It would be great if connecting with our soul guides was as easy as plugging in an electrical appliance or adding a new mouse to your computer.
Plug-and-play guides. I’ll recommend that to my guides and see if they can run that up the chain.
“It really is that simple,” Dresden (my primary guide) said when I mentioned it to him. “The problem is that every person has their own unique operating system, customized by experience and belief.”
“How do you solve that problem?” I asked.
“Identify and implement the unique method for connection within each person,” Dresden said.
There are hundreds of books published about how to connect with spirit guides and angels and most are marketed to “everyone.” But Dresden’s right: no one method works for everyone. And the methods that are most commonly used in books and meditations are not trauma-informed.
What does trauma-informed have to do with this?
There are far more people who have been affected by trauma than those who identify as trauma survivors. One of those effects is a heightened need for safety. Very often, guide-connection meditations start with the person closing their eyes and then imagining themselves on a beach, or in a meadow, or on a path. Trust me when I say that for most people with trauma in their histories, this does not feel safe.
Another one of those effects of trauma is difficulty trusting. Most guide-connection books and meditations lead you to a presence, often appearing as a human or animal, and instruct the reader/listener to follow the guidance of that presence.
Sounds easy enough, but imagine for a moment that I give that instruction to a small child:
“You’re on a path. You don’t know where it leads. You’re alone right now but that’s okay because at the end of the path, someone is waiting for you. Walk down the path and when you come to the end, you’ll see someone. You can trust them. Listen to what they have to say.”
I’ve known my guides most of my life, and even I have an Oh hell, no! reaction. I would never tell one of my kids to do that. Why would I tell someone who needs to feel safe and has a hard time trusting that they should do exactly the opposite of what they need?
The bottom line is that people affected by trauma cannot meet and trust their guides until they feel safe and know the guides they’re meeting really are guides and can be trusted. Kind of a Catch-22.
How do I get around that?
Before I can answer that question, I have to return to what Dresden called our unique operating systems. Not everyone is going to see their guides. Not everyone is going to hear them. Even among those of us who are fully connected with our guides, we don’t all have the same method of communicating with them. Some use meditations. Some use dreams. Some go into trance. Some have full “downloads” of words, concepts, or instructions. Some see images, symbols, colors, or words. Some smell scents that don’t currently exist in their physical environment. Some hear voices. Some feel sensations, temperatures, textures, pressure, nudges, pokes, or even tickles.
Telling someone whose operating system is geared toward sensation to listen for their guides isn’t going to help and might just set them up for failure. Telling someone to imagine walking down that path and seeing their guide at the end isn’t necessarily going to work for someone whose dominant communication style is knowing something beyond doubt, without knowing how they know it.
Some people have been taught to believe that anything outside the boundaries of their holy texts must therefore be evil, which immediately brings fear into the mix, and fear and safety don’t play well together.
Movies and TV and stories have further taught many that messages from guides and angels are delivered with trumpet blasts or bright light or a booming voice from the heavens. That works great in a medium like a movie, where you have to portray intensity and power through visuals, sound, camera angles, and dialogue. But the real thing? It’s subtle. It can still be intense and powerful, but what you’re tuning into is subtle.
There’s a reason the Hebrew and Christian bibles both refer to a “still, small voice.”
Where am I supposed to start, then, if I want to connect with my guides?
Start by identifying where, when, and how you feel safe. Are your eyes open or closed or open a little and focused a few feet in front of you or something else? Does it help you to have an object to focus on like a rock or a candle (lit or not) or a stuffed animal or a photograph? What does your environment need to be like? What temperature? Sitting, standing, laying down? Lights on, dimmed, or off? Door open or closed? Do you prefer silence, white noise, relaxing music? Is there a best time of day or night for you? Everything about your environment should be there to support you.
Believe that you are worthy of having guides. As much as we joke about our spirit guides face-palming, day-drinking, or giving up on us because we’re not listening, that does not happen. (They might roll their metaphorical eyes now and then.) Our guides may be more hands-on or hands-off, depending on what arrangements we made before birth, but we are always free to change our minds (YAY free will!) and they will accommodate us.
Set the intention that you are going to meet your guide(s) and only your guide(s). Ask your guides to protect your meeting so that you only meet them. If a ritual helps you do this—lighting a candle, creating a circle around you, reciting prayers before and after—feel free to do so.
Are there energy beings who do not have your best interests in mind? Yes. I think of most of these entities as the leeches or lampreys (eww) or mosquitos of the spiritual world. I don’t say this to create fear, because you have a lot more power than you think you do. At the same time, it’s best not to invite them into your energetic home for dinner.
Be open to all the ways in which your guides may communicate with you. Ask questions. Good questions to start with are, “Are you one of my guides?” “What is your name?” “What do you want me to know in this moment?”
I highly recommend keeping a journal and writing down or recording (if you prefer audio or video) what comes up. Notice anything that comes up. Any sensations, images, emotions, memories, thoughts, scents. Keep track of any dreams you have after trying this.
And keep trying. This is a practice, not a task to complete. I’ve been in contact with my guides for over fifty years, and there are still times—especially highly emotional or stressful times—when I need to go back to the basics and solidify my connection with them.
What if I still don’t feel safe or like I can trust this?
What if I’ve tried this a hundred times and it still doesn’t work?
I can help. I can work with you one-on-one to create safety, establish trust, and identify your strongest methods for communicating with your guides. You don’t have to do this alone.