Good day, team.
This week’s challenge is about inner wisdom. After a week in silence at a meditation retreat, I had an opportunity to get quiet enough to hear my inner wisdom. Frankly, I had forgotten just how quiet you need to get to hear it. It’s not just an opportunity for external sounds to dissipate, but also for the internal voices of the mind, heart and body to begin to quiet down so that you hear that quiet voice within.
This inner wisdom has many labels. Some people call it conscience or intuition or a sense about something. Whatever we call it, we all seem to know what it is — that inner voice that quietly says what we know is true. So, as the mind continues to analyze this solution or that, or strategize about the next best move, that quiet voice simply makes a statement that our inner awareness recognizes.
Here’s a good example. Years ago when I changed careers, I remember distinctly hearing that inner, quiet voice continuing to give me the same message. I had been recruiting for 20 years and I was successful, at least in terms of having plenty of business and making good money. But when I got very quiet and really asked myself what was true, that inner voice told me it was time to move on. In looking at it, I realized that I didn’t find recruiting very satisfying. So I hired a coach to help me determine what might be a better career path for me. My coach was very helpful. She encouraged me to explore lots of different possibilities and to continue to listen to that quiet voice within. But that voice wasn’t telling me what profession was right for me, it was just telling me it was time to move on. Of course, my mind went into overdrive because it desperately wanted an answer right away, but my inner voice told me to be patient, that when the time was right, the opportunity would show itself to me.
As time passed, I found myself resting in the question. Instead of trying to force an answer, I continued to question and inquire. Eventually, it became clear that I wanted to become a coach. As I explored training options and figured out how to become a coach, things just fell into place. Movement from recruiting to coaching took place naturally.
This is one of the characteristics of inner wisdom: It isn’t forced. The Roman lyric poet Horace wrote, “Force without wisdom falls of its own weight.” As the mind and heart struggle to figure something out and we push or pull to make things happen, the entire experience becomes heavier and harder to do, and we often get farther away from what’s actually true for us. Conversely, that quiet voice has the energy of acceptance and spaciousness about it; it’s as light as a feather but as sure as anything can ever be.
Another aspect of inner wisdom is that like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom actually strengthens it. I find that when I make the time to be quiet with myself each day, that inner voice is more accessible. It’s not that it’s louder; it’s just easier for me to hear.
This week, spend some quiet time with yourself. Try sitting quietly for 10 minutes doing nothing. Experience sitting still and quieting the mind by not attaching to any thought as it comes up. Thoughts do come and go, but they only stick around when we get stuck to them. Emotions come up and seemingly overtake us, but if we don’t continue to feed them with our thoughts, they also pass away. Sensations come and go as we continue to sit and be quiet. At some point, you may hear that voice within arising from some deep part of you. It often sounds to me like a pebble that’s been dropped into a well. You drop the pebble and wait in quiet stillness until you hear the pebble hit the water deep down at the bottom of the well. You know that eventually the pebble will hit the water, but you don’t know exactly when and you must be very quiet to hear it. When it does, you’re always a little surprised and yet you knew all along what it would sound like.
Be quiet for a time each day and listen. There’s a wealth of truth and understanding that each of us carries within the deepest part of our being. It doesn’t make a lot of noise and it doesn’t demand to be heard or understood — it just is. Try being silent enough to hear it.
Walt Whitman wrote, “Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.”
Have a good week,
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