Wisdom is beautiful.
Much of our wisdom comes from life experience, both good and bad; a process that takes a lot of time and a lot of living. The more curious and open we are to learning from it, the more transformational it can be.
There's also a wisdom that exists inside ourselves.
I learned a few years ago, how little I paid attention to my inner wisdom and instinct. How too much of my goal setting was reliant on left brain thinking - thinking that caused me stress and left me with a constantly churning mind, often for days.
Then I discovered something remarkable.
My inner wisdom.
Where does it come from?
From paying attention and listening deeply and carefully to the body, especially the gut and heart.
The trouble is, as we get older, we become more disconnected from our bodies and tend to rely heavily on our minds to ponder and problem solve life.
And therein lies the challenge: our thoughts can trigger physical aches and pains in our body and our body sensations impact almost every thought we have. Our mind and body are inextricably connected.
Make no mistake. This is a highly subtle connection. And something which we rarely tune into during our busy, highly distracted lives.
So how did I learn how to build greater trust in my own instincts, pay less attention to what others say and believe in myself? From a meditation practice, called the body scan, where we direct our attention to physical sensations in the body, typically lying down.
I was attending a professional mindfulness teacher training conference in San Jose with about two hundred other people. I remember feeling trepidation as I prepared to get ready for this particular body scan practice.
I was suffering from lower back pain and my inner voice was telling me this practice was going to be excruciating! I kept asking myself......do I ignore my pain and follow the instructor? Or do I listen to my instincts and pay attention to my body?
You guessed it! Amidst two hundred people I ignored the teacher's instructions (gulp) and paid attention to the pain in my body.
I turned my full attention towards that pain. I breathed into it and worked with it, gently moving this one part of my body.
Two things happened:
#1. I made myself vulnerable because I was the only person in a room of two hundred people who disregarded instruction and failed to complete this guided practise.
#2. I completely healed my pain, I experienced more confidence and (re?) discovered a powerful way to believe in myself.
One thing is certain - it takes discipline to re-learn how to pay attention to our body and turn it into a habit (we're pretty good at it when we're kids!). It helps to meditate. And embrace these practices.
Trust your instincts
Remember the teacher (perhaps it's your boss, parent, partner or peer) doesn't know everything. The student is also the teacher. Pay attention to your instincts. It will help you figure out when to follow instruction and when to listen to your own inner wisdom.
Listen to your body
Take a pause before taking action. Let your attention fall with gravity. A great way to begin to train your attention to listen to the body is focusing it on the backs of the eyeballs, the belly and the sensation of our feet connecting with the earth.
Turn towards the problem
A powerful and lasting way through difficulty and pain is gently turning towards them with curiosity, openness and ultimately acceptance. If you're curious and want to know more about how to turn adversity into advantage, you might want to check out this upcoming talk I'm giving.
May you find your inner wisdom. Let your doubts dissolve away. And replace them with a renewed, soulful and powerful belief in you.
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