Monday, January 12th, 2009
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your entry to 2009 has inspired you to set some Fabulous New Year’s Resolutions! Ellen Valentine will be interviewing me for a f*ree teleseminar that we’re doing on goal-setting and achievement. Go here now to get all the details: http://www.myinsourcing.com/chooseyourfocus/goals.htm
Here is a recent question from a reader who won’t be able to make the teleseminar this time due to the time-zone difference. I asked him if I could answer his interesting question on this blog instead. He was kind enough to share it with us. My answer follows.
Dear Dr, Pam,
I have been enjoying your inputs on a regular basis. For this Teleseminar, I have this Query, something that quite often raises in my head whenever I have a choice/decision to take.
** How do I differentiate the thoughts–whether it emanates from my head [thru my great intelligence] or is it a message from HIM [meaning my inner self]? Quite often I get confused and end up doing the wrong thing, before I realise it. Sometimes I have the time [& opportunity] to correct while sometimes I don’t….(shortened by Dr.G)
Thank you for your very good question. There are several issues that it raises, and I would like to share my present thoughts on each with you, trusting that ultimately you will develop your own best answer.
I hope you don’t mind if I begin with the end of your question, but I think that my answer to the end will lay the foundation for the answer to the beginning.
At the end of your question, you said that you get confused and end up doing the wrong thing before you realize it. So, it sounds like confusing yourself is not in your service at those times!
To start, I would therefore have the goal of “unconfusing” yourself. Confusion sometimes comes from feeling a multiplicity of feelings which cloud your ability to think clearly. So, to in order to unconfuse you, let’s get clear about the idea of ”right” and what is “wrong” in the first place. This way, we may lessen the pressure you place upon yourself about getting it “right” all the time.
Starting there, how are you determining whether you action is the “wrong thing” ?
If it is simply a mistaken action, such as writing the wrong answer to a math question, then you might want to recognize that valuable learning often occurs following mistakes. A friend of mine calls this an AFLE (Another Friggin Learning Experience), and all humor aside, it is often the case that your mistakes become your teachers.
But, I also wonder…do you get the impression that you’ve done the “wrong” thing because you encounter challenge and then feel badly about that which you’ve done? If so, then you may be using your feelings of discomfort to define whether something you’ve just done is right or wrong.
The deal is, Taj, when you are making a retrospective judgment (an intellectual process) and you are still feeling emotional, it is easy to forget the long-term benefit of your action.
Some actions are painful in the short term, but they can end up being the “right thing” in the long term. For example, it may be hard to turn down a job doing something you hate if it is the only job in front of you, but in the long term, it ends up being the thing that allows you to do what you really wanted with your life.
My general idea about it is that good decisions tend to emphasize long-range fulfillment over short (as we just said) and they tend to emphasize both self and social interest. They often emphasize growth and change, so they aren’t always the most comfortable. The good news about that, though, is that when you feel that growing pain, you won’t have to decide that you’re “wrong”.
With this in mind, I can now turn to the main part of your question, which asks about differentiating between intellectual thoughts and thoughts which spring from the inner self.
While there are many ways to answers to this question, the most basic answer is that the inner world is an ongoing, flowing combination of all of these. Your inner voice contains the seeds of all components, sometimes more of one aspect than of another. (I’m not sure if you’ve read my book, The Power of Inner Guidance: Seven Steps to Tune In and Turn On, but I will direct you to it for a more detailed examination of this very question.)
Knowing this, I personally have found that it is best to make decisions when you are in a place of relative calm (there is a “bad mood box” in my book which helps you to shift out of bad moods before asking for inner guidance). In a place of calm, you can let go of worrying about what experience arises. Both intellectual and spiritual experiences are good, both exist for your benefit and your experience is usually multifaceted. So, in a place of calm, you can simply allow your experience to emerge and enhance your decision-making.
Experiment with allowing your inner experience to come forward into your awareness from a place of full acceptance, almost as an observer rather than an editor. When you have the time and space, you can elect to ask yourself questions about the problem at hand, record your experiences in some fashion and then return to that which you’ve recorded when you have a moment to look at it thoughtfully. When you don’t have this luxury, you simply do your best to follow your ethical principles as you make your decisions (ethics apply to the self as well).
Another point to note is that, when you are turning inward from a place of acceptance, the more heartfelt and loving parts of yourself may appear more gentle and soft in their expression (until you learn how to turn up the volume of these parts). They tend to be the more healthy and wise tendencies within, so they may actually seem less emotional and loud to us.
Many report that their self-critical voice is almost always louder, stronger, irrational and crippling to some extent.
If you have the ability to stand back from your experience, you will easily begin to see the difference between that which is there to assist you in living a fulfilled life, and that which is unhealthy and deterring you from your greater purpose.
I hope this is helpful in your journey, Taj, and thank you for allowing me to share your great question with others.
–Pam Garcy, PhD