I don’t write much about angels anymore. To me, they are so commonplace that I might as well write about the air and trees: sometimes I see them shimmering just at the corner of my eye, or as an energy field standing behind a particular person, and sometimes the trick is to recognize them through moments of supernatural generosity.
Not long ago I remembered a story that still makes me burst out laughing with gratitude and joy. Patrick was a high school drop out, unemployed and unemployable. His father had just died, and walking down the street in Providence, Rhode Island, he was grieving the loss and sense of isolation that attends even the death of someone who has been brutal in the past. He was young, hurt, angry, frightened, penniless, alone and inwardly lost, far from his coal mining roots. What was he to do? Where to go?
Railing against the Fates and a God he didn’t believe in, he felt a piece of paper blown up in the wind stick onto his leg. He pulled it off and started to throw it away when his hand was stayed. He read it. It was an application form for admission to renowned Brown University.
His first thought was to toss it in a bin: Brown was too renowned, too swell, for the likes of him, and then on a whim (why not?) he filled in the form and sent off, knowing that without a high school degree admission was hopeless.
He was accepted on full scholarship, graduated from Brown, went on to law school and is now a successful attorney in Washington D. C., owner of a beautiful house in a upscale neighborhood, married and with a daughter about to go off to college herself.
He thinks of that sometimes – the accident of a piece of paper catching on his leg. Coincidence? Luck? Synchronicity? Angels? Is something Out There watching over us, intervening in our lives? And if so, how do we connect with it – for our good and in the service of others?
I am an old woman now, and I have communed with angels and The Universe, for most of my life. I say “angels,” plural, but perhaps they are all a singular, for who was it who said, “That’s all an angel is, an idea of God”? (I give this quote in A Book of Angels, and while I’m at it, I’ll mention also Angel Letters, and The President’s Angel, and Art of Intuition, and Revelations, and the Path of Prayer, and the Treasure of Montsegur, all talking about the mystery and generosity of the Spiritual Dimension. (Go to my website: http://www.sophyburnham.com for more.)
OK, you want to see angels?
Here are Sophy’s 10 Rules of the Universe
Practice gratitude: if something nice happens, let your heart lift with delight. Give thanks. Most of us walk around blind and half-asleep, never noticing the blessings poured upon us. All day, every day, send out energy waves of thanks. Angels—the Universe—this energy—loves to be noticed. It loves being thanked. It will turn itself (themselves) inside out to give you more!
Be happy. This is not as hard as one would think. Happiness is an inside job, and not dependent on having or getting or buying. It comes instead by avoiding resentment, anger, hatred, bitterness, envy. Everyone experiences the “dark emotions,” but they don’t make us happy. Therefore, don’t let yourself dwell on them (don’t spend time “eating worms,” as my mother used to say). What does everyone want? To be happy. The Universe wants that for you too. It loves happiness. The angels are attracted to compassion, happiness, peace, joy. If you cannot be happy, smile anyway. Just smiling will lift your spirits. Thought follows action.
Forgive yourself, over and over, again and again, even when you think you have nothing to forgive (“it’s all someone else’s fault,” right?). Forgiving yourself is one of the finest and most healthy things that you can ever do. Love yourself as you might love a little child, a baby stumbling as it tries to walk.
Forgive those who have offended you. Everyone fails us. Everyone stumbles, makes mistakes, is struggling to survive with what poor tools lie in their emotional and mental tool box. Forgive them all. You don’t have to hang around with someone who has deeply harmed you. You forgive but don’t forget. Stay out of that person’s orbit, but don’t keep replaying the bad times or the story of yourself, a victim. (I am not saying this is easy, just essential. It takes attention.)
Be kind, especially to yourself. If you are hungry, eat; if you are tired, sleep; if you are angry, tell someone (but only twice! Then let it go); if lonely, pick up the phone and call a friend. Care for yourself. It’s part of the practice of loving-kindness.
Do something nice every day for someone else. Even if it is only to smile and say “Good Morning,” to the bus driver. Even if it takes effort or inconvenience..
Shantideva, an 8th century Buddhist monk, wrote that our motivation, whether good or bad, determines our happiness:
Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy
And whatever suffering there is in this world,
All comes from desiring myself to be happy
The next rule is hard to express for it is a way of being, rather than an action.
Have wonder. Like a little child, marvel at the world around you – trees, sidewalks, people, air, sky, stars, the works of God and humankind. Observe with awe and gratitude and joy, as if seeing for the first time, as if seeing for the last moment of your life. Imagine that you will never have your senses again and make this minute last. It’s all so good. Marvel at it. Wonder.
Find beauty. “Beauty is reality seen with the eyes of love,” wrote Evelyn Underhill, the English mystic. It is love that draws the angels to your side. Remember that angels can express ONLY love. Anger, Rage, Fury, Resentment, Violence, Malice and Vicousness blow them away like birds in a windstorm.
Trust. Trust that the Universe is on your side, that when one door closes, another opens, that “they” – the angels, your guardians, guides, manes, spirits—are working to your advantage even when things look bleak. Keep a light heart. It all works out for the OK – and sometimes even for the BEST.
And still, I have not answered your question: How do you see and personally commune with angels? I think, if you want to see them with your own physical and spiritual eye, you have one last, and most important thing to do:
ASK. Which is to say, PRAY. Ask for them to reveal themselves. They WILL, I promise you. Ask and then sit back and hold onto your hat. For they won’t come as you imagine, but they will be revealed.
Everything I’m saying here can be distilled into one simple, overworked, mysterious word: love. Only love. With all your mind and heart and soul and strength, and you will be happy. And you will commune with angels every day.