Learning to follow our inner guidance

 

We all have a quiet inner voice that gives us pointers and advice. We can also call it inner guidance, or the voice of the heart.

It’s perhaps not so important to know where it comes from. Is it a knowing that goes beyond what I – as a human being – can know? Does it come from experience? Does it come from the wisdom inherent in the body and passed down through the generations?

Is it the whole of who and what we are using any and all sources of information to arrive at a “yes”, a “not now”, a direction, a warning, or an impulse to do something?

What form does our inner guidance take?

As suggested, our inner guidance can take many forms. It can come as a sense. A voice. An image. And I am sure many other ways depending on the person and situation.

It can be a “yes” or “not now”. Or it can give us an idea, a direction, or a message for what to do or where to go.

A simple way to check in with our inner guidance for a yes or no

There is a simple way to check in with our inner guidance. I like it because it’s simple, practical, and can be used in almost any situation.

I say to myself I can if I want, and I want to X, and then check with my body. Is there a relaxation? A relief? Or tension? Contraction?

I then say to myself I can if I want, and I don’t want to X. Again, I check with my body. Is it more relaxed? A sense of relief? Or tension? Contraction?

A relaxation is a yes and tension is a no.

For instance, I say I have been invited to a social event and I am unsure if I want to go.

I ask myself: I can if I want, and I want to go to this gathering. I notice a gentle relaxation and softness in my body.

I then ask: I can if I want, and I don’t want to go to this gathering. This time, I notice a slight tension.

So here, my inner guidance tells me to go.

It’s helpful to practice this in small and daily life situations. That way, we get to know the process and learn to trust it through experience.

A more spontaneous way to follow inner guidance

This can also happen in a more spontaneous way.

Just now, I had the impulse to remove my neck warmer. It was just a brief thought and one that wasn’t consciously generated. I did a quick check and I couldn’t see any reason not to. So I removed it.

I make a point out of following these simple impulses right away, after doing a quick check to see if there is a good reason not to. It’s a way of saying to my own system and life: Yes, I appreciate these messages and take them seriously.

Noticing what stops us from following our inner guidance

Sometimes, my inner guidance is clear and the thought of following it brings up fear in me. I may see that it makes sense. I may recognize that there isn’t a good reason not to follow it. I may see that a sane, healed, and grounded person in the same situation would follow it. And at the same time, the thought of acting on it bumps up against fear in me.

In these situations it’s good to notice the fear and listen to what it has to say. What are the fearful stories behind it? What do I find if I investigate it?

This way, following our guidance brings with it a bonus: Identifying and investigating fears that may prevent us from living a life that feels deeply right to us.

Should I always follow my inner guidance?

In my experience, the inner guidance tends to give accurate information even if it doesn’t make sense at the time.

At the same time, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate what’s inner guidance and what’s inner “noise” from beliefs, fears, wants and so on.

That’s why I tend to listen to the inner voice, see if there is a good reason not to follow it, and then follow it if there is no good reason not to.

Does it give an answer once and for all?

Any no is really a “not now”. It may change, and sometimes it can change within a relatively short time. It’s good to check in with it.

What’s the characteristics of the inner voice?

When it happens spontaneously, it is – in my experience – simple, clear, and quiet. It’s there if I later check in with it on the same issue. (Although it can, of course, change if the situation changes.) It can be temporarily drowned out by fearful feelings and thoughts. And it is, in itself, free from fears and shoulds.

Photo by Samuel Chenard on Unsplash


Draft….

….

Draft….

Just now, I had the impulse to remove my neck warmer. It was just a brief thought and one that wasn’t consciously generated. I did a quick check and I couldn’t see any reason not to. So I removed it.

This is how I develop trust in my inner voice, in my quiet inner guidance. I notice those small messages that are not consciously generated and don’t come out of any conscious stream of thought. I check to see if there is a good reason not to follow it. And I act on it.

It’s helpful to invite it in. To ask existence and the divine for receptivity to notice and follow these messages. And it’s helpful to practice in smaller things in daily life. That’s how we get to see if the messages make sense. That’s how we develop or strengthen this habit of noticing and following the quiet inner voice. That’s how trust in it is developed, based on experience. And that’s how we learn to recognize the inner voice.

Practicing this in smaller situations in life is makes it easier to notice and follow it in situations that seem bigger.

It’s also helpful to notice any fears and fearful beliefs in us that may prevent us from listening to and following our inner guidance. Notice the fear. Notice what it has to say. Thank it for protecting you. See if there is an emotional issue – or beliefs, identities – behind it and address it. And be honest with yourself about whether you would follow the voice if that issue hadn’t been triggered. What would someone whole and healed do? Would he or she follow it?

What is the quality or flavor of the quiet inner voice? In my experience, it’s simple, clear, and – on a specific topic – still there when I return to it. It’s quiet and can be drowned out by fearful emotions and thoughts. And in itself it’s free from fear or shoulds.

Initial draft….

Just now, I had the impulse to remove my neck warmer. It was just a brief thought and one that wasn’t consciously generated. I did a quick check and I couldn’t see any reason not to. So I did remove it.

That’s how I develop trust in my inner voice. In my quiet inner guidance. I notice those small messages that are not consciously generated and don’t come out of any conscious stream of thought. I check to see if there is a good reason not to follow it. And I act on it right away.

It’s helpful to invite it in. To ask existence and the divine for receptivity to notice and follow these messages. And it’s helpful to practice in smaller things in daily life. That’s how we get to see if the messages make sense. That’s how we develop or strengthen our habit. That’s how trust is developed. And that’s how we can be ready when the quiet inner voice gives us a message about something in life that seems bigger.

This is also how we can notice any fears and fearful beliefs in us that may prevent us from listening to and following our inner guidance. Notice the fear. Notice what it has to say. Thank it for protecting you. See if there is an emotional issue – or beliefs, identities – behind it and address it. And be honest with yourself about whether you would follow the voice if that issue hadn’t been triggered. What would someone whole and healed do? Would he or she follow it?

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