Remember the 3-D magic eye pictures that were popular in the 90s? On the surface they looked like a geometric design, but if you softened your focus, an underlying picture would emerge. Life is like that, too. When we look below the surface, we see so much more.
According to the Eastern concept of Yin & Yang, our society is very Yang—fast-paced, action-oriented, and outward-focused. Synchronicity, dreams, and intuition require the stillness, receptivity, and inward focus that is Yin.
The messages are always there. We just don’t notice them if we are too busy. Stillness in the mind comes from stepping off the hamster wheel (of our own repetitive thoughts) and unplugging ourselves from the constant stream of information coming to us through our electronic devices.
Mantra, the repetition of a neutral phrase, is very good for helping those of us who have overactive minds. It could be a children’s song like the ABC’s or it could be “Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha,” the mantra for Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.
The world is an amazing place, full of unexplainable experiences. Being receptive means saying yes or maybe instead of a flat out no. It also means seeing the patterns in what comes our way.
Synchronicity is a term that was coined by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who believed that coincidence wasn’t accidental. It was meaningful. I also believe that these experiences are a sign that we are on the right track and that we are flowing with the current of life rather than trying to swim against it.
Receptivity also requires open space in our surroundings and in our schedule. Feng shui recommends clearing away the clutter in our surroundings, especially in the center of the room, to enhance the flow of energy. A cluttered space is a stagnant space; the energy does not flow. If we are feeling stuck, it’s time to clean.
Our schedule is cleansed by a pause that sometimes happens automatically when we find we have been sitting and daydreaming. Cultivating the pause is called yoga nidra. Relaxing our muscles and allowing a gap between our thoughts, while remaining awake and alert, helps us to get back in touch with our natural wholeness and a feeling of connection to the whole. We are then more open to messages from within and without.
One of the best ways to access Yin energy is to sleep. It is a natural time of stillness, receptiveness, and inward focus, when we sometimes receive messages in the form of dreams. As we pay attention to them, they become more frequent. Because they evaporate very quickly, recalling them when we wake and writing down as much as we can remember helps to capture them.
Joining a dream circle and reading books on interpretation are also excellent ways to increase our receptivity. Though only we know our dream’s true meaning, other people can give us helpful insights, and our dreams also give insight to others.
I have remembered amazing dreams when I’m away from home and perhaps not sleeping as soundly as usual. Toward the end of my week on a tall ship sailing cruise, on a night the water was very rough, I dreamed about a shape-shifting demon. In my dream I could shape-shift, too, and found that by relaxing and not resisting the demon’s force, it passed through me without effect. What a great lesson about relaxing into the flow for someone like me, whose first instinct is to tense up and resist.
Although my husband doesn’t remember his dreams, he knows if something doesn’t feel right. He is intuitive and in-touch with his instinctive feelings. Being receptive and attentive, gives us access to more information—about the patterns and the connections in our bodies and the world around us. Some people have a natural inclination, but like any skill, it gets better with practice. The more we listen to and act on our inner knowing, the stronger it becomes.
Synchronicity, dreams, intuition—I believe humans are meant to experience these things because we are all connected on some level. Modern conveniences have distracted us from these natural abilities, but they are still there, waiting to be recovered. Minding the gaps between us, within us, around us means not rushing to fill the spaces between thoughts, breaths, and actions—allowing us to be and see where the magic happens. Set the intention to be open to receiving the messages of the universe by practicing inward focus, stillness, and receptivity.