are so many who find this sort of spiritual talk just a bunch of hooey but I find it fascinating.
    Even though I might be reluctant to share my own feelings so openly I love reading about the experiences of others, and hope to one day feel that same freedom to share so openly some of my own.

  • lindsay

    lindsay

    August 17th, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    I’m christian, I absolutely believe in god and that listening and feeling what is around you is important. To know him gives you the answers you’ve needed perhaps for years. The feeling that you don’t feel good about something IS a warning, even if the person who put you there is a snake, even if no one is standing by you, it feels good to know that at the very least, god is always there. I couldn’t see it for years because I was not listening. Its not that I think I’m better or believe I’m perfect, I think a lot of people assume that. I’ve come to find that by far being alone with god is better than being surrounded by the devil, making myself someone I’m not to appease other people. All I want is peace and privacy.

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