Last weekend I did a workshop on Explore Your Dreams and Intuition in Victoria and began to reflect on the ways the Soul will attempt to help us course correct when we are not fulfilling our deeper purpose. At first a nudge, then a push and eventually if we are unable to adjust, out comes the gentle persuader otherwise known as the cosmic two by four. When exploring this gift of intuition, I like to recall Emily Dickenson’s insightful quote, “the sailor cannot see the north but knows the needle can”. The soul in this case is the needle and the ego the sailor but because they speak different languages, it is easy to head off in the wrong direction while assuming we are following our soul’s guidance. This is the moment the soul then will attempt to apply a course correction.
It all seems a little unfair at times. Once we commit to the journey of the Soul, we have to learn a new language. The Soul speaks in many languages including symbol, metaphor, synchronicity and serendipity but of course is always interpreted through an ego whose languages are thoughts, feelings and sensation. When working with intuition we always have to be on guard for the ego’s interpretation to suit its agenda and maintain its security. I have observed that when we try to interpret intuitive signs through the mind, we can easily get misled; it is then that the Soul may resort to getting our attention, at first gently and then with a little more persuasive power.
I have had many in my life from a broken ankle on Grouse Mountain to breaking down in Sault St. Marie. However more recently it was the encounter of my calf against a bus seat caused by a very erratic driver that painfully got my intention. I was returning from the workshop in Victoria and had just stood up to assert control over my suitcase and backpack when the bus lurched forward and threw me backwards. It could have been a lot worse as my body managed to regain the seat however my calf was given such a whack that momentarily I could not move. I hobbled off the bus and lurched cautiously home.
When something like this occurs, I realize there are a variety of possible causes: I have been a victim of a random act that has no cause, it is to slow me down for an unknown reason or the Soul is applying a course correction. In this situation rather than curse fate and forget about it, I commence an inquiry that normally starts with asking the question of one of the oracles or divination tools that I use. Once home I nestled down beside the fire and pulled out my I Ching. This is an ancient Chinese divination tool that requires you to throw three coins six times. These result in a hexagram that is ascribed a number that indicates the reading. As I threw the coins I knew there was something significant occurring. Four of my six throws consisted of three identical symbols (these are called changing lines), always a sign of an important message. The reading was 39 Obstruction – surrounded by obstructions you must first retreat, then seek direction of the sage. “what is called for is a retreat into self-examination and self-correction.” It seemed to confirm that a course correction was required.
It did not take me long to comprehend the intent of the incident. It will take a little explaining so bear with me. I love all things connected with Hobbits so when an ad for a free application showed up on my iPad, complete with the characters and music from the movies, I could not resist. It seemed like a harmless little strategy game balancing resources to build a village and forces to protect it. I began to play but over the weekend of the workshop I became somewhat obsessive. I played Saturday night after the workshop until 1.00 a.m. in the morning then played for three hours traveling home on the ferry. It had turned from a mild fascination to an obsession and I had no idea why.
The next morning I went to the gym and put on James Hollis’s remarkable audio book “Through the Dark Wood”. He was talking about addictions and suggested an idea that seemed to make sense of my recent experience. Addictions are basically anxiety management systems; we all have them; they only become problematic when the cost of the system gets to be too high. He posed some questions, “How do you reflexively react to stress? Where do you habitually go to when reacting to stress.” He observed that we all have them and they protects us from painful feelings and allow us to numb out, and to distract us from our own lives. The next part put my experience into context. Addictions have an obsessive compulsive component to them that show up when an idea imposes itself on our ego. We find ourselves doing something without really knowing why.
My game that started as a harmless exploration, had become the way I coped with the anxiety of the weekend. Harmless in itself however my soul wanted to remind me that it was time to be conscious and see it for what it had become. I haven’t banned myself from playing however I have become more conscious about it and avoiding the game playing me. The needle had spotted something that the sailor had missed.