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Did you know you have an “Inner Pilot Light?” Your Inner Pilot Light is that Divine spark within you that may grow dim but never goes out. Call it your soul, your Christ consciousness, your Buddha nature, or your highest self, your Inner Pilot Light is always there, radiating light and offering you guidance, if only you learn how to tune into this steadfast source of wisdom, comfort, and unconditional love.

My Inner Pilot Light literally saved my life. The whole story of how that happened is in The Anatomy of a Calling, but suffice it to say, I am still here because of this loving voice. Each day, as my gift to Divine sparks everywhere, I send out “The Daily Flame,” messages from your Inner Pilot Light. These love letters from your soul to your Small Self often elicit touching, heartfelt email responses from people who write love letters back to the Inner Pilot Light by replying to the email they received in their inbox. But sometimes, my team get emails of frustration or even despair because people yearn to hear the voice of their Inner Pilot Light without being dependent on the Daily Flame. Yet they feel helpless and discouraged because all they hear is the voice of fear, the voice of judgment, or the inner critic. Exhausted and harassed by these inner voices, they long to commune with the voice of the Divine within, but they find it seemingly impossible to quiet the voices that torment them.

So how do you tap into your Inner Pilot Light and hear the loving but incisive guidance, the wisdom, the comfort, the tenderness, the authenticity, the constructive feedback, and the wise, laser-sharp truth of your Inner Pilot Light? Here are a few tips.

1. Reduce your level of busyness.

Take a break from your busy life and get quiet. As long as you’re scheduled 24/7, you’ll find it impossible to hear your Inner Pilot Light.

2. Get out in nature.

Being in the natural world, away from technology and the mind’s other temptations for distraction opens you up to the wisdom of your Inner Pilot Light.

3. Listen to music.

Try asking your Inner Pilot Light a question and then turning on Pandora to play “Pandora roulette.” Or put your iPod on random. See what song your Inner Pilot Light sends your way in response to your question.

4. Tune into your body compass.

Start by noticing how your body feels when you’re faced with a decision. Your body’s “Hell no” will feel like a tight gripping sensation. A “Hell yeah” often feels like openness, especially in the chest. Sometimes a choice will feel scary, so you might be confused by butterflies. But are they the butterflies of excitement or the flutterings of dread? Tune in.

5. Meditate.

Messages from your Inner Pilot Light tend to be quiet, so you’ll need to clear the mind’s clutter before you can hear your Inner Pilot Light’s gentle whispers.

6. Face up to your Gremlins.

As long as they’re prattling on, it’s hard to hear your Inner Pilot Light.

7. Pay attention to dreams and keep a dream journal.

When the cognitive mind is asleep, your Inner Pilot Light has a heyday. Dreams can be filled with intuitive messaging that needs to be decoded. Read up on the various techniques to interpret your dreams here.

8. Notice books or articles online that speak directly to where you are in your life.

Consider that billboards, license plates, Facebook posts, emails, sign posts, and books that fall off the shelf all have messages from your Inner Pilot Light encoded in them. Be on the lookout for what might be right in front of you.

9. Tune into any health issues you might be facing.

If you have a headache, what is your Inner Pilot Light trying to tell you via your headache? If your back hurts, what is your Inner Pilot Light trying to communicate? For more information on how to access your Inner Pilot Light regarding your health, read Mind Over Medicine.

10. Release your resistance.

As long as you are dissing the wisdom of your Inner Pilot Light as “crazy talk,” you’ll find it harder to hear. Listen up to that sense of inner knowing that something is true, even if it feels completely crazy, implausible, or unachievable.

11. See if you can access a spirit guide.

Your spirit guide just might be a translator for your Inner Pilot Light! As my gift to you, you can download several guided meditations aimed at introducing you to your Inner Pilot Light and your spirit guide in the free Fulfill Your Calling Kit.

12. Practice tuning into your Inner Pilot Light by simply asking a specific question.

You can start with something simple like “What should I eat for lunch?” Then close your eyes, breathe deeply, focus on your question, and notice any thoughts, images, voices, sounds, or feelings that show up.

13. Play with your Inner Pilot Light.

Your Inner Pilot Light is never more spot-on than when your life or the life of a loved one is at stake. If your intuition screams, “Don’t trust the babysitter!” you’ll want to take note. But don’t wait for life-and-death situations to start learning to discern between your Inner Pilot Light and your Gremlins. Instead, cultivate a playful relationship with your Inner Pilot Light. Make it a game. Is the phone ringing? See if you can intuit who it is. Going to watch the World Series? See if your Inner Pilot Light can sense who might win. Not sure whether to say yes to a job opportunity? Tune in, see what you get, and then look back to see how things went. Get playful and see what happens.

14. Put your Inner Pilot Light to the test.

Got a hunch? Write it down in an Inner Pilot Light journal and check back on it later. Sometimes it will take a year or two to assess how things went when you followed your intuition or ignored it. In the beginning, following your hunches can feel risky. But over time, you’ll develop “evidence-based faith.” When you see how effortlessly things can flow when you follow your hunches, you’ll be less inclined to let your mind dismiss your intuition.

15. Get into your right brain before seeking guidance from your Inner Pilot Light.

How do you get into your right brain? Try making art, dancing, or visualizations. Here are a few tips for getting into your right brain:

  • Sign your name every which way
  • Have a bilateral conversation in writing with your right and then left hand
  • Learn to move your body in new ways

16. Learn to recognize the feeling of truth.

Even if the voice of your Inner Pilot Light scares you with what it whispers, it always lands with a thud of truth. You may not like what your Inner Pilot Light has to say, but your Inner Pilot Light smashes though layers of denial and cuts to the core to show you what’s true. Once you start to recognize that feeling of truth, you’ll find it easier to know when it’s your Inner Pilot Light piping up.

17. Recognize that your Inner Pilot Light tastes like freedom.

Martha Beck suggests that we ask ourselves, “Shackles on or shackles off?” When the voice of your Inner Pilot Light speaks, it always feels like shackles off.

18. Learn to “read energy.”

Sometimes, you instinctually read someone’s energy without even realizing you’re doing it. You’ll look at someone you’ve never met and pick up on cues about their emotional state, health, and well-being. But when we make it a conscious practice to read the energy of a person, business opportunity, or personal choice, we bench-press our energy-reading muscles and strengthen our connection to our Inner Pilot Lights.

19. Ask for guidance.

Your cognitive mind will try to convince you that it’s possible to control life. But your Inner Pilot Light giggles when your mind thinks like this. The sooner you realize that the Universe doesn’t need you to be in control, the more peace and ease you’ll experience. Since you’re not in charge, why not enlist the help of forces of consciousness larger than your Small Self? Whether you call it God, Goddess, Buddha, Allah, your Inner Pilot Light or Captain Crunch, surrender to this force of love that can show you the way of greatest flow for your unique soul.

20. Cultivate presence.

Be here now. When your mind is churning over what happened in the past or worrying about what hasn’t yet happened, you’re less available to all the intuitive knowing that only exists in the present moment. To cultivate presence, start a meditation practice, spend time in nature, and practice mindfulness in your daily activities.

21. Tune in to signs.

The world is alive, everything is conscious, and Consciousness itself is always trying to communicate with you via your Inner Pilot Light. But most of the time, we’re so busy, distracted, and caught up in our minds that we miss the signs showing us how to find and fulfill our calling, how to align with the right people, and how to live in accordance with our souls. Learn how to interpret the signs. Not sure how to tune into the signs. Listen to “10 Ways Your Soul Guides You In Daily Life,” a free call I recorded with Rachel Naomi Remen.

22. Send your Inner Pilot Light a text message.

Got a question? Pretend for a minute that your Inner Pilot Light has an iPhone and is able to instantly receive and respond to texts. The trick is . . . you have to be the first to initiate the text. Close your eyes. Visualize yourself typing in your question to your Inner Pilot Light. Then BOOM. You get an instant response via text with your answer right there. What did your Inner Pilot Light say? (Hat tip to Martha Beck for that tip, which she taught with Lissa in the teleclass Coming Home to Your Spirit.)

23. Draw your Inner Pilot Light.

Pull out your art supplies and go to town. See if any wisdom emerges as you move into your creative flow. Or ask your Inner Pilot Light a question and then start to draw.

24. Vision with your Inner Pilot Light.

Let your Inner Pilot Light make a vision board with you. Don’t do it the old school way. It’s not about cutting and pasting what your ego wants for you. Tap into the deep place, put on some music that feeds your Inner Pilot Light, and let your Inner Pilot Light vision with you.

25. Engage in repetitive movement.

Run. Dance. Chop carrots. Hike. Play an instrument. See if your Inner Pilot Light lights up when your hands and feet are otherwise occupied.

26. Consult your Inner Pilot Light via oracles.

Try Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance cards or a Tarot deck or the Norse runes or the iChing. Or try asking your Inner Pilot Light a question and then opening Lissa Rankin’s new book The Anatomy of a Calling to see what wisdom the book might have to share. Anything can be an oracle if you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Or pick your own favorite book to serve as an oracle.

27. Find your Inner Pilot Light in nature’s wisdom.

Got a question? Ask a tree or the ocean or a waterfall. Tune in.

28. Consult your Inner Pilot Light via animal totems.

If an animal unexpectedly runs across your path, assume your Inner Pilot Light is sending you a message. Look up the animal totem on your cell phone and receive the message.

29. Let your Inner Pilot Light write you a letter.

Sit down. Get quiet. Tune into your Inner Pilot Light. Then, without thinking, begin a dialogue with your Inner Pilot Light. You can start by asking a question—or just let ‘er rip. Feel free to write back and forth. Think Neale Donald Walsh’s Conversations With God. You can talk to your Inner Pilot Light any time, and your Inner Pilot Light will respond. Seriously. Try it. You’ll be amazed.

30. Surrender your desire to communicate with your Inner Pilot Light.

Are you frustrated that you can’t hear your Inner Pilot Light? Does the Daily Flame annoy you? Do you find yourself grasping at the desire to be more tuned in? Trying making your desire to connect with your Inner Pilot Light an offering to the Divine. Ask for help. Let go of the grasping. Trust that everything in the Universe wants you to be connected to your Inner Pilot Light and then let go of all attachment to outcomes. (Hat tip to Tosha Silver for this tip.)

What works for YOU? We are all unique, individual lights of consciousness, so what works for one human may not work for another. Ask your Inner Pilot Light what would help YOU.

And please don’t despair if you’re still having a hard time discerning the voice of your Inner Pilot Light. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Like any new practice, becoming familiar with the voice of your Inner Pilot Light may take time, attention, intention, and inspired action.

Bench press your inner communication muscles and watch the light within you radiate.
(Click to Tweet!)

Trusting your inner guidance,


PS. The Inner Pilot Light is a star in three of my books—The Anatomy of a Calling, The Fear Cure, and Mind Over Medicine. If you feel called to go deeper, all three of these books have more practical guidance to help you tune in.

Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine and The Fear Cure, is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and spiritual seeker. Passionate about what makes people optimally healthy and what predisposes them to illness, she is on a mission to merge science and spirituality in a way that not only facilitates the health of the individual; it also heals the collective. As she became aware of how fear dominates modern culture and how such fear predisposes us not only to unhappiness but to disease, she began researching ways to befriend fear so we can let it heal and liberate us, opening us up to greater compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves. Lissa has starred in two PBS specials and also leads spirituality workshops, both online, as well as at retreat centers like Esalen, Kripalu, and Omega. When doing what she can to sprinkle pixie dust on a fear-based culture, Lissa loves to hike, ski, and dance. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her daughter. Read her blog and learn more at LissaRankin.com.