Listen to the Moment: Knowing What to Do Now

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Today, out of the blue, I got two connection-request messages on LinkedIn from two children’s authors. I don’t know either one, personally. I’m not involved with children’s literature. Why was I receiving these requests? I could have thought, “That’s strange” and just let it go. Instead, I explored how this unusual coincidence might relate to what was going on in my life at that moment.

For a few days, I’ve been having the urge to write something new and have done nothing about. When I got those connection requests, they reminded me about my urge to write.

Hmmm. Authors. Writing. More than a reminder, I took this as a call to action. Instead of ignoring the invitations, I decided that these synchronous events were a “message from the universe” encouraging me to obey that writing urge. So here I am, writing this article.

I believe that the universe always provides us with clues, helpers, prompts, kicks in the butts, hints at solutions to problems—whatever we need to accomplish what we need to accomplish, or to learn something, or to move forward in some way, and so on. All we need to do is be open to hearing/seeing/receiving those messages.

Every day, subtle (and not so subtle) things happen, things that we ignore, pass by, or perhaps don’t even notice.

We need to learn to listen to the moment—to increase our awareness of, and be receptive to, those little prompts, clues, signals, and messages that come up for every one of us.


“An apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated” (Dictionary.com) and “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events…that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality” (Mirriam-Webster.com).

I don’t think it’s coincidence at all, nor are they causally unrelated. However, if we receive them as personal messages, these events, messages, signals can definitely be meaningful.

I think they’re actually reflections of our own spiritual, emotional, or mental output. We just need to learn to become aware of them, accept them, and interpret them in terms of our personal situation.

I frequently read evidence of synchronicity here at tinybuddha.com. Almost all of the articles receive reader-comments like the following (with thanks to the readers who wrote these):

  • “Perfect article for me today.”
  • “Your timing is perfect.”
  • “This is excellent, excellent and exactly what I needed to read.”
  • “This article came at just the right time.”
  • “This couldn’t have come at a better time.”
  • “I needed this today! Thanks!”
  • “Your timing is uncanny.”
  • “Just what I needed today.”
  • “Oh, I felt like you were talking directly at me!”
  • “I am always amazed at what comes before me just when I need it.”

It surely is amazing when something we read or experience seems to directly address what’s going on in our life. I’m suggesting that this happens every day, in every place we find ourselves.

If we’re open to it, we will see, read, hear, touch, or feel something that’s exactly what we need.

Tiny Buddha founder Lori Deschene wrote, “People often comment that the Tiny Buddha emails come at just the right time for them, and I think there’s a simple explanation for that. They all address universal challenges—things we all deal with, and often.”

It’s so true. Also, when we come here to read, we have already opened ourselves to receiving our own personal messages.

I think of the flow of my life as a kind of stream. Like the water in a cool mountain stream, I bump along over the rocks as well as the smoother sandy and grassy sections. My personal stream runs through my world around me, sometimes contributing to its ecology and quality, occasionally taking what I need from the shores, sometimes catching and accepting things that are thrown my way by others.

Sometimes I’m bubbling along and other times I’m running slowly. Often there are barriers that I must learn to flow around or maybe even break down in order to continue on my path.

Usually the stream of my life flows along familiar paths. Sometimes it takes a new direction. The new directions can be beautiful, welcome places to flow. However, I wouldn’t have found those if I hadn’t run into one of the barriers we all sometimes face in the flow of our days.

Like any stream, my life receives a constant trickle of input from my surroundings and from “the source.” My life stream originates from, and is fed by, the nourishing waters of the universe all around.

Our days’ events contain messages, whether big or small, from something greater than ourselves.

Lori also wrote, “They key is to listen to your instincts.” 

We get messages from “out there” and, if we accept them, they can help us navigate the stream of our lives through the sometimes rough terrain. Some might even lead our streams toward beautiful new directions.

How did those Tiny Buddha readers I quoted come to read exactly what they needed in that moment? Perhaps some were drawn by Twitter, Facebook, their feed reader, or email subscription. Maybe some friend had emailed the article link to them. None of these things are coincidences.

In each case, some prior action resulted in their seeing the title—they “followed”, “liked”, subscribed, or maybe talked to that friend about a problem. They had felt some lack or need, had some problem or issue to deal with. More importantly, they followed up by clicking to and reading the article. I hope they also followed up with some action that helped redirect the flow of their personal stream.

Listening to the moment requires:

  • Mindfulness. If we practice mindfulness, we increase our awareness of what’s happening in the moment. It may help to meditate more often. It relaxes our bodies, minds, and souls and puts us a little more in tune with our universe, our higher self.
  • Openness. Remember, your signals/messages can be very subtle, so remaining consciously open is an important key.
  • Access to intuition. If we follow our instincts, this helps us take action on the ideas, thoughts, and feelings that arise from any given mindful moment.
  • Intention. One of the keys to perceiving our messages is to be ready, receptive, and observant. One way to set ourselves up is to set an intention—it could be having a plan for the day, or setting a goal, or deciding to seek solutions to a problem, or looking for ways to help a friend in need, and so on.

Listen. Watch. Be open. Then, be ready to take action.

What message(s) have you received today? Are you going to ignore them or act upon them?

Photo by AlicePopkorn

About Kate Britt

Kate is a retired teacher, editor, and technical writer living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She blogs sporadically at http://ponderthepreposterous.wordpress.com/.

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