The Universe is always sending us signs, it’s just that we aren’t always aware of them. These can come through numbers, songs, chance encounters and experiences. There are so many ways that the Universe can talk to us.
The world, in this case I am referring to the matrix or maya, is also sending us messages. It’s just that these messages are often easier to absorb. Every day we have to make a conscious choice as to what we are paying attention to, in order to stay aligned with our spirit.
It is one thing to know that the Universe sends you messages and another to actually pick up them consistently.
In this post I want to explore how you can recognize signs from the Universe, versus messages from the ego, anxiety, fear etc.
How the Universe sends us signs
The key aim of this post is to teach you how to recognize signs. What I mean by this, is to be able to take an experience an determine whether or not the Universe was sending you a sign or if you were picking up on something else.
I talk about this a lot because on the spiritual path we are consistently strengthening this relationship we have with the Universe, with something bigger. As with any relationship, there will be a specific shared language.
In this case, the Universe primarily talks to us through symbol, sign, metaphor etc. Therefore we often have to do some decoding, to make sure we are translating correctly.
Ways the Universe sends us messages
Let’s get a little more specific with the types of signs the Universe might send, with a little explanation of each.
One of the main ways the Universe sends us a sign (that can be very subtle) is through repeating situations.
We might experience a relationship that reminds us of the past or face a familiar obstacle or delay. These are gentle ‘wake up calls’ from the Universe, a way of saying something has to give.
The first step is to acknowledge these situations for what they are – in a sense hold gratitude for them. Then, gently create a new pattern.
With a little work we might notice old dynamics crop up but they won’t be as problematic, and we’ll more easily be able to pivot and let go.
Dreams are one of the easiest ways for the Universe to send us a sign, because we have no preconceptions in them. We’re not expecting our dreams to be structured or logical, and so they bring us into the subconscious or intuitive mind.
Dreams can highlight repetitive dynamics in a similar way to physical life, through persistent dream symbols.
I had dreams of flooding for literal years before I truly acknowledged they were a sign. Once I realized what was happening I was able to bring more peace to the situations in my life, and release some of the anxiety that the dreams represented.
Animals are an often overlooked messenger from the Universe. Animals are much more tuned into the ‘intuitive network’ and so can deliver us messages in a way that is gentle but profound.
We’ll notice specific animals popping up in our environment at certain stages of our life. When we are being encouraged to embody their specific traits.
Some animal messengers will appear for years just as general support, while others come in and out of our life based on whatever is happening.
Repeating or angel numbers are widely discussed as a universal sign. I think they’re often overemphasised which can cause some confusion.
Seeing numbers like 111 or 919 consistently is a good sign that our spiritual awakening is growing and that something needs our attention.
However it’s important to not get too caught up in number sequences as they can appear abundantly if we look hard enough. A good level of detachment is required to be objective about the specific and deeper messages coming through.
An important thing to understand about intuition or gut feelings is that they are coming through the wider world.
We have a physical body but also an energetic one, and this picks up on signals from the Universe. Think of the energy body as one big receiver, we’re always tuning into messgaes whether we realize it or not.
Another way the Universe sends us signs is through the people we meet.
One of the ways we connect with other people energetically is through cords of attachment. The bigger our connection, the bigger the cord.
In a way, the Universe can tug these cords of attachment in a particular direction, and if we have enough awareness we can follow that prompt. Whether we encounter new people who are better aligned with us, or gravitate back towards lost friends or romantic partners.
Pay attention to the chance encounters you have; when a small delay or change of mind would have completely changed things.
Obstacles & delays
Obstacles and delays are another huge sign fro the Universe. This is an interesting one in my experience…because it doesn’t always mean you are on the wrong path. Let me explain.
Sometimes obstacles and delays are a reflection of our energy/beliefs. For example, being an artist might be our calling but if we place more value on the criticism or disapproval we have received around it, we’ll manifest an obstacle.
So there is that side of things. However, sometimes we face obstacles as a form of redirection. The best way to figure out which one it is, is to do some introspection. As with all of these signs, you can always consult your intuition, and ask it questions for clarification.
Knowing that all of these things can be a sign is quite overwhelming. Almost anything can be a sign…but not everything is a sign.
When we are communicating with a human, we know they are telling us something through what we can hear or see (primarily). However, when we are communicating with the Universe, it is about how we feel.
The energy and emotions we have surrounding an experience, will give us insight into whether something was a sign or not.
Further Reading: What is synchronicity?
How to recognize signs & synchronicities
Now I want to go over some common ways that signs show up.
You ‘just know ‘
This is such a difficult sensation to put into words, but one of the clearest ways you can identify a sign from the divine is that you just know. In spite of the desire to brush things off, overanalyze, or intellectualize experiences, you just know that something was a message. This is your intuition coming through crystal clear.
No one can tell you directly what this knowing is going to feel like for you. We all perceive and take in information differently, and so that intuitive nudge is going to feel different too.
But as a rule of thumb, if something persists as a strong feeling without needing to analyze it or after a ton of analysis, if it remains strong in the mind, it is most likely a sign.
You keep seeing it
Frequency is also a good indicator of a sign. If we receive a sign multiple times regardless of our environment, emotional state or physical focus, then it’s likely from the Universe.
Intuitive insights often start out small and quiet. This isn’t because the Universe is trying to hide anything from or confuse us, but because it sends messages based on our faith level.
If we received strong intuitive impulses everyday, we likely wouldn’t get anything done! They would be too unsettling and cause too much disorientation.
Intuitive insights get louder and louder until we pick up on them. In some rare cases, the Universe will send us a sign when we aren’t fully ready for it but are capable of taking a leap of faith.
You feel energized
The final way you can identify a sign is that it energizes you! Signs from the Universe are very intentional; they have been crafted for a specific purpose – and so they come with a very distinctive energy.
Signs are meant to move you whole-heartedly in one direction. And so, the signs we receive will energize rather than drain us.
Our intuition is a voice of knowing, even when it directs us away from something it does so in an uplifting way. It says ‘You’ve been here before and you know better’. On the flip-side, when we experience fear or doubt, these emotions will push us strongly in a way that feels heavy and rushed.
Eventhough it would be great to know one-hundred percent of the time if something is a sign, there’s no fool-proof method. What’s most important here is to not overanalyze each little thing. Allow yourself to act in a way that feels aligned and true to yourself, but don’t get too caught up on being absolutely certain.
It’s much more helpful to take action on some of the insights you receive, rather than allow over-analysis to stunt your growth and allow your energy to get stuck in the mind. This quote by Terence McKenna is one of my favorite takes on this.
“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood.
– Terence McKenna
Ego thrives in seriousness, intellectual conflict and general rigidity. If we want to get in touch with the Universe, we do so through playfulness and curiosity.
Make interpreting and acting on the signs fun, don’t get too serious with it.
How to receive more signs from the Universe
With some of these tips you’ll better be able to pick up on signs from the Universe. However, there are periods on the spiritual path where it feels like no signs are showing up or less than before.
This happens for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes the Universe stops sending us signs as a way to encourage us to go inward. To stop looking for signs outside of ourselves and to take action on the signs we’ve already received.
When the Universe sends us signs but we ignore or take no action on them, it’s like leaving someone on read – we stop getting new messages.
So, it can be helpful to take a step back and recall the last sign or synchronicity you picked up but didn’t take action upon. What shifts do you have to make based on that?
Another reason we don’t receive any signs is because we are strongly disconnected from our intuition, and as an extension, the Universe at large.
In that case, it’s about finding small ways to reconnect with our mind, body and spirit. What self-care practices have you been slacking with recently?
You can also ask for a sign from the Universe if you really need the confirmation. I don’t recommend doing this too often as you want to build trust regardless of what signs are coming through or not. However sometimes that extra validation can be helpful.
Get into a meditation and calm the mind. Then focus on the type of guidance you need. Be very specific with what you need help on and what sort of sign you are looking for.
Are you looking for something in the sky? A number sequence? An encounter with a specific person or type of person?
Once you’ve requested a sign, be mindful. Go about your day with a little extra awareness and see what sticks out to you. Do you notice a particular word popping up more than usual? A specific location or phrase? What sort of people do you bump into during the day?
The final tip I have for receiving more signs, is to be open to messages showing up in unexpected ways.
Shake up any stagnant routines and patterns, allow something new to show up in your life. Take notice of what you are anticipating. What doubts or fears are you ruminating on that the Universe might be taking and reflecting back to you?
How to take action on the signs you receive
It makes no sense to discuss receiving signs without also exploring how to take action on them.
Our energy and mindset is very important, but the Universe is also looking to our direct actions for insight on what we need and want.
Taking action on the signs we receive is a way to meet the Universe halfway, to say this is what I want to create in my life!
A lot of the signs we receive are going to push us in a direction that is uncomfortable, unfamiliar and scary. This is because the Universe is not as concerned about our personal limitations or societal expectations – it speaks directly through our soul.
Just because a course of action feels bad initially, doesn’t mean it is bad for us overall. Much of the progress we make will be right outside of our comfort zone.
Taking action on these signs can bring up a lot of fear, and understandably so. The Universe wants us to move in new ways; it encourages us to do better.
When we allow fear to sit lonely, it ends up filling our entire aura, and we start to perceive it as the only thing we can grasp onto.
The best advice I can offer on tackling this sort of fear is to let it be there…but bring in something else. What other emotions do you want to hold alongside this fear? How can you embrace both fear and joy?
A lot of this article focuses on the signs we receive when we are on the wrong path – when we feel confused and doubtful. But the Universe also sends us signs when we are on the right path, by amplifying and supporting us in whatever we are doing.
I don’t put as much emphasize of those here because they are often more obvious, but it is important to acknowledge and take action on both.