Spirituality vs. PsychologyOct 01, 2021
I love reading books about spirituality. From Christianity to Buddhism to the Collective Consciousness and everything else in between. I just finished a book written by a Zen teacher about the story, teachings and inspiration of Jesus titled Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic by Adyashanti. Great book. I also love reading self-help and psychological books: The Power of Now, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Dance of Anger, Emotional Intelligence, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus, etc., etc. The list is endless. Most of what I've read has been informational and helpful at times. As well as inspirational and resonating.
The spiritual books, although very inspiring and resonating, offer very little practical "how to" advice. How do I "let go and let God?" How am I supposed to honor and express my emotions and yet let go of them too? And the self-help books offer very little in inspiration and teachings about deciphering between intuition, thought and emotion. We can't live by rational thought alone. We also can't live by feelings alone. How do we know which to follow?
Let's explore, shall we?
We've all experienced that intuitive sense of knowing. I call this intuitive sense God, but you may call it something else. Higher Power, Goddess, Inner Divine, The Universe, or the Higher Self. It doesn't really matter which label we choose. It's the same experience for all of us. That still small voice telling us to buy that house even though it appears to be out of your price range...but then the seller is willing to go down to your price and pretty soon, you're moving into your new home. That still small voice that tells you not to take the job offer even though you're unemployed and really need the money and then you find out that company goes belly-up a year later. That still small voice that tells you to take a different route home and you find out there was a deadly crash on the route you avoided. Or that new relationship where your gut screamed RUN! RUN FAR FROM THIS ONE! But you didn't listen because of this reason and that reason....and they ended up cheating on you?
How do you explain those experiences and why aren't we following that still small voice ALL THE TIME?
Enter Thought and Emotion. These two entities do not like our intuition. They don't like it when we follow that still small voice. Thought becomes our inner critical thinker. Now, there's nothing wrong with thinking critically. We should never just blindly follow without asking questions. Please, let's avoid drinking the Kool-Aid that's mixed with Cyanide. There's truly nothing spiritual about blindly following some one or some idea or some agenda. And that's not what I'm talking about here when I talk about following that "still small voice." However, a lot of times the critical voice within thought can cause us to second-guess ourselves, which then allows for anxiety and fear to take over. And once fear enters the arena, game over. We panic and make a rash decision or we completely shut down, lights out. It can be crazy-making at times.
For example, let's say you're thinking about moving to a different state or country. You've been living in the same town for 20+ years and you're ready for an adventure....let's say you even have employment secured because you can work remotely from anywhere that has WiFi. When you start to make plans for your move, you notice some anxiety and thoughts that come through....something like "man, do I really want to start over? I've never left this state... Maybe I won't be able to handle the change....I'll have to make new friends....what if I'm lonely out there....what if I end up hating it....what if, what if, what if." The monkeys are having a heyday in your head and now your anxiety turns into fear. So, you postpone your decision or worse, you decide NOT to move because of your thoughts (beliefs) & fears....
Here's what you can do instead
Get quiet. Find a place where you can be quiet and alone for a little while. Allow the fear and anxiety to rise up to the surface. Now take notice of where you feel that fear in your body. Breathe. Breathe like you're breathing into the fear, into your body. As you breathe, imagine just a little bit of space between you and the fear, as if the fear is encapsulated in a bubble. Imagine that the fear bubble is floating further and further away from you. Check in with your body again....any tension anywhere? If not and you're feeling pretty darn close to neutral, ask the question: "Should I move to ________ ?" If you don't hear that still small voice give you an answer then see how your body feels and see what emotion(s) comes up. Sometimes a visual image can appear as well. If the answer is YES, your body should feel clear and grounded. Maybe even a little lighter (like a weight has been lifted), less burdened. Emotionally you should feel neutral or good, maybe even excited. I have witnessed this in my sessions with clients. It's amazing how their bodies shift to a grounded position (shoulders back, like an adjustment to sitting up and the core of their body feels solid) and breathing becomes more relaxed and relieved. Emotionally I see clients with a smile on their faces and a sense of serenity emanating from them. It's subtly beautiful. Your answer, most likely is "Yes, you should move." And if you still have lingering fears about making new friends or finding the right neighborhood to live in, then do this exercise again for those specific concerns. Intuitive Guidance is not generalized to be the same path for everyone. It's quite specific to you and your journey in life and sometimes we are called to do very specific things, which can be helpful because sometimes we need specific turn-by-turn instructions for the unknown territories along the way. Maybe you're intuition is telling you to move to THIS town, but not THAT town. And that's ok. You want to get as specific as possible so that you know you are making the right decision for YOU, not anybody else. Only you are living out your life.
Intuitive Guidance is not an exact science or formula to follow. I've given you a basic outline of how to work with it, but it takes practice practice practice to begin to trust your own guidance. And we don't always get the reasons WHY we should or should not do something...but most of the time, the reasons don't really matter in the moment. As humans, we just have a natural curiosity or we want to control the outcome, so we ask why. I encourage you to play around with it and have fun practicing. Start with something small, like taking a new route home from work or when you go shopping....ask your intuition if you should buy a particular item or not.
Personally, I have found this Guidance to be extremely helpful in most situations. We can be presented with facts, data and research telling us to do this or that....but if my gut gets tight or nauseous and I hear a NO, I probably won't do it. And I can say with 100% confidence that when I do follow Guidance, my path opens up to some amazing experiences that I never would've expected otherwise.
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