Nathanael Garrett Novosel, July 21 2021

Follow the Signs

Signs.  They’re indicators that you should make a decision or take an action in life.  There are real, tangible signals in life like your emotions.  Your emotions are giving you critical feedback as to your current state of growth or harm.  If you’re happy, you’re healthy and growing; if you’re afraid, there is a danger to your health and safety.

There are signs everywhere, from the traffic signs that tell you how to act on the road, signs directing you in an airport, and signs telling you the name of stores and restaurants.  If you’re hungry, you’ll look for a McDonald’s sign before you’ll look for a sign for mufflers.  If you’re lost, you’ll be looking for a sign telling you where you are and how you can get to where you want to go.

We’ll discuss three functions of signs in this post: to attract your attention, to indicate something, and to drive you to a decision or action.  So, for a speed limit sign, for example, the government wants you to see them, know how fast to drive, and drive that speed.  If you are hungry, a restaurant sign wants to get your attention, let you know what cuisine they serve and style they have, and get you to come in to eat.

Signs don’t work in a vacuum, however.  If you’re not paying attention, you won’t see them.  Similarly, if you’re looking for something specific, you’ll miss other signs that might be obvious if you weren’t primed to look for it.  One of the more famous examples is this attention test (take it if you haven’t before), where your attention being focused on something causes you to only see what you’re focused on.  So priming causes you to be more likely to see some signs and not others.

Now that we’ve gone through what we mean by signs, let’s get metaphysical.  Do you believe in symbolic signs?  As in, the random things happening in your life that signify that you should take your life in one direction or another based on it?  It’s those signs that we’re going to talk about here.

These kinds of signs are common, from tarot cards representing a decision you might need to make to a lightning strike at an impossible time and place causing you to turn your whole life around to the chance meeting with someone in a place you weren’t even supposed to be but something mysterious brought you together.  Are these signs real?  Should you follow them?  What if they’re bunk?  What should you do then?

Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell you what causes signs or if they’re real or just your imagination.  That said, you should absolutely follow them if you think it’s right.  Now…how can I possibly be so adamant about that when I have no idea whether they’re real?  Well, it’s simple, really.  There are two possibilities:

Now, here’s the amazing thing: it doesn’t matter.  Again: IT DOES NOT MATTER.  These “signs” are telling you something regardless: what you want and believe in relation to certain parts of your life.  Let’s start with the first option: they’re signs from God or the universe.  In that case, you should clearly take them if you believe that.  After all, who are you to question divine assistance?  In the second option, the “sign” is nothing more than your brain priming yourself to see something in reality that is related to what you were mulling over, and it is making you think more toward one option or the other.  In that case, you should see how you feel about the sign and whether it makes you feel better or worse about a particular option or decision you have to make.  That information will help you make a decision because it’s telling you more about what your preferences are.

In the former option, a spiritual person is asking for assistance and gets it in the form of something that indicates to them that they should make a decision or take an action.  Their priming gets them to see it, the sign gives you information about an option that you didn’t have (e.g., that one is better for you), and so you follow it and take the action.  In the latter option, you are getting feedback about which option you prefer even though it’s just in your head.  A similar approach to decision making is to assume you had to go with one option.  How do you feel?  Are you glad the decision’s over?  Are you happy you made that one?  Do you regret making that one?  Since you haven’t actually made the decision yet, that advanced feeling gives you information about which option you should take.  Similarly, if you see a “sign” and you feel good about selecting the sign that it is indicating, then maybe you really wanted that option all along and your brain was just helping you along.

In either case, listen to and follow the signs where appropriate!  They’re either non-physical guidance or your brain priming yourself to see things that will help you understand what your unconscious mind is leaning toward.  In one case, you’re receiving divine guidance; in the other, you’re just like Dr. House in House and using an unrelated-but-analogous situation to solve a problem you’ve been thinking about for a while.

(Note: obviously, you don’t want to make a decision completely against your better judgment like buying something you can’t afford or putting yourself in harm’s way, but “signs”—of whichever form—almost never tell you to do that since your emotional reaction would almost always be negative to something and you’d take that as a sign not to do it.  So you should be okay, but this disclaimer exists to make sure that you keep yourself safe along your life journey.)

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Nathanael Garrett Novosel


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