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I firmly believe that my ability as a psychic medium is a God-given gift and that not just anybody can become one simply because he or she wants to. Trust me, I know many people who have tried, and without success. But I do believe all people have some psychic intuition — more than most know they have — that can be cultivated enough to enable them to receive and recognize signs from spirits.

The first step in tapping into that intuition is to set your intention by silently asking the spirits for help when you need it. In other words, pray or meditate. If you are going through a difficult time and are looking for answers or guidance in a particular situation, you first have to ask for help and for signs. That’s the easy part. The second step, which is more difficult but equally important, is to open your heart and mind to receiving those signs.

So how do you know whether something is truly a sign? There is no definitive answer to that; you must use your intuition. If you think you have received a sign but aren’t confident that it is one, continue to pray and meditate. Ask God for more help, more signs, more assurance, and see what happens.

Here are four signs that spirits are trying to get your attention.

  1. Electricity: Fluctuations in electricity can be a sign. Spirits are energy currents, so it is easy for them to manipulate electricity and cause cell phones, televisions, computers, and lights to flicker. Yes, when a lightbulb burns out, it can simply mean the lightbulb was old. But if you are sitting on the edge of your bed looking at a photo album, reminiscing about a grandma who has passed, and a light pops off, I would bet it’s her letting you know she’s there. All spirits are different, and spirits’ methods of communicating with you may vary greatly.

  2. Nature: The spirits are able to manipulate nature and your awareness to get your attention. For me, a white butterfly has always been a sign from my mother. She’s not literally the butterfly, but she’s able to manipulate the energy of the butterfly and also able to get my attention so that I will notice it most when it’s near.

  3. Signs appearing in threes: Over time I have discovered that signs from spirits intended for me come in threes, and I have heard others say the same. Some of us need to have signs thrown in our faces many times and in different ways before the message resonates with us. So, for example, if you were thinking about changing jobs and the spirits were trying to tell you that you should, you might open a newspaper and find a story about how more Americans are changing careers. Then you might turn on the radio and hear Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 country hit “Take This Job and Shove It.” (Does any station even play that song anymore? I think that would be a huge sign! Remember, spirits can relate messages in several ways, including through music and humor...) Then one night you might turn on the TV, looking for a laugh, and hear the detective in the comedy you’re watching talk about how he could never hold down a job when he was younger, how he tried to be a clown or a cat walker but failed because he hadn’t found something that he was really good at. But now he has — and he’s happy. You have that aha moment. So you quit your job that you’ve lost passion for, and you do something else. You take the risk and follow the signs, no matter how far-fetched it might seem to anyone else, because something in your gut tells you to do it. The three signs were nudges from spirits. That’s the miracle of how spirits work to assist us here in the physical world, to lead us in sharing our true gifts.

  4. Music: The spirit world is naturally at a higher vibration than we are in the physical world, and spirits love to connect to the vibration of music! How many times have you been missing your loved one only to hear their favorite song randomly throughout the day? Since the spirits don’t have a physical voice, they like for us to focus on the lyrics of music. For me, it was the song “Angel Standing By” by Jewel. Whenever I would feel alone or need inspiration, I would hear the song and feel instantly comforted by the lyrics “So don’t you worry, I’m your angel standing by.”

Some people might argue that these types of signs are nothing more than coincidences. I understand and respect that opinion but do not agree. I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that everything in the universe happens for a specific reason and that such synchronicity is often triggered by spirits. If you are open to that belief, the spirits will be open to giving you the signs and guidance you seek. These will enlighten you to a new way of living and thinking and will empower you to build your own communication system with the spirits. If your mind is closed to the spirits, they will likely recognize your attitude over time and no longer try to communicate with you — which, to me, would be a tremendous opportunity lost.

Adapted from the book Expect the Unexpected. Copyright © 2015 by Bill Philipps.

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