Most of us felt some relief saying goodbye to 2014; the news never seemed worse. Now barely two weeks into 2015, the news seems even grimmer. We can easily fall into despair about the state of the world. But recently I listened to a discussion about the physics of angels, and, to balance the horrors we see everyday in the news, I want to bring angels into the conversation.
During the month of Advent, I decided to paint angels that are connected with the Christmas story. I believe they do exist and are waiting for us to listen to them. The name angel derives from the Greek angelos meaning “messenger.” Angels are agents ready to guide, creatively inspire, aid, and teach us, and they have stirred the imagination of artists, writers, mystics, and ordinary persons throughout the ages, across cultures and belief. More than 80% of Americans believe in angels.
Angels approach us through dreams, visions, and meditative states and can appear in the form of voices, human or animal shapes, as male or female or androgynous beings, or as stars or light. Beings without matter, their wings are a symbol of their great spiritual energy. We delight in their cherub cuteness, but, in reality, they can also be fierce and terrifying.
Personally, I have seen and heard angels and know that they have helped me in times of need. Matthew Fox, theologian and spiritual visionary, believes that angels are underutilized in the world today. They are hanging out in the multitudes, waiting for us to listen.
One way angels speak to us is through our intuition. Once you have more access to your intuition, then you are better able to hitchhike on the angel highway of deeper knowledge. Assagioli does not write about angels except as useful symbols for realizing spiritual psychosynthesis. He does, however, write extensively on intuition, which he defines as a psychological experience that is an immediate and direct understanding of a holistic truth. Typically our analytical mind grasps parts of what we see while our intuition grasps the whole.
Assagioli writes about two types of intuition: the ordinary and the transpersonal. The ordinary type, for example, is when a student suddenly understands how to solve a math problem or you suddenly know what you need to say to a friend. On the transpersonal level, our intuition can bring us a spiritual understanding, for example, how everything in life and the world is interconnected.
In order to crystallize our intuition, we have to be open to it and learn how to assess the insights it brings. Many of us are afraid of our intuition and tend to repress it. Assagioli writes that “intuition is one of the least recognized and least appreciated, and therefore one of the most repressed or undeveloped functions.”
The first step to develop your intuition, which is a normal function of the human psyche, is to eliminate the various obstacles preventing its activity. The best way to do this is to cultivate silence, one of the favorable conditions for receiving intuitions. The self-identification meditation is a good way to practice quieting your thoughts and emotions.
The second step is to use your will to patiently remain quiet and relaxed. Activate your will to guard the threshold of your mind that is so ready to open its door to background noise! Lightly focus instead on a question you might have or an understanding that you might long for.
Once you experience receiving a message, either through words or an image, accept it. Don’t try to shove it aside or change it. Whatever it is, there is something there for you to look at more closely and understand.
Finally, the third step is to validate the insight. Here is where your will and mind comes in. At first, you might feel compelled to act on an intuition, especially because, for the most part, insights are fleeting and easily forgotten. But it is better to jot them down immediately, keep a intuition notebook, or share them with someone you trust, and then carefully take your time to reflect upon them. Initially, we can often become confused trying to discern between hunches, imaginative flights of fancy, and actual insights. We need our intellect to work cooperatively with our intuition in order to verbalize, interpret, translate, and coordinate the information the insight brings into our lives. As Assagioli wrote:
“A harmonious interplay between intuition and intellect can work perfectly in a successive rhythm: intuitional insight, interpretation, further insight and its interpretation, and so on.”
Our intuition can help us tremendously in our lives, guiding us to understandings beyond those reached via cognitive processing, from solving a specific problem to understanding ourselves and others. Assagioli wrote:
“Whenever one wants to reach a true understanding of the essence of the specific quality of a human being, or a group, or of human relationships, the use of intuition is indicated and even necessary.”
So why not take some time to become aware of your intuitive insights and develop ways to receive and utilize them? As you grow in relationship with your intuition, you are also learning how to hitchhike on the Angel Highway of deeper knowledge and connecting to a higher wisdom within and outside of yourself. With practice, you will become more adept in moving from insight to action, and the decisions you make will come more easily and feel more right. Don’t delay! You’ll be amazed how much help is out there on the Angel Highway of Joy!