We often say, “Trust your instincts” and “Listen to your inner voice.” Yet, with all the external noise and internal conflict, how do we follow our inner compass?
Our world revolves around strategy, data, knowledge and facts, which challenges us to navigate unknown territories. Over 4,000 years ago Phoenician sailors used the sun and stars to navigate. Many of us now have difficulty managing a paper map when on a road trip. When it comes to our internal guidance system, we spend a lot of time sailing the seas of Facebook, YouTube, and social media likes and dislikes as a litmus test for the legitimacy of our future life steps.
If we settle into the present moment, the key to wisdom becomes apparent. Internal truth is knowing the difference between wild hopes and fears and common sense and intuition. It is evident that the outer world can pull us away from our inner world, sending us into a spiral of self-doubt and compromised self-worth.
A reminder of this lesson came about recently during a discussion with my 17-year-old daughter regarding her grades in school. High school students currently have access to grades 24/7. My daughter shared with me a classroom discussion initiated by her language arts teacher regarding how students process and interpret grades as the primary aspect of achievement. A resounding number of students maintained that it is not uncommon to check grades multiple times during the day. Each time a grade is checked it becomes immediate feedback, validating one’s self-worth. The grade is likened to currency, as the importance of earning a high grade is insurance of being admitted to the college of choice.
Maybe there are benefits to easy and timely accessibility to grades, but it also reinforces that the grade is the hyper focus, which can create stress, worry and a cascade of doubt. The world is in synchrony and humans are, too. The more accessible all of life’s report cards are, the less we tend to look within.
Neuroscientists have postulated that approximately 5 percent of our cognitive activity – decisions, emotions, actions, and behavior – come from our conscious mind. With 95 percent of our brain activity happening at the subconscious level and 40,000 neurons and neurotransmitters residing in the heart, we find the answer to true being and internal discernment.
The ultimate path to wellness rests in finding quiet and clarity in the busyness of life. As Ram Dass, clinical psychologist and author of Be Here Now, so eloquently said, “Be still. The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”