It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life. You wake up, put in a good chunk of your day towards a job that (at best) you feel indifferent about, sit in traffic driving back home, and finally kill a few hours watching television or surfing the Internet before going back to bed. Next thing you know, it’s morning and time to start it all over again. And again. And again. It all becomes one big, meaningless blur, doesn’t it?
You start wondering to yourself: “Is this it? Is this all there is?” You ask yourself what your life purpose is, but you always come up blank. So you keep doing what you’ve always done.
Does this sound like you? Do you feel like you’re missing something, but you can’t put your finger on it?
Fortunately, the answers that you need to start living anew are already inside you.
Beginner’s guide for finding your inner wisdom
Call it what you will: your intuition, your conscience, or a higher power speaking through you. But everyone has inner wisdom or that little voice or feeling that guides you in life if you open your mind to it. The problem is that your inner wisdom is like a single voice drowned out by the constant noise of your daily thoughts and the overstimulation from your external environment.
However, even if you aren’t aware that you have inner wisdom, it can manifest itself in physical ways. One of the easiest ways to start getting in touch with your inner wisdom, especially if you feel like your mind is cluttered with thoughts and worries, is to become aware of your body’s physical responses to certain situations and people.
If you are feeling unhappy in your job or in a relationship, you may have experienced physical discomfort, such as persistent migraines or muscle pain. It can feel like your body is working against you when you need it to function most, but in reality, it is your inner wisdom working for you – speaking to you and warning you that perhaps you are moving down the wrong path.
As you get better at listening for these clues, you don’t need to rely as much on physical pain to know when your inner wisdom is speaking out to you. Another simple way is to start being more aware of everything that is going on around you – or in other words, grounding yourself in the present.
While driving to work, start paying attention to details that you otherwise wouldn’t because you were too busy thinking about the huge pile of reports sitting on your desk or the huge fight you had with your mother last night. When you start looking out for details in your surroundings, make note of your thought process and your emotional response. You will see that when you focus on that, the mental noise will lower down to a handful of thoughts, voices and feelings. When you strip away the worries and the typical negative thinking that plaques many people all the time, you are left with basic thoughts and feelings that come from the core of who you are: your inner wisdom.
Interacting with your inner wisdom
You can even take this to another level after you’ve practiced it for a while, by asking yourself specific questions and noting the first few thoughts and emotions that come up. If you are not used to listening for your inner wisdom, all the typical self-doubts and discouragements may start pouring in at first. But if you keep zoning in for a while, you may find that more clear answers may pop up.
If you are having trouble, one way to help zone in is to write down every thought as they come in. Writing them down can act as a purge: as you write them down, you give your mind permission not to cling on to it.
Some questions to ask are:
- Why do I feel this way? Why does [insert situation or person] make me feel this way?
- Why does [specific situation or something someone does] make me feel so upset or insecure? What is the real reason?
- Am I moving in the right direction?
- Will moving in this direction make me happy / relieved / upset / disappointed / etc? Why or why not?
- How can I improve [insert life situation]?
- How can I improve my relationship or friendship with [insert person]?
- What is my motive for doing [insert action]?
You may not get what you are looking for the first few times, but remember to persist in asking and the answers will get more clear. In finding your inner wisdom, as with anything worth having in life, practice makes it easier.
What about trusting your inner wisdom?
Many people are actually aware of their inner wisdom (often referred to as one’s intuition) and some can remember a time when they listened to that voice and everything seemed to work out very well. However while some people may be aware of that inner wisdom, they are often afraid to trust it. This is understandable because today’s society encourages logical thinking and if there is no basis for a thought or feeling, then it must be invalid.
The problem is that logic cannot answer everything and humans cannot completely eliminate their emotions and their perceptions. In fact, those things contain a wealth of information and add richness to one’s life that simple logic could never accomplish.
Nevertheless, trusting your inner wisdom also comes with practice, especially when you practice letting go of your typical patterns. This is because trusting your intuition involves some degree of spontaneity.
It is okay to start small, even if it sounds a little silly. For example, let’s suppose you are normally an indecisive person and like for others to decide things. Maybe when you have dinner with your significant other, you often let them decide what to eat. But this one time, listen to yourself without worrying what your partner might think or what they might typically want to do. Ask yourself what do you feel like having today, that you normally wouldn’t try – then run with it without second-guessing.
Or maybe you are the type of person who knows exactly what you want and you more or less order the same foods every time. This time, ask yourself what you might be interested in eating, that you otherwise wouldn’t eat for whatever reason. Again, just run with it and don’t second-guess yourself! In either case, you will usually find yourself pleasantly surprised or at the very least more open-minded from the experience. Applying this to little decisions and practicing this can make you become more open to your inner wisdom and letting go of some control over your daily rituals. You then become more comfortable about trusting that inner wisdom for bigger decisions.
Getting in touch with your inner wisdom will be life long journey that opens doors to living a different kind of life – living anew. That’s the amazing part: that you never run out of things to learn as you get better at interacting with it.