If you’ve spent any time at all following new age practitioners, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Go with what resonates with you.”
This saying permeates new age spiritual culture of all kinds: It shows up in tarot workshops and healing sessions. You see it in books and hear it on YouTube channels.
It’s meant to be taken as guidance or advice to help a student or client figure out what their next step is. Sometimes, it’s given during times of confusion, as though to say, “Just go with what you feel.”
Confusion itself doesn’t get us very far, does it? When you’re not sure whether you’re coming or going, and you’re unclear as to whether you’re supposed to do this or that, things can go one of two ways:
You stay stuck and keep repeating the same old patterns, knowing you need to take different actions but you’re not sure what they are, or…
You act on emotion, impulse, or intuition and hope for the best…even if the action you’re taking is a stab in the dark and you’re unsure whether it’s going to get you anywhere at all.
And so “go with what resonates with you” is intended to help cut through that confusion. As though it’s as easy as saying, “Just do what you really want to do.”
First, I want to say that I have absolutely used this phrase before, so I’m guilty of perpetuating this idea. It’s come up in my classes, my writing, and in private readings with clients.
And I don’t think it’s wrong to use it entirely. But like anything else, it doesn’t always apply and it’s not appropriate for everyone at all times.
Because “going with what resonates with you” is not always easy. It’s like saying “trust your intuition.”
Do you know how hard it is to trust your gut sometimes? Do you know how difficult it is to feel confused, to sift through layers of mixed emotions, or be paralyzed with fear?
In those instances, it’s not always easy to be sure what resonates with you. All you know is you want to something to change, but you might not be clear on what, how, or even why.
And without that clarity, the phrase “going with what resonates with you” can feel meaningless, impossible, or shallow.
The other thing is that this advice can be hard to work with for someone who isn’t already tuned into their own feelings or sovereignty.
It can take a lifetime to learn to trust yourself, and even when you do, there will always be new challenges you haven’t experienced before that stir up feelings of doubt within your abilities.
Of course, it can also be a tremendously freeing piece of advice. Especially if you are coming out of an experience or background that has been suppressive or strict.
I think that’s one reason why understanding what resonates or calls to you has become so important in tarot and related spiritual practices: People come here looking for alternatives, seeking autonomy and feeling tired of being told how to think, feel, and act.
Yet it takes a certain level of maturity, knowledge and experience to know what to do when someone says, “go with what resonates with you.”
If you’re not used to doing that, then how do you know what that looks like?
Discipline and self-awareness need to be part of the equation when advice like this is on the table.
I don’t know about you, but if I always did what resonates with me, I probably wouldn’t get very much done at all.
I follow what resonates with me when it comes to an overall theme in my life: I know what I need to keep myself happy, healthy, and secure, but I also know that day to day, I need to follow a certain structure and maintain a level of obligation and responsibility to keep it all in place.
This is why I started focusing less on messages like this when I’m working with my tarot students. I try more and more not to catch myself saying, “go with what resonates with you” unless it is absolutely pertinent to the lesson itself.
And because I also love to learn, I’ve been gravitating less and less to teachers who leave it up to me to feel my way through something. I get more out of an experience where steps and boundaries are fully defined and techniques are clearly laid out.
And without the maturity to use that advice responsibly, some people can take the idea of resonance too literally and end up doing something that is counterproductive to a goal or practice.
Sometimes, what you want is out of reach and it’s going be uncomfortable to work towards it.
Once you’re at a point where you’ve reached a certain level of knowledge and expertise in what it is you’re learning or working towards – be it as a student of tarot, or a student of life – then you have more insight into what works for you, and what doesn’t.
Time, experience and expertise allow for you to see what resonates with you within a craft, career, or life itself – but to be thrown into new situations and expected to know exactly what to do, how to feel, and where to go from there doesn’t always lead to the confidence or clarity you’re seeking.
Striking a balance between discipline, knowledge and intuition is a lifelong practice, not something we can just do on command.
We also each need to develop a sense of discrimination when it comes to what kind of information and advice we’re taking.
“Going with what resonates with you” doesn’t help anyone to develop their own criteria for what kind of quality of knowledge they need to look for out in the world, be it from a teacher, mentor, or even just a blog post. This can lead to confirmation bias, where people seek out information that reinforces certain beliefs – beliefs that may be keeping them stuck in the first place.
So if you’re feeling confused right now, or unsure of what your gut is telling you, remember that not all actions are based purely on feeling.
Ground yourself with a piece of knowledge, or sound advice from a mentor, friend, or teacher to.
Until next time,
p.s. If you are looking for a tarot course that explains things with step-by-step processes, clear instructions, and practical techniques that you can use for real-world readings, my online program Taking Tarot to the Next Level is open for registration.
This course is ideal for tarot practitioners who have hit a plateau with beginner books and are ready to go deeper. Learn more here.