"The willingness to trust and follow your heart - not the reactive ego that is often interpreted to be the heart, but the heart that longs to know God - this is a tell-tale sign of whether or not one is reaching maturity".
(from The Way of Mastery)
This quote reminds me of the importance of distinguishing between the guidance of the ego and the guidance of Inner Wisdom. A few years ago it became popular to speak of being "guided" to certain decisions or actions. As I listened to my own mind, and the minds of others, it began to seem as if there was often a hefty dose of self-delusion involved. I saw how easy it was to simply follow the dictates and compulsions of the ego, and to believe that I was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is an aspect of the spiritualized ego.
Conversely, sometimes people have told me they asked for guidance and received it, but
didn't follow it because it didn't "resonate”. Again this can be the spiritualized ego masquerading as Wisdom. It is helpful to ask, “What part of me does this guidance not resonate with?" The guidance that comes from the Inner Teacher is often unappealing and even unacceptable to the ego, unless it plans to “improve on it” to serve its own agenda. The fact that it doesn't "resonate” can be a red flag guiding me to take a closer look. Maybe I am pushing away the help I have been so sincerely asking for.
In becoming familiar with my own inner guidance systems, here are some things I have discovered:
The guidance of the ego is often very exciting to me. I feel charged, energized. I feel powerful. Often this is a by-product of the ego perception that I am finally going to get what I want! Finally! Charging full force ahead into my ego’s dream while thinking I am moving in the opposite direction. This voice speaks with lots of passion and sometimes lots of persuasion, and is always entirely acceptable to my ego. It is a loud and busy voice, full of triumph. I am bursting to share it!
By contrast, the guidance of Truth is often a gentle knowing, an intuition. Sometimes there are no words, just a sense, until I rest for a moment and allow the sense to fully emerge until it becomes a knowing. This guidance is easily heard in a quiet mind, and difficult to hear in a mind that is not.
Often, Inner Wisdom takes me in unexpected directions, which can be startling at times. I have sometimes discounted it, because it seemed too simple and didn’t make sense to my problem-solving (and problem-making) mind.
Always, when I accept this guidance, there is a feeling of peace, and knowing that a burden has been put down. It feels as if a piece of the puzzle has slipped comfortably into place, and there is no concern at all about results that might come from acting on the guidance.
If you are interested in getting to know your guidance systems, it can be a very fun process. Keep a log for yourself. Write down the guidance you are being given, and describe any feelings and reactions you have around it. Then gently, one step a time, start to follow it. As you take each step, keep checking inside to see how you are feeling. Listen and look as you move and you will receive feedback that will give you further clarity. Allow trail and error, until you become very familiar with the two sources of guidance, and personality of each.
Dawn Green RTC, CCAC
Registered Therapeutic Counsellor
Certified Choose Again Counsellor
Categories & Authors