Sometimes you just know
Thomas Aquinas said, “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” This truth makes living within the secular world, amongst unfaithful or faithless people, truly challenging. In my life, I often struggle with sensing that something is the right or wrong thing to do without having concrete evidence or data to back myself up. Sometimes, I find that I just “know,” and sense that I am being steered by an inward voice beyond my control. Often, I can listen and respond to this inward voice, but other times bureaucracy or politics or research get in the way. After all, “I just have a hunch” isn’t generally considered a valid justification for a decision and “trust me” doesn't always seem like a rational reason to move forward.
My grandmother once told me to trust my gut, that it was God speaking through me. I carry this wisdom with me and try to discern when insight comes from a pure source rather than from my own ego. I recognize that the tug I feel inside might be me, but it might be, and often is, God speaking through me. I try to trust and follow that little (or sometimes very loud) voice, no matter how hard it may be. I find that God is a giver of insight and of warnings, both physical and ethereal. It is our job to listen, translate, and act accordingly. I have learned that when I pay attention and am aware, I know more than I think I know and can do more than I think I can do. When I am not aware and fail to align myself with my inner Wisdom, I become prone to guilt, fear, uncertainly and anxiety. In these moments, my body often rebels with depression, sickness, and injury. There are always warning signs before the shut down, but it takes courage, a willingness to be exposed, and extensive Faith to hear and respond to the voice inside that is screaming “STOP,” to pay attention to the “check engine” light that has been flashing for the last one hundred miles. I am still quite bad at this. If the car is still moving and I don’t smell smoke, how much could actually be wrong? Moreover, if the car is still mostly getting me to where I seek to be, isn’t there value in that unto itself? I strive to be better at listening and “knowing” even when it may be inconvenient.
But beyond decision-making and practical matters, so too, are there moments when it is impossible to ignore God’s presence, when I undeniably know that God is there. My boyfriend and I were once at a James Taylor concert and heard a song that simultaneously transported both of us to one of our first dates. It’s difficult to describe, but it felt as if our souls aligned in the moment. Our hands found each other in the dark, we looked at each other at the same moment, and the “feeling” was palpable. At another time, I was facilitating a group of high school students who were telling their life stories. At the end, the room melted into profound silence that created space for their Truths to transcend time and space. We sat there silently for over twenty minutes, holding each other, knowing each other, and honoring each other. Last year, during a terrible day at work, I was sitting in a bathroom stall crying, trying to get myself together. As I was sitting there, I received a text message from a spiritual mentor with whom I had not spoken for months. “I’m thinking about you today,” she said, “you are remarkable and are loved.” God is in the miracles, large, small, and virtually insignificant. And I have discovered that if I open myself to God’s presence, it is impossible not to know God’s presence. The Truth overcomes all doubt and uncertainty, all fear and anxiety. And when we know God and see God, we can better know and see ourselves. It is in that space that divine transformation of body, mind, and spirit is possible.
I was perched in a pine deep within a wooden grove. The air around me is sweet, the world is calm. I close my eyes and stretch out into open comfort. My troubles are lost in deep outward breathing, my mind is cleared and my thoughts reach silent repetition. The wind combs my hair and the snarls of life disappear. The clouds float over me and settle some place far away. I am at peace with my soul and I know that God is with me
– from a tree, age 12