“Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”
I saw the film “Crazy Heart” yesterday. Jeff Bridges plays an alcoholic country singer who connects with Jean, the lovely mother of a 4-year-old son. At the climax of the story, Jeff Bridges’ character loses the little boy in a mall while he is at a bar having a drink. In the aftermath once the boy is recovered, Jean screams something like, “I knew in every bone of my body not to get involved with you, but I did.”
This got me thinking. How is it that we know in our bones the best course of action for ourselves, yet we take another path? And how often does it come back to bite us? We even have a phrase for it – against our better judgment. If our judgment is so good, why are we going against it?
Let’s begin our exploration of this important topic by looking at what it is like to know something in your bones. For me, I just know it. There is a definitiveness, an undeniable truth, a “yes!” This knowing does not arise from the logical and rational mind. It is not caused by emotions. It is clarity, pure and simple, that seems to just appear in my consciousness.
I was recently speaking to someone who was deliberating about a decision. I asked her if she ever had the experience of “yes,” of knowing something was absolutely true for her. She brightened, and told me about her clarity in deciding to marry her husband and in choosing a fulfilling career.
Isn’t this something we all know – this deep inner certainty?
Listening and Turning Away
Spiritual teacher Adyashanti says that truth is always speaking to us. The voice might be quiet, but it is ever present, guiding us to navigate the river of our lives with perfect intelligence. Are we listening, or is the inner cacophony too deafening to hear?
We can make our way to that still, small voice of truth by recognizing what makes us turn away from it.
- It is not the voice in our heads telling us what we should or shouldn’t do.
- It is not a story justifying our actions.
- It may not look logical.
- It is not what we are propelled to do out of fear.
- Or out of neediness.
- It cannot be discerned when we are clouded by strong emotions.
When our internal experience is crowded with stories, opinions, doubt, justifications, fear and other emotions, we aren’t quiet enough to allow the truth to be heard. And this is where we get into trouble.
Consider Jean from “Crazy Heart.” She knew in her bones not to continue the relationship but was misled by desire, inadequacy, and romantic ideals. I know I have made similar choices in my life. How about you?
If we make life decisions by listening to the noise – and not the silence – these decisions come from fear and unconsciousness. And we eventually suffer the consequences.
As we all know, the pull of the “noise” can be very strong. So strong that we don’t even consider stopping, pausing, inquiring into what is best or right. We blindly choose, or we opt for what seems logical or appropriate. We take the path that fits our ideas of how things are supposed to be. We are swayed by intense emotions.
We ignore the gentle tap on the shoulder that could show us the way.
Discover the Still, Small Voice
How do we know when truth is talking?
- It moves us toward love – for ourselves and others.
- It ultimately brings enjoyment.
- There is no sinking feeling that something is wrong.
- The body unclenches.
- There is a sense of clarity, excitement, or relief, an undeniable knowing.
It’s fascinating to become familiar with your inner wisdom, and here are some ways to experiment.
- Go to the grocery store without a list. Bring your attention inside, and listen to where you are directed to go.
- Rather than doing an automatic behavior, such as turning on the TV after dinner, sit quietly and see what you feel moved to do.
- Let go of your morning routine. Stay in bed, and wait for the inner signal to do the next thing, and the next. (At first, you may want to wait for the weekend for this one.)
The true path for our lives cannot be figured out or created. Our job is simply to listen, and in the listening, we will be given all the guidance we need to do exactly the right thing. When we listen, life unfolds mysteriously. We get out of our own way and allow the still, small voice to be heard.
How have you turned away from your inner wisdom? What have you learned? What is your experience with the experiments described above to get to know the quiet inner voice? I’d love to hear….