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reading signs

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Reading signs is an art and a skill; it’s pattern recognition and figure/ground shifting.

You know the experience when you learn a new word and all of a sudden you see it everywhere.  Or when you are working on a problem and it seems the movies, tv shows, books and news are all discussing aspects of the same problem – even if they are calling it something else.  You are making connections between what is on your mind and what you see in your environment.

The information to solve the problem begins to present itself in all sorts of different ways and places if you can just pay attention and recognize the pattern(s).

If you use it to guide you in your life choices then it requires an ability to recognize when you are faced with divine  guidance and when you are tricking yourself, and it has a playful quality to it.

I used to think everyone saw information in patterns; then I discovered it wasn’t as common as I thought.  It seems it has some instinctive qualities to it but it also can be developed.

I remember when I was a child and my Mom would put me down for a nap, that I was not going to take, I would pass the time staring at the ceiling – there were some truly amazing images there.  Shapes and squiggles make patterns that are recognizable to me.  It’s like laying on grass and looking at clouds – images develop and then shift and then transform into something else.  It has some relationship to what is on your mind and it has some concrete aspects too.

It’s quite meditative and develops the creative aspect of your brain.

I think this past time developed my skills at reading signs, drawing, diagnosing problems, and finding creative, innovative solutions because it developed my perception at pattern recognition as well as my skill at shifting between figure and ground.

It’s a type of Gestalt paradigm shifting; allowing the ground or pattern to develop into a figure, interacting with it and the pattern recognition program in your brain.

This talent is useful for developing mindfulness, problem solving, and focusing life choice transitions because it helps to open your horizons and encourages thinking outside the box.  It uses your internal sense awareness system and increases your connection points or threads to the environment around you.

In the latter situation it works a bit like  free association in psychoanalytic theory, because it helps you ascertain what is in your subconscious, especially that which may be enough under the surface that you miss it when thinking in a formal way.

The theory is that our subconscious has information to share with our conscious mind but that we have stuffed it down under for various reasons.

In example, you love music and love to sing but you had a parent who wanted you to study a science because that was real education and music was folly – so you stuffed your love of music into your shadow or your subconscious.  You may have allowed yourself to follow music and buy music and participate in music in a number of ways but not as a career.

Then you come to a crossroads in your life and you are thinking about what you want to do as a change in career.  When this happens your subconscious wants to get your attention so music, singing, and themes or signs of this nature would begin to present themselves to you in your environment.  Your subconscious isn’t affecting your environment by changing what is there,  it is affecting what you perceive – it is affecting to what you put your attention.

In free association, the rule is to say the first word that comes to your mind without censorship, this is giving you a glimpse into your own subconscious pattern recognition and what associations you have of which you are unaware.

The experience I described above about learning a new word and then seeing it everywhere is another example of seeing due to an increased awareness.

This idea of reading signs can be taken too far, wherein a person must wait for a sign to take an action.  I am not suggesting this, nor do I think this is an empowered way to move through life.

I am suggesting that having the capacity to lightly and playfully notice to what you are attracted or what seems to keep presenting itself to you when you are working through a problem may be an innovative and whole-istic way to guide you in problem solving.

This can be developed through figure ground perception, perspective shifting, and awareness development along with pattern recognition to discover new connections and innovative solutions to bothersome problems.

One way to increase your availability to this phenomenon is to start out by focusing in on a problem you would like to solve – perhaps something that you have tried to resolve through other more formal paths.  Once you have a sense of it – then write it down on a piece of paper and leave it next to your bed.  Look at the information on the paper and think of your question about the problem, and ask for guidance with it as you fall asleep.

You may find you have dreams that give you information about what to do.  Also, pay attention to what patterns are presenting themselves to you as you go through your day.  Jot these down with the question or problem on the piece of paper next to your bed.

Do this for a few days, then look at what information you have gathered and see if you can identify a pattern or answer to your conflict.

I hope you find this to be a fun and informative exercise.

See you tomorrow.


Author: instinctivehealthparenting4u

Author, Integrative medicine practitioner, psychotherapist. Albuquerque, NM practice, focus on return to balance and the integration of spirit, mind, and body through meditation and mindfulness. Monthly trainings, & professional and personal development coaching. Find more on my website Read my books, Turning NO to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness, Turning ME to WE: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness (, for increased internal wellness and alignment with your spiritual purpose, and to activate joyous love and light, bg

One thought on “reading signs

  1. Nicely said Beth! A good reminder to pay closer attention. Sometimes I forget to just “look up” and pay attention.

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