How to Read Signs & Synchronicities on the Spiritual Path

Written by Jessi Kohlhagen

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something?

You know the magical feeling…

A moment of realization or synchronicity that makes you feel as though there is an incredible power of benevolence working tirelessly and majestically all around you, sending you signs and messages to keep you feeling supported and on-path.

Synchronistic moments feel like pure grace — giving us a deep sense that we are exactly where we need to be.

But what if we’re feeling lost or unsupported in our lives? What if we’re asking questions but not receiving the answers? Where’s the universal magic when we really need it?

The truth is, this magic is always available to us. We just have to learn how to recognize and read the signs.

The universe speaks to us all the time, in the form of life experience.
And not just the big, defining experiences of our lives — but more often than not, the sacred universal guidance we seek is placed gently within the tiny intricacy of a single moment. Being so small and fragile, these messages are easily overlooked or trampled upon.

To tune into this “language of the universe,” we must attune ourselves to the natural flow of the world. In doing so, we unlock the ease and abundance that is available to us in every single moment.

Here are 5 powerful tips to help you tune into the flow, and understand the sacred experience unfolding all around you:

Cultivate Your Capacity to Receive

This is an important (yet often overlooked or underrated) step for any kind of personal growing experience.

So many of us say we want more love, yet ingrained patterns leave us resistant to receiving it. We say we’re exhausted of “taking care of everything ourselves,” yet when others try to help us, we reject them. The truth is, many of us are chronic givers and terrible receivers — and we don’t even realize it.

When we ask the universe for guidance while simultaneously holding apprehension about the possible answers — or when we hold tight to a desire we subconsciously know we aren’t ready for yet — our resistance is noted.

Remember, the universe always provides you with exactly what you need for your highest growth in the moment. If you aren’t ready to receive — you won’t.

Cultivating a greater capacity to receive means having deep courage to face the infinite potentials and possibilities your life might present to you. It means invoking radical truthfulness about what you are actually capable of handling at this time in your life. And it requires you to embrace whatever life delivers to your doorstep with an open heart and absolute trust that it’s exactly what is being called for at this time, even if you don’t always understand.

Pay Closer Attention

The universe uses subtle and mysterious ways of communicating with us, and awareness is key to recognizing its messages. These can come in infinite forms (some of which are mentioned below under “noticing patterns and symbols”), and you may not always recognize them – especially if you’re in the midst of a struggle.

So simply pay more attention to your experience. If you’re going to ask for guidance, you need to meet the universe halfway. Especially during your time of seeking, watch your environment a little more closely. You may be surprised what presents itself when you pay a little more attention.

Notice Patterns and Symbols

As you pay closer attention to the occurrences in your life, you will likely notice patterns beginning to emerge, or powerful symbols showing up. Take note of these. They are profound messengers. Here are some examples of patterns or symbols you may encounter:

Animals: Across countless indigenous cultures, animals are believed to be ancient messengers from the spiritual realms. Whether it be in living form (a crow landing next to you as you meditate) or non-living form (seeing pictures of owls everywhere you go, on your social media, and in your dreams), a meaningful encounter with an animal is believed to be an omen. The meaning can be interpreted universally (by the animal’s characteristic nature, or inherent strengths or weaknesses), or personally (by your personal relationship with this kind of animal, or what the encounter brings up for you).

Illness or Injury: Physical symptoms are the last line of defense when our vitality is compromised… after already being processed by (or originated in) our mental, emotional and spiritual centers. Oftentimes illnesses or injuries are our body’s wisdom trying to communicate to us. Investigating the underlying mental, emotional or metaphysical causes of our illnesses or injuries can be a powerfully insightful experience, and lead us on a path of much deeper healing and vitality.

Natural Cycles: Since the beginning of time, humans have looked to the stars, planets and seasons for guidance. The location of these natural elements can tell us so much about the energy surrounding our collective consciousness. (for instance, there have been countless studies on the effects of full moons on human behavior). The deeper you explore the current natural cycles, the more you will discover these rhythms being reflected in your own life.

Dreams: Dreams are powerful symbolic messages that arise directly from our subconscious. Throughout history, dreaming has been considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention. Some of the ways you can interpret your dreams are to: identify how you were feeling, record them, identify recurring overlapping patterns in your dreams and daily life, and notice any symbols or notable elements. Dreaming can be seen as a form of communication between our conscious and unconscious selves – helping us to experience wholeness and integration.

Random Encounters: Have you ever accidentally butt-dialed someone and ended up having the most insightful conversation? Or wondered about something and then randomly stumbled upon the answer? Random encounters happen all the time, and the more you’re open to following them, the more magical places they’ll lead you and the more they’ll appear in your life.

Repeating Numbers: Do you see repeating numbers such as 11:11, 3:33 or 4:44 on the clock all the time? Or notice any other combination of numbers that appears wherever you go? Many people believe that these are messages from the universe, and that they can be interpreted through Numerology. After all, math is the language of the universe J

Losing A Possession (or train of thought): This is often a universal message to let go and move on. Attachment is a root cause of suffering in our world, and we tend to have a very difficult time letting things go before we feel ready. This can bring up feelings of loss, anger, frustration and insecurity, all of which have deeper subconscious implications that the universe is probably trying to help you work through. Next time you lose something (whether it be an object or an idea), surrender it in faith that all is exactly as it should be.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Oftentimes the universe sends us the exact message that we need, but we miss it and go on searching for more. The truth is, the universe expresses a great deal of genius in simplicity. This can be difficult for modern humans to understand, as we tend to complicate things. The bottom line? If the universe tells you “turn right,” don’t hinder yourself by trying to figure out why and how and at what point to make the turn. Just do it!

Allow Yourself to Believe

One of the most common questions asked when working with signs, visions, dreams or any other form of sacred message is, “how do I know if it’s real, or if it’s just my imagination?” The answer is simple… your imagination and your reality are reflections of one another.

Everything you are presented with — whether it’s logically tangible, or ridiculously abstract — has meaning. Sometimes it’s overt, and sometimes it’s vague.

The language of the universe is symbolic, and our intuition is the translator.

When we allow ourselves to deeply feel and believe what is being presented to us, the signs become clearer and more compelling, and we further strengthen our ability to intuit them.

Learning to hear, understand and respond to your inner voice is, in many ways, the very essence of spirituality – and it’s the foundation for living a truly enchanted life.

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