Trusting Our Inner-Knowing
the voice of truth
We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives. When we get real quiet and allow total transparency and truthfulness within ourselves, we hear our Soul come through - we hear the old, comforting and familiar voice of our higher-self, our truth. For a lot of us, one of the hardest parts of this earthly experience is trusting that wise, ancient and trustworthy voice.
Why is this so difficult for us to trust our inner-knowing?
The primary and most important reason we have trouble trusting our inner-voice is due to the old, yet very prevalent cultural conditioning that we were exposed to at an early age which taught and encouraged us to give away our sovereignty - our inner-knowing, inner-compass and authentic power to other people. I could write an entire book about this very real, repulsive and disturbing truth (and I am :), but for this post, I’ll focus on another vital reason why we have trouble trusting ourselves and that is the purpose that the Mind has served over millions of years.
the mind’s purpose
The purpose of our Mind is to keep us safe and to protect us from “harm”. This built-in, primitive and protective operating system is what kept our ancestors alive in the face of a saber tooth tiger and other wild threats. But even to this day, the Mind knows no difference between the potential life-threatening danger of a wild animal attack and making a big shift or leap in ones life.
The Mind will always play the role of the overprotective, anxious, always worried and highly verbal parent who is trying to keep you “safe” from all of life’s “harms” and “threats”. This knowledge is key to understanding why your Mind can run amok in talking you out of things or why your mind constantly questions your decision making ability and your personal choices. So, if the mind is programmed to keep us from harm, how do we delineate between a real threat and a fear-based response in the mind?
You start by recognizing that you are not your mind or your thoughts. Your mind is often running a million miles a minute but that is not the real you, it’s simply the operating system that the mind runs on, call it - Overactive 2.0. We have to practice being a witness to our thoughts so that we can get closer to taming the mind.
You quiet the Mind a.k.a., “the overprotective, anxious parent” by implementing boundaries within yourself to distance yourself from the noise (excessive thoughts). This is a practice. You will not become exceptional at this skill overnight, especially if you’ve been struggling with taming your mind for some time now. This is something that needs to be practiced and honed diligently so that when you find yourself unraveling into a panic or anxious mode via the constant thoughts that are coming in, you have a practice to immediately pull yourself out of it.
You can do this by exercising leadership in those unsure moments by intentionally finding time to be alone with yourself and working with the breath first and then the untamed Mind. There is NO shame is asking for some time to think about/process a decision you’re being asked to make by yourself or someone else.
Let’s face it - everyone can find 3-5 minutes or so in most settings to excuse themselves from a situation to collect themselves or simply, regroup. Once you are alone, bring your attention to whatever is happening within you and around you - this space is “the now”. It truly doesn’t take long to reconnect inwardly to gain clarity, we just have to be disciplined in finding the time to do it! Once you’ve brought your awareness to what’s happening around you and within you, you’ll want to take note of your breath. Is your breath labored, steady, shallow, deep? Simply notice without judgement.
A focus on the body has to come before an attempt to address the anxious or overactive Mind. You won’t be able to effectively solve a problem, gain clarity in a life situation or have a sense of inner-peace if you’re in an nervous or anxious vibrational state. In the wise words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
So in these moments, you’ll want to sit comfortably somewhere, close your eyes and envision yourself dropping all your focus, weight, attention and energy into your physical body. Next, take 4 long deep breaths - in through your nose for four counts, and out through your mouth for four counts. Once you feel that your body is in a calm state, propose the question you’re trying to answer in your mind. Sit with this question for a bit until a thought or feeling comes forward. Don’t force anything, just ask and wait. Observe what feelings or sensations come up as you sit quietly and breathe. Eventually, there will be a feeling or inner-knowing that steps forward within of what direction to move in. Trust what comes up for you.
“The now” can provide you information, facts, data and sureties that you can use to rationally work with to help you manage the unknown future uncertainties with steadiness and control.
de-energize ‘the future’
“The future” provides you with all the possibilities and iterations of the things that could happen, both positive and negative, but that have not yet occurred. Think about that for a moment - the mind has a way of showcasing the grim, dooms-day like possible scenarios, which can feel very real for us. The irony is, we’re feeling the sensations of these possible future scenarios as if they are happening in the now but they haven’t happened at all! The future state is where the “overprotective parent” (a.k.a your mind) lives and loves to come out with all of their fears and constant questions. Keeping this analogy in mind can be helpful when you feel your mind start to leap into this familiar yet anxious state. Ask yourself in these moments, “Are my thoughts moving me in a direction of peace, love, abundance and excitement about the future or are my thoughts moving me in a direction of fear, a sense of lack and/or scarcity?”
Sometimes, the anxiousness or fear around a future state in our minds can manifest in our bodies. In these moments, you may start to experience a tightness or heaviness in the chest, shortness of breath, heart palpitations or even a slight dizziness, etc. These can be signs of a possible panic or anxiety attack. This is your body’s way of communicating with you, “Something is not right. I need your attention now.” Bringing all of your attention to your phsycial body and what you’re experiencing within your body is exactly what is needed to de-energize the mind and its projection into ‘the future’. Calm the body through your breath and you’ll eventually calm the Mind.
WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR ME?
Once we’re able to de-energize the anxiousness in the mind and calm the body through the breath, we can ask ourselves a few important questions:
Given the information I have about the current challenge/situation in front of me and the people involved, what viable options do I have?
What is the worst case scenario that could happen with each possible options I listed above? (list the worst case scenarios for each option)
Go back through each worst case scenario and ask yourself, “If this did happen, what would I do?” (write down your answer underneath)
Based on the work I completed above and looking at all the options in front of me, what feels like the right decision for me right now and why?
a. You will know what option feels right for you because you will feel more peaceful and calm in your physical body. This is why calming your physical body before addressing or solving any problem is so key. You have to be able to be aware of what’s happening within you to effectively influence what’s happening outside of you.
You’ll start becoming more and more confident in your decision making ability the more alone time you spend with yourself working on managing your Mind and tuning into the wisdom of your body. This is where the rubber meets the road - developing this is a skill and one that we’re not encouraged to use often, so it falls on us to hone these skills within ourselves so that we can have a clear channel to hear and trust our inner truth.
An additional form of integrating this concept into your life on a daily basis is meditating weekly - everyday would be ideal but you may have to start with a few days a week and work up to meditating everyday. '
Meditation works because it’s an intentional time you set aside to create an emptiness and peacefulness within your Mind. Most of us cannot master our thoughts or our mind because we have not been encouraged to value this type of relaxation/Mind control work in our culture. The majority of people were never taught how to meditate or why it’s important/ essential to our overall health. The bottom line is, you’ll never be able to master your mind if you don’t practice working with it.
There are SO many resources out there now that can help you get started. If you’re interested in a few of the resources I use on a regular basis, feel free to check out my blog titled “My Meditation Go-To’s”.
Practicing the ideas in this blog will help you to reconnect to that wise, ancient and steady counselor within you, who already knows the way. Trust your Soul’s wisdom, it’s been here before.