Wednesday, November 25, 2009
You’re the voice
In my workshops I am often encountered with people who say they are lost. They feel they need direction and want me to show them. “I hate my job and I want to quit, what do you think I should do ?” “My husband abuses me, I want a divorce, what do you think I should do ?” “I am not happy with my life, what do you think I should do ?”
At some point or the other we have all felt lost. We found ourselves at a junction where we didn’t know which turn to take ! We have all been at cross roads of right/ wrong/ compromise/ follow your heart. And it is in times extreme stress and despair that we look for a person who has the answers to our questions. We look for that voice outside which will give us those magical words of wisdom to set our world right.
What I am proposing is this. There is no answer outside. All answers are within. You are more than you give yourself credit for. If you asked me my age, and if I said, “I am 63” you would laugh at my face. You asked me a question and I gave you an answer, but you didn’t buy it ! I move on to tell you “I am 42”, you still won’t believe me. Then I say “I am 32” and you would go “hmmm that could be possible, but you look a bit younger”. The point I am driving at is this, in asking me the question you already have an estimate of the answer. You are merely looking for a match in my words. In other words, when we have a question or confusion, we already know the estimate answer. Why not act on our own answers anyways. When we seek answers from others, what we are actually seeking is companionship and re assurance that we are understood. When we turn to others to sort our world we are actually calming our own loneliness. We really want to be heard and understood than to seek advice. The greatest frustration of counsellors is that their patients don’t follow their advice. The truth is the patients just want to be heard and understood. They didn’t pay the money for advice, they paid the money to be understood. And that feeling of being heard and understood gives them enough sanity to move on with their own decisions.
I do workshops where I get people to walk on fire. Now there are many theories why the coals won’t burn you. I can quote from physics, from biology, philosophy and even spirituality. All this data helps in understanding one’s fear and one’s power. But believe me, when you are faced with the gleaming hot coals and you are next in line to take that step on the fire, you won’t remember a word of what I said. Fear does not understand science. Fear does not understand faith. Fear only understands your perspective. When fear is knocking your power out, it is what you tell yourself that will decide whether you will step on the coals or not. By the fireside, there is an intense conversation happening, between you and yourself. And finally when people walk across the coals without getting burnt, I ask them “How did you do it ?” ! And every single time I get this answer, “I told myself ............” It is always what they told themselves that took them across the coal.
Advice is good, opinions are good, knowledge is good. They give you a broader view and perspective on the world around you. But end of the day you are the one who knows your reality best. You are the keeper of your own truth. And the only person who can take you across your firewalk is your own voice.
At the fireside, there are only two options; to take the step forward in faith or to step back in fear. And that step is propelled by your own voice.
You will never know ‘how to walk on the fire’. You will never know if you will find love in your life again. You will never know if your next boss will be a better person. You will never know if you will burn on the fire. But one thing you will know for sure; when you make up your mind and take the step forward despite your fears and past failures, your entire system will support you because that is what it is designed to do. And no matter what the consequence, the place at the end of the fire bed is far more exhilarating than the place you were before.
So next time you find yourself at cross roads, consider all facts and opinions but in the end listen to your heart. People love to experiment with others lives by advicing them. And somehow all of us are experts in what is best for others. Only you know the real truth about who you are you and what you do. Only you can really sort your life. Make up your mind in the direction YOU know is right, and you will succeed. I have absolute certainty that we all know what the right thing to do is, whether we do it or not.
We belong to a culture that thrives on opinions and moves on approvals. When you open up your problem book to another, you are turning away from your own power. Listen to your own voice before it drowns in the noise of others.