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Friday, December 7, 2007

Making Better Life Decisions

A common perception is that proper decisions are made by weighing up the pros and cons of the different options and coming to an 'informed' decision. However, the mind is perpetually afflicted by doubt, and often we go back and forward from one option to another. The key is to go beyond the mind and get the answer to what is right for you from the deepest recesses of your being.

  • If you can cultivate some kind of practice to still the noise of the mind, it will help you immensely when making decisions. Meditation has been practised for thousands of years in all the cultures of the world as a means of getting in touch with one's deepest self. The key is not to think of the decision at the start of meditation. Be still and calm, and try not to allow a single thought to enter. When you have cultivated the capacity to sit for 30 minutes like this, you can go deep within and ask yourself the question you want to ask.
  • For religious people, prayer of course is also used to obtain inner guidance. When praying, it is best to still the mind so your prayer is one-pointed and free of mental clutter. Also the prayers should not be mechanical, but come straight from the yearning of the heart.
  • How can one recognise when the right answer is coming from deep within? It is important in particular to recognise when an answer is coming from the soul and when it is coming from our turbulent emotions. When an answer comes from our emotions, it is like a runner that tears out of the blocks only to run out of steam after a few metres, but when the answer comes from the soul there is a tremendous sense of certainty about it, like a runner going steadily all the way to the finishing line. Inner messages from the soul are often accompanied by a tremendous sense of inner joy and relief.
  • Once the inner message has been received, don't let your mind interfere. The mind will often try and superimpose its doubts on his message and make you doubt that the message was genuine. Try and remember the feeling of 'rightness' you felt when you made the decision and keep it with you as you implement that decision.
  • Don't expect to make all the right decisions straight away! It takes time and practice to still the mind and identify 'the still small voice' from the deepest part of your being telling you the way to go. Our mind is very good at convincing us into a state of denial about a particular course of action, and it takes time for our sincerity to come to the fore and challenge this behaviour. Take every 'wrong' decision as something that adds to your self-discovery, learn from what you did wrong in the process, and move on.

The author, Shane Magee, teaches free courses in meditation and balanced living organised by the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Dublin, Ireland

 

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