A friend of mine fell off her bike yesterday and broke her ankle.
The funny thing is, before she left her house, she had the thought – twice – “don’t go.”
But she was on her way to a meeting. She didn’t want to disappoint the people she was supposed to meet. And after all, why shouldn’t she go? It didn’t make sense.
We all do this, don’t we?
With so many voices clamoring for our attention, listening to that quiet, still voice within can be really hard. I think it is especially hard for women, and especially hard to do when group pressure, or an authority figure is involved. When someone else is telling us, “this is good for you – or not good for you,” “you need to do what I say or you will get in trouble,” I think a lot of us question, “who am I to discern this for myself?” It is so much easier to do what is socially appropriate, and to do what we’re told.
Yet in spite of all the difficulties involved, learning to trust the quiet voice within is quite possibly the most important thing we could ever do.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons I called my upcoming workshop, Leading from Within. Who are you to choose for yourself? Well, who are you not to. Of course, choosing for yourself against the grain of authority is only one part of the challenge. Other challenges involve discerning – is this the voice of fear? wishful thinking? ego? old baggage? Good questions to ask.
One of my favorite teachings from Equine Facilitated Learning involves a technique for “listening to” the body. Our bodies are taking in information all the time, through all of our senses, from our environment and the people we meet. Learning to “listen” to the body means inviting the perceptions from our senses to participate in our conscious decision-making.
In Yoga, our ability to trust our senses, and listen to the quiet voice within, is also informed by the vignanamaya kosha, the “wisdom layer” of consciousness – similar to the idea of a universal unconscious – which is a store of timeless wisdom available to all of us.
But regardless of our beliefs or training, learning to listen to the quiet voice within can be very simple:
Take time to get quiet. Sit in nature, or in a quiet place. Notice the thoughts that arise. Coax the mind toward stillness. Ask yourself the questions you need to ask. The quiet voice will answer.
Have you ever heard the voice and not listened? Why do you think it is hard to listen?
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