Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Calling on the enlightened for help in myriad situations.

What are spirit guides?

The concept is that there are conscious, intelligent beings in many other realities not typically visible to our physical senses, who serve as guides to what is in our highest and greatest good. Though they are not permitted to interfere directly, they can and do nudge us in many different ways. Sometimes it's in the form of a hunch-maybe a sudden change of plans, a dream message, a seemingly random idea, a familiar scent, an unusual synchronicity, even an urge to pick up the phone and call a specific person, or to stop at a different grocery store when that wasn't your plan and as a result you make an important personal connection there. Sometimes we pay attention to their signals whether or not we realize we are being guided, and sometimes we do not.

Who are spirit guides?

Some of our spirit guides are the souls of people we have loved who are no longer alive like a special grandparent, parent, brother, sister or friend. In that case you might recognize/feel/sense the familiar energetic presence of that person around you from time to time. Some people even catch a whiff of their deceased grandmother's perfume or their grandfather's pipe tobacco. When you call on them for guidance, they will always respond.

"What if they have already reincarnated?" you might ask. The aspect of their soul, which expressed itself in this life as your beloved family member, is always available to you even when they have incarnated again. The soul is somewhat analogous to "The Cloud" for a computer; the soul is a living library of all of its experiences, all of its identities and roles throughout all time and space.

We also have guides whose souls are not familiar to us, and yet they too are there for us. Know that when you ask for guidance from your heart, you will receive it. Then be open to whatever form it will show up in.

Lastly, guides can be very evolved beings who embody the highest frequencies of light. These include angels, ascended masters, and other enlightened world teachers. They have the ability to operate out of time and space, and they therefore can guide huge numbers of people with differing needs all at once.

Two true examples

1. This is a personal true story. I made a reservation online to rent an apartment in Paris. The lovely woman who owned the apartment emailed me clear instructions where she would leave the key. My flight landed in Paris at night. I took a taxi to the address of the apartment, and the key was not there. It was a very uncomfortable situation: night time in Paris with a suitcase and no key. I asked for my guides to please help.

Out of the blue, a voice told me to go to the café across the street. Lights were on there so I did. I walked up to a friendly looking bartender and asked in my best French if by chance he knew the woman (I said her name) whose apartment I was about to rent across the street.

"Oh!" he exclaimed in French, "you must be the American who is renting from her. She had an emergency and had to leave in a hurry so she left the key with me!"

2. A noted Brazilian healer, John of God, who has no formal medical training, has a remarkable conscious partnership with the souls of people who had medical specialties when they were alive. He asks for their assistance in giving him accurate diagnoses, and they guide his hands as he conducts complex surgeries, without anesthesia or high-tech equipment. He has successfully healed thousands of people. Western scientists have witnessed, studied and filmed his incredible work.

Spirit guides are here for everyone

We all have access to loving, abundant support from our many guides, and they are waiting for us to ask for their assistance. You can call on them by name, make up a name, or allow them to be nameless. They respond to our energetic signature, and don't even need a name to pick up on our needs and to locate us for a response. Spirit guides are there to help steer us to the proper opportunities and teachable moments for our evolution and for our greater good. Ask from your heart and listen. PJH