We’re all faced with choices every day, thousands of them. Some are more important than others but these decisions that we make, large and small, contribute to our overall experience of life. Unfortunately, we are often guided not by wisdom but by fear. Try this simple but profound technique to assist you in making the large and small decisions in your life.
We’re all familiar with the cartoon character who has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, both dispensing advice on how he or she should behave. For me it’s not an angel and a devil on my shoulders but fear and wisdom.
On one shoulder perches my fear, it constantly reminds me that I might ‘look stupid’ or be rejected. It tells me that I’m risking failure and humiliation. On the other shoulder sits my inner teacher, that wise and sometimes deeply buried part of me that knows the right thing to do. Sogyal Rinpoche spoke of our inner teacher and our disconnection from that source of wisdom,
‘Our buddha nature, then, has an active aspect, which is our ‘inner teacher.’ From the very moment we became obscured, this inner teacher has been working tirelessly for us, tirelessly trying to bring us back to the radiance and spaciousness of our true being.’
The question is, how can I tell the difference between fear and wisdom when they both appear to be trying to protect me? How do I know when fear is taking me away from my true path or when my inner teacher is helping me to stay on track?
A phrase that I’ve heard a lot over the last few years is ‘sit with it’. My teachers have consistently offered this advice whenever I’ve discussed a dilemma with them. I’ve found this very helpful and the process of sitting with questions has enabled me to stay on my path, most of the time.
The next time you’re faced with a decision where the answer seems unclear try this technique, allowing your mind to still and your intuition to come to the surface:
- Sit comfortably with an upright spine.
- Settle yourself and gradually slow your breath until you feel calm and present in the moment.
- Distill the decision you need to make down into a simple question. For example, ‘should I take the job?’
- Without getting caught up in the emotions around the decision, ask yourself the question slowly over and over again.
- Try not to let your thinking, worrying mind jump in with judgements about the pros and cons. If you notice that you’re beginning to do this, simply draw your attention back to the question.
- Let the question to drop word by word into your consciousness.
- As you gain access to your deeper intuition you may be surprised that a new and previously unconsidered answer comes to mind.
- Continue to sit with it until you feel that you have found your answer.
I hope that this practice of contemplation will assist you with whatever trials and decisions you face in the future.
Wishing you joy, love and an easeful life.
Jacquelyn is a 500 hour RYT and Reiki Level Two practitioner. Yoga has helped her to overcome paralyzing fears and chronic pain and find her true purpose in life. Her focus is on encouraging those around her to have patience, kindness and compassion for themselves and the courage to stand, fearless, in their own light. Jacquelyn teaches Gentle Yoga, Flow Yoga, Beginners Yoga, Seniors Yoga, Learn to Meditate and a variety of workshops.