HOW IT WORKS
AND WHAT IT
CAN DO FOR YOU
[CHAPTER 1 of WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T DECIDE by Meg Lundstrom]
Do you find yourself constantly puzzling, even agonizing, over the choices you have to make on a daily basis? Does the “tyranny of small decisions,” as economists term it, leave you stymied when you face a shelf of similar sunscreen products, a complex chart of cellphone plan options, or a long list of health-care providers? Does the terror of large decisions —what to do for a living, whom to live with, where to live, how to respond to changing circumstances —leave you confused and paralyzed?
Or maybe you’re making decisions easily enough, but you’re often unhappy with the outcome. After spending time and energy carefully thinking something through, you belatedly learn that you did not adequately research and weigh all the options. Or perhaps the outcome was affected by factors that hadn’t even occurred to you at the time. Perhaps you bumped up against the limitations of your mind, conditioned by your upbringing and experiences to ignore some input and magnify others. Maybe you’re seeing that you make the same poor choices over and over. Maybe fear of the future limits your view of what is possible, so you mistakenly rule out good options. And perhaps you regret the roads and risks not taken for reasons that now seem beside the point.
From work to romance to finances, there has never been a more complex society for the average person to negotiate. And although it would seem that more choices mean more freedom, the sheer number of alternatives in itself is stressful, say psychologists. Studies show that feeling inner pressure to make the best possible decision leads to anxiety, regret, confusion, and lower self-esteem.1 In fact, too many choices mean that “choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize,” writes psychologist Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. And if the opposite happens —your choices seem to shrink due to factors outside your control —frustration and fear can overpower your rational mind and block your intuition, short-circuiting your ability to find good solutions.
Don’t despair. Divining is another way to make decisions —and it allows you to bypass the ruts of your mind and the dictates of your emotions in order to come up with creative choices that work out astonishingly, unexpectedly well. It allows you to tap into the part of yourself that is wiser, calmer, and all-knowing.
It is a guidance system that is easy, immediate, and accessible. All it requires is for you to take a leap of faith —small or large, depending on your beliefs —and try it out. You simply ask a question, use one of the tools in this book, and await the answer. It comes instantly, just like that.
You can use divining for everything from scheduling appointments to choosing a job or house —and beyond, into deep inner processes. These tools will take you however far you are willing to go. Divining for the highest good —the prerequisite —may well increase your happiness, prosperity, and comfort. But ultimately, it opens you up to letting go of your preconceived needs , and that, in turn, creates a space for the Divine to step in and give you gifts beyond description.
Like life itself, divining is not static or fixed or set in concrete; rather, it’s a dynamic, deeply personal process that ebbs, flows, and changes over time. Learning to move with it becomes a graceful dance with the Universe. Just as when you learn the tango or the trombone, the more you practice with divining tools, the better you’ll get and the more your ease and confidence will grow. You’ll find the rhythm that suits you: using it daily or rarely, as a solo strategy or in concert with research, intuition, and advice seeking.
If at times the divining guidance feels a little scary, that is good. It means you are moving beyond your narrow self-conceptions and the mental wheel-ruts that keep you doing the same thing over and over and over again. Remember, the process is always in your hands. It is your choice when and how to use it. It is your choice whether to use the guidance as a directive or a pointer, your choice whether to treat divining as the word of the Absolute, as an understanding friend to hash things through with, or as an adviser with a useful viewpoint. You are the scientific investigator here —running a test on your own life, going in a certain direction, getting input, making a decision, and then looking at the results. If this guidance system works for you, keep on going; if not, reevaluate whether it is for you. Go as slow or fast as you choose.
The odds are high that your leap of faith will be rewarded with immediate payoff: ease, clarity, synchronicity. And that, in turn, can lead you to the realization of your true self —the you that is not only part of everything, but is everything.
WHERE IS THE ANSWER COMING FROM?
For much of human history, people saw everything in the world as intricately connected, and they used natural events to divine the future and determine courses of action. Patterns such as the passage of clouds across the sky, the falling of leaves, and the swooping and cries of birds held rich personal meaning and conveyed information to them.
Over time, as societies developed, civilizations devised ways to invoke answers rather than merely awaiting them, using bones, shells, sticks, and coins. Religions, especially in the East, used divinatory tools as a way to make contact with the Divine, and often divinatory specialists called oracles or shamans played a central role in important societal and personal decisions.
Divining practices have often been shrouded in rituals, reflecting what is at its heart a deeply mysterious process. How is it that when we ask a question, the answer comes —and it turns out to be remarkably right for our unique situation?
In the most concrete sense, when we divine, the answers are coming from within our body. When we ask a question, brain neurons fire, neurotransmitters flow, electrical currents spark, energy is released into muscle fibers, and something moves to let us know the response on a conscious level —a muscle weakens, a pendulum swings, a chit falls.
What sets this course of physical events in action? Our unconscious, the part of our mind that is “behind the locked door,” as New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell puts it in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. By definition, it is an area of which we have no active awareness. Scientists can monitor its pathways in the brain with increasingly sophisticated equipment, but they can’t pin down where it emanates from: it’s like watching the flight pattern of a plane on air-traffic-control radar but not being in the mind of the pilot behind the controls.
The unconscious mind has staggering computing power, scientists have found —it processes eleven million pieces of sensory information at any one moment —and it can effortlessly sort through mountains of data in a split second, frequently with better outcomes for decision-making than the efforts of the conscious mind. It can bring to light things we know but have long forgotten, as well as things we theoretically should not know, such as who is on the other end of the phone before it rings.
The unconscious speaks its mind in our behavior when we find ourselves acting spontaneously, for better or worse, for reasons we can’t really explain. It also surfaces in bursts of intuition that are surprisingly spot-on. These intuitive hits often announce themselves through sensations in our body. Gladwell tells of one famous art expert who could detect a fake piece of art because his stomach felt wrong, his ears rang, he felt suddenly depressed, or he felt woozy and off-balance. Depending on our makeup, intuition can be, for instance, a gut feeling, a fleeting mental picture, a word that pops into consciousness, or a sure knowing. When we divine, instead of merely awaiting signals from the unconscious, we invoke them. We ask, and we receive.
So who or what is it that is moving through our unconscious mind to zero in on the answer? For there is a sense of some thing, some deep intelligence or wise presence, on the other end of our query.
Some people believe the response is transmitted by an innately intelligent, self-ordering Universe. They feel themselves part of a pulsating web of quantum particles simultaneously linking together everything everywhere. To express this underlying oneness, they may use phrases such as the “Universe,” “Pervasive Unity,” “Universal Consciousness,” or the “web of life.” Others talk of the cells of their bodies resonating vibrationally with other forms of life and intelligence, with answers transmitted electromagnetically. Or they view the information as something that emanates from the collective unconscious —as Carl Jung described it, from the memories and wisdom of the entire human race, which shapes our psyche.
Sometimes the “transmitter” feels more personal. Just as waves in the electromagnetic spectrum can translate as vivid colors or X-rays or radio sound, the Divine translates in our consciousness into many forms and layers. Some people feel a strong mental and emotional connection to a specific aspect or personification of the Divine —a wise and loving Being —on which they focus their mind when divining. They may conceive of that energy as God, a higher power, the Absolute, the Highest Universal Energy Source, and for them divining can be a form of prayer, or “putting it in God’s hands.” Some people, often with an Eastern orientation, feel this from the inside out, saying the answers come from the “God-self within me” or the “part of my self that starts with a capital S.” Others feel their guidance is coming directly from a great deity, saint, soul, or spiritual teacher, living or not. Or they may feel angels or their guardian angel coming to their aid. Some people speak of getting advice from their spirit guides, who may act singly or collectively and may change depending on the question. Others feel that a departed parent or loved one is speaking to them.
Ultimately, it is all guesswork: the door remains shut, the source unknowable. “The name that can be named is not the eternal Name,” advises the Tao Te Ching. Some don’t even try to figure it out: “How this works, I don’t really know,” says Bruce Irwin, a professional water dowser in Athol, New York. “You plug in the library card and get information from the great library in the sky.”
What is wonderful is that divining doesn’t require any particular belief, just an openness to trying it and a willingness to make contact with our innermost self.
Because one thing is clear: we are the vessel through which the wisdom flows. We are the ones who ask the question, who are open to receiving the answer, who give it voice and substance. The answer is within, and divining tools help us to access it. They are hearing aids that turn up the volume of that still, small voice, binoculars that sharpen our inner sight. “This pendulum is nothing in itself, just a piece of metal and plastic,” says my friend Kate. “But it’s a tool that the higher self uses to help me access my universal knowledge. It teaches me to trust my inner being. When I ask a question and it gives me an answer, I’m not trusting it; I’m trusting myself.”
In practice, over time, these tools give us the experience of reality at its most paradoxical: the process seems to be happening simultaneously within us and beyond us, which gives us a taste of what the mystics call ultimate truth. Perhaps Etty Hillesum, whose diaries, An Interrupted Life, glow with wisdom, said it most eloquently: “I repose in myself. And that part of myself, that deepest and richest part in which I repose, is what I call ‘God.’”
HOW DIVINING CAN BENEFIT YOUR LIFE
Divining is not the path; it is a path. It may be a path that shapes your life, or it may be a minor one, something that augments your other approaches and comes in handy in a crunch. You may use it once in your life, or once a day. You may find it useful at some points and not others, or with some types of questions and not others.
From one viewpoint, it is a path of surrender. You are surrendering your lower self to your higher self, “my will” to “Divine will.” You are putting aside your ego —that stubborn and childish foot-stamper that knows it’s right —so that your wiser self, tuned in to a deeper level, can prevail. In this surrender, you are laying down your inner armaments —defenses, judgments, conditioned patterns of resistance. It may feel like you’re giving up control, but that’s just your ego protesting, as it’s wont to do. In fact, paradoxically, the process gives you a sense of more control; it is, after all, you who is consciously posing the question, awaiting the answer, and moving forward with that new information. “Divining is one way of accessing my inner knowing when I’m not feeling connected,” says my friend Tessa. “I muscle-test when I’m out of control —when I’m feeling confused. Testing puts me back in control.”
Whether you use divining as a path, an ancillary practice, or an occasional godsend, it has a host of benefits: it gives you access to deeper wisdom, makes life both efficient and adventurous, helps you sidestep mistakes, calms the mind, enhances synchronicity, accelerates your spiritual progress, and lightens your step. Let’s look more closely at these:
It Allows You to Bypass Your Conscious Mind to Access Deeper Wisdom
The conscious mind has its job cut out managing the details of our lives: deciding what it wants, plotting how to get there, overcoming obstacles, making choices, evaluating results, figuring out how to do things better next time. Once in human history this left-brained managing mind was balanced out by our intuitive right brain, but over time it has become very bossy indeed, adamantly overriding all opposition. “It’s the mind’s job to be right, and it will kill for it,” says spiritual teacher Byron Katie.
We are loyal to the conscious mind in spite of the fact that it often does a poor job. Dutch researchers, for example, have found that logically and carefully weighing all the options in a complex decision leads to poorer choices than leaving it to the unconscious mind to sort out, because we aren’t very good at anticipating relative benefits and impacts on a rational level. They also discovered that shoppers who carefully think a major purchase through are actually less happy afterward with their choice.2
Divining allows you to move past the conscious mind into your more efficient unconscious mind, where you can then —very important —receive communication back. It accomplishes this because its tools actually give the conscious mind something to do so that it can relax and allow our deeper intelligence to run the show. Divining engages the left, analytical side of our brain —the part most associated with conscious thought-processes —to frame the question, interpret the answer, and validate the results. It engages the right side of our brain —the part most associated with unconscious processes —to sink into a state of receptivity and receive the answer in a clear, empty space. This process is described as “thinking narrow, being wide,” by Tom Graves, author of The Diviner’s Handbook, and it has the effect of seamlessly integrating our brain activity. In doing so, it gives the wiser part of our mind a stronger voice. The truth is, we often know deep down what we have to do, but we don’t want to admit it because it’s too frightening, radical, or counterintuitive. The pendulum, muscle-testing, and chits are concrete tools that give clout to that deeper reality; they can’t be ignored as easily as that still, small inner voice.
It Makes Life Efficient
We like to think we have a firm grip on the vagaries of life, but the truth is, almost anything can happen at any time. There is no way to know all of the variables that will affect something that will happen a year from now, a month from now, tomorrow, or even in the next hour. At its heart, decision-making is a guessing game.
Consumer purchases, for example, can take up huge amounts of our mental space, as we figure out what we need, what the comparative advantages are, who sells it, and what we can afford. The more anxious we are about the purchase, the more clouded our mind can be. Take something as simple as buying a multivitamin. There are dozens of products on the shelves with their ingredients listed. But even if we’ve done our research carefully and know that we want, say, 500 milligrams of vitamin C and 100 milligrams of selenium, we don’t necessarily know the current reputation of the manufacturer, the quality of the ingredients, whether there is any contamination, or whether what studies advise is actually what our unique body needs. Divining makes all of this easy as pie. You test each bottle with your fingers or a pendulum and get a clear answer: this product is the best choice. The information is being sorted through for you, saving you time, trouble, and money. When I was packing to go to India for seventeen months, I had so much to do that I had no time to research anything, so I muscle-tested for three multivitamins formulated by physicians I had interviewed for magazine articles; a No came up for each. Puzzled, I muscle-tested my way through the alphabet and came up with the name of another doctor with whom I had little rapport; her website had a multivitamin package that turned out to be perfect because it included fish oil and other components that I had been planning to buy separately.
Another time, out of curiosity, I used a pendulum to check the products in my bathroom and got a strong No for my contact-lens solution. I was puzzled, but changed brands —and a few months later, the media reported that the first brand had contamination problems linked to eye infections that were robbing some people of their sight.
Divining can also save you from wasting energy and money on ventures that don’t pan out. Faith Houston of Morris, New York, was excited to learn that a feng shui master was leading a tour to China, but to her disappointment, when she muscle-tested the question, Should I go on this trip? she got a No. “It really annoyed me,” she recalls. “When an e-mail came a year later about another trip, I expected another No, but to my surprise I got a Yes.” When she called the feng shui master for more information, he told her the trip had been canceled at the last moment because of a bird-flu outbreak.
It Opens Up Adventurous Possibilities
When you divine, you let go of your death grip on your life. You open yourself up to all options, even the scary ones. This puts you on the razor’s edge of growth. It loosens your attachments to making things happen exactly as you want, and this opens up a space in which even more amazing things can unfold. As life coach Sue Freeman of Chester, New Jersey, puts it: “I have learned that there are many possibilities, sometimes ones we can’t even imagine, and if we allow for any possibility instead of limiting ourselves, we can be very surprised how much better the opportunities that come our way will be.” Divining also demolishes concepts that keep us bound —concepts from our upbringing that may have made sense when we were struggling to figure out the world, but no longer do.
As you develop trust in the process, you’ll find that it gives you the courage to take bold steps. Taking a particular trip may seem ruinous financially, but on that trip you may find your next employer or job. Many times I’ve had to breathe deeply and move forward, and the answers I’ve divined have worked out in ways that have left me awed. For example, once I did the chits and was directed to India for four months —when I had a full-time freelance job at a women’s magazine that involved producing and writing a weekly photo essay. I could not even imagine informing the editor-in-chief that I would be away a third of the year, but immediately I found someone highly qualified who could step in for me temporarily and I was able to figure out ways to preproduce much of my work. The editor laughed, gave me her blessing, and told me she envied me the journey.
It Helps You Sidestep Mistakes
In the larger sense, there are no mistakes, just learning experiences. But speaking logistically rather than philosophically, divining can mean far fewer muddles, detours, and dead ends. It can head off the wrong action before it’s too late, as happened with Joe and Marta Smith’s December drive from Nebraska to New Mexico to see Joe’s dying mother. Sitting down to lunch at their farm, they used a pendulum to ask if they should leave in one day or two. No, it advised, leave immediately. They did and were safely out of the state by the time an unexpectedly severe ice storm blew in that night. They were by his mother’s side when she died. Coming back later with a U-Haul, they used a pendulum to find roads clear of ice, snow, and wrecks. They ended up zigzagging their way home on highways they normally wouldn’t have taken, and avoided another major storm.
As you get better with your divining practice, you can hone in on technical information that you would otherwise have no way of knowing. When Faith Houston moved into an old Victorian house, she hired an architect to design a new fireplace to replace the original, which had been removed. But she got an uneasy feeling looking at the plans. She promptly muscle-tested: Is this the most appropriate design for this room? No. She began sorting through the options —aesthetics, finances, specifications —and finally what came up was that one structural element was too small by an inch and a half. The architect redesigned it. “You walk in that room now and you wouldn’t know that fireplace hadn’t been there forever. It fits perfectly,” she said later.
Divining can also help us navigate past certain weak spots in our psyches that tend to lead us into rough waters. The area in which I have usually had trouble separating fantasy from reality is relationships. Once, I was thoroughly tempted to get involved with a tall, sweet, Paul Newman look-alike. I asked the chits, and got a clear answer: forget it. So I did, and it turned out, as time went on, that we had our differences. A year later, he met one of my best friends, married her, and they’re deliriously happy. Good advice!
It Calms the Mind by Stopping Dithering, Second-Guessing, and Regrets
Carolyn Touryniere’s bike was stolen in Key West. She wanted to buy another one, but every time she pendled for it, she was advised not to. Instead, the pendulum said, Take the bus, and it hinted at a relationship. Reluctantly, she followed the advice. After about a week, the bus driver asked her out. Their romance lasted only about five weeks, but it turned out to be an important relationship for her.
Soon after it broke off, she found her bike again —in a pawn shop, so there had been no need for her to buy a new one. “Divining adds an element of surprise and delight to life because it takes you down a path you wouldn’t ordinarily go,” she says.
When, like Carolyn, we have a choice to make, it can get very noisy in the mind: Should I, shouldn’t I, what if this or that, how will it happen, what will they say, how much will it cost, what if this problem comes up . . . . and on and on. Just going back and forth mentally can prolong decision-making for weeks or months, or even longer; in fact, the more choices we have, the less likely we are to make a decision at all, psychologists have found. Because this to-and-fro keeps the mind restlessly engaged, it also blots out the deeper silence that opens up into true happiness and the experience of our true nature.
Divining stops this process cold. The choices are in front of you, and one is selected. Period, full stop. Your mind at that point swings into another mode: watching what unfolds with the choice. Second-guessing is short-circuited because you know —through experience, over time —that it always turns out for the best. Buyer’s remorse —a process so reliable that sales people are taught ways to ward it off —becomes a thing of the past.
It also teaches you to love what is, to accept what is unfolding without unnecessary anguish or misery. Because you experience being taken care of, you are at peace with what comes up and you learn to adjust to it, which means you do not go through your life kicking and screaming at turns of events. You also don’t blame yourself; you have more trust that whatever you’re going through is for your own greater good.
Divining doesn’t eliminate worry, sorrow, or anger, and it doesn’t mean you bypass illness, financial stress, loss, and death. Nothing on the planet can do that. But because you feel embedded in the Divine, you can deal with hard times more easily. By putting you in tune with the underlying pattern of the Universe, divining gives you a broader viewpoint. You trust that your difficulties have somehow a higher purpose and a limited life span and that, in some way, grace or clarity will come out of it. Help is just an inner query away, and you get what you need, day by day, step-by-step.
It Invites Synchronicity and Enhances Flow
Synchronicity —meaningful coincidence —is a word coined by Jung. It is the coming together of an inner thought with an outer event in a way that has an emotional or psychological impact on us and gives us a sense of being part of a larger whole. Jung believed that synchronicity demonstrates the dynamic interrelationship between our consciousness and the outer world, and that it is as important in explaining the workings of the Universe as cause and effect. For example, let’s say you think for the first time in years of a high school classmate and run into him on the street a few hours later: that’s synchronicity. It’s even more amazing if you learn that he is working for a great company that you want to get a job with —and he tells you that a co-worker is quitting in a few days, so there will be an opening. When synchronicities like that happen one after another, like popcorn popping in a pan, we’re in flow, which is the natural, effortless unfolding of our lives in a way that moves us toward wholeness and harmony. When we are in flow, occurrences line up, events fall into place, and obstacles melt away. Rather than life being a meaningless struggle, it is permeated with a deep sense of purposefulness and order.
Divining puts you in the right place at the right time so that synchronicity can unfold in its eye-popping way, and flow becomes a given in your life. In fact, this is one of the great delights of divining, and ultimate proof that it works. I experienced that with my four-month trip to India. Using the chits, I got information to leave New York on March 7 and return on July 3. On my third day in India, I got a phone call —literally the only point on that trip in which I was reachable. My father, who had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease at Christmas, had taken a sudden turn for the worse and could die at any moment. I took a plane straight home to Indianapolis, where my sisters and brothers had gathered. He decided to turn off his respirator, but when he started gasping for breath, he yielded to our pleas and agreed to go back on it. Because I was totally free from job, housing, and social obligations, I was able to spend a month helping my stepmother find a good nursing home for him and getting him established there.
Then, following the chits again, I returned to India. My good friend Charlene Belitz joined me, and a number of incredible chit-driven events unfolded that took us to Tibet and Nepal, which would eventually lead to us co-authoring The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence.
My father, meanwhile, decided to end his life by going off the respirator. He had no joy in his days; bed-bound, he couldn’t speak, had to have his lungs suctioned out every few hours, and could no longer enjoy golf or scotch. He chose July 6, because on that date Medicaid stopped picking up the respirator expenses of $35,000 a month, and he wanted that money to go to us children rather than the nursing home. The decision brought him out of his depression and gave him a sense of control and purpose. I returned in time to spend the last two days with him, and I was with him as he left his body. It was a sacred and beautiful moment, and I had a sense of wild ecstasy, as though sharing his delight at being unshackled.
The divined dates had proven themselves providential, and they were also key in events that unfolded in Charlene’s life. Because we took a certain flight out of Tibet to get me back home on time, she helped calm a Tibetan passenger having a severe panic attack. Charlene stayed with his family in Kathmandu for a month and brought back to the States his twenty-two-year-old sister. The hard-to-get visa was approved because Charlene established a rapport with the U.S. embassy official in Kathmandu, who had once taught at the same Denver university where Charlene was teaching. A year later, in New York, the young woman met and married a nephew of the Dalai Lama, fulfilling a prophetic dream she had had as a child that she would meet her Tibetan husband in the United States.
This story isn’t that unique. You’ll find that as you grow in trust with divining, you’ll get a sense of skipping through life hand in hand with the Universe.
It Accelerates Growth on Your Spiritual Path
When we divine and get an answer out of the blue, so to speak, we experience the Universe as responsive. It cares. This can be a shock at first —we’re not alone in the world, after all —and it often puts us on a path that is consciously spiritual. We’re now open to other help that comes our way —teachers, classes, books, yoga, meditation —and as our sense of spirituality widens with time, we soon come to see that there is nothing in our life that is not a spiritual teacher. In the meantime, divining can play that role: gently directing us down certain paths, rewarding courage, developing our discrimination, and most importantly, teaching us trust —trust in ourselves and the unfolding of our destiny. Like a good teacher, it challenges us, but reassures us. It is tuned into our exact needs.
Those needs most likely include some, shall we say, inner housecleaning. “It can bring your karma thumping in, in a big hurry,” says Leroy Bull of the American Society of Dowsers. The adverse beliefs and stubborn behaviors that block us from being all we can be will inevitably surface during the course of our divining, just as they tend to surface in our daily interactions with others. Divining will make them clear as a bell and direct us on our healing journey. “If you have an issue with a certain thing, testing will keep you circling around it until you’re clear it’s an issue, and then you can work on it,” says kinesiology teacher Darlene Van de Grift. “The answers you receive are not necessarily right per se, but right for your process —they give you the answers you need to accelerate your growth. They align you to your life purpose.”
To guide you along that path, an answer can be a stepping-stone rather than a final step. That was what Sue Freeman experienced when, unhappy in her marriage, she repeatedly consulted the pendulum. Yes, get a divorce, it advised. She saw a lawyer, put down a retainer, and informed her husband. “I had a certain vision in my mind of his being angry or not caring, but in actuality, I found out just how much he loves me —and finally, after years of asking him to go to marriage counseling, he agreed,” she says. “The answer Yes turned out to be good. By following it, I changed things in our relationship where in the past I was not able to. It turned out even better than I could possibly have imagined.”
Sometimes, in fact, divining will push us deeper into a painful pattern —for our ultimate good, if not for our immediate comfort. By keeping us pinned to our process —if we so wish! —divining ultimately takes us down a spiritual path that improves our clarity and opens our heart. Maybe that is why it’s not known to be that great at making us rich overnight by supplying us with, say, a winning lottery number or horse-race winner, and it may not whisk us into film stardom either. “If you want to be rich and famous, divining might take you as far as you need to go to meet the people you need to meet so that you lose that desire,” says kinesiology counselor Barbara Lubow. “That is, unless you’re meant to be rich and famous —for some people, that’s their job.”
It Lightens Life
To be honest, what’s more interesting than our own life? We naturally love talking about ourselves, and divining is a way to do that with a very receptive listener, especially if we dialogue with it. Divining is interactive and playful, and it adds intrigue and delight to decision-making processes that would otherwise be boring, drab, or stressful. “There’s an element of fun in divining that brightens the dullness of everyday consciousness,” says Garnette Arledge, author of Wise Secrets of Aloha and On Angel’s Eve. “When I was a teenager, I would pray, ‘Please, I don’t want to live a dull, normal life,’ and it ensures that I don’t!”
By throwing our fate to the winds, which is what divining feels like sometimes, we can feel as free as the clouds floating by. Instead of the heaviness of having to get it right, we experience a lighthearted willingness to dive into the currents of life. That keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously —nonattachment that is a great spiritual boon. Sitting in the palm of the Divine, we can relax and enjoy the view.
YOU CAN USE DIVINING WHEN . . .
You’re in a Pinch
When we’re in a genuine dilemma and we don’t trust our gut or have a clear answer within, divining works exceptionally well. Our need seems to empower the process, and as long as we disengage our emotions from it or use a technique like the chits that emotions can’t override, the answer will come swiftly, with a sense of rightness and inevitability to it.
You Need a Friend with Whom to Talk Things Over
With muscle-testing and the pendulum, you can actually talk an issue through, exploring all the options, testing possible outcomes, going down new avenues of thought as you probe the possibilities. The more honest you are with yourself, the more useful the answers will be.
You Need a Reality Check
We can get so enmeshed in our mental patterns, desires, and projections that we can’t see something clearly, which is why we do things like marry the same person over and over, only in different bodies. Divining can give us the straight story.
You Need a Dose of Courage
Divining has a way of taking us down roads we fear to tread. We often know deep down what has to be done, and divining prods us by lending authority to that knowing. Then we find that our fears were exaggerated, groundless, or worth going through.
You Have to Sort through Information
To find the right plumber, jacket, mattress, or mutual fund, all you need is a list and a divining tool. Just be sure to define your terms clearly. You can also expand the simple Yes/No protocol to efficiently pinpoint numbers, quantities, and dates —for example, to choose the best day and time to travel.