The shocking truth is that many of us have lost contact with our Inner Compass – with our connection to this Great Universal Intelligence – and so we have lost contact with our own internal guidance system. And because of this, we are not truly in contact with how we really feel about things and so we flounder in our life situations and life becomes a struggle. I know this sounds strange, but it is true nevertheless.
So how can this be?
There are two main reasons why so many people are not in contact with their Inner Compass. Firstly: Ignorance or lack of awareness of the Inner Compass! Simply put, we don't know the Inner Compass exists. We don't know we have an Inner Compass because no one ever told us about it. Our parents didn't teach us about it because they didn't know about it either. And they didn't know about it because their parents didn't teach them about the Inner Compass either! And so it goes, back through the generations.
Just think about it. Can you remember anyone ever saying to you in your childhood that you have an Inner Compass – an internal guidance system – that you can depend upon and that is always telling you what is best for you in any given situation? Did anyone ever tell you about this? Did anyone ever tell you that this was what your emotions were all about? That your emotions were important and that they were signals? That your emotions were the way in which your Inner Compass – your internal guidance system – was conveying this information to you? Can you remember anyone ever saying anything like that?
Did your parents ever explain to you that only you could know what's best for you because you are the only one who's inside you and the only one who has access to your Inner Compass? Did they tell you that you were the only one who knows how things feel to you? Did they tell you that you were the only person in the whole wide universe who has contact with your internal guidance system? Did your teachers tell you this? Or your friends? Did anyone, in fact, ever tell you about this mechanism?
And I can say this with some certainty because I've been coaching and counseling people all my life and so far I’ve never met anyone who could honestly answer yes to this question. Who could honestly say that they know they have an internal guidance system because their parents taught them this in their childhood. So the reality is, most of us don't even know that this Inner Compass exists. We simply don't know that we have an internal guidance system that is always with us and is always working.
In addition to the fact that we don't know we have an Inner Compass that can guide and direct us in every aspect of our daily lives, most of us have been trained (programmed and indoctrinated) from early childhood to make most of our decisions and to say and do things, mainly to please other people. We have been trained like this because we learned at an early age that if we wanted things to go well for us, it was a good idea to please the grown-ups around us. That's the way we were brought up. That's the way we were programmed.
The messages we got in early childhood were usually very clear and told us in no uncertain terms – it's important to please other people. It's important that other people approve of you and what you are saying and doing. So we learned at an early age that things would go better for us if we pleased the people around us. We got the message from our parents, in a million ways, that said, "Things will go better for you if you do what I want you to do." Or "I'll love you if you do what I want."
So from an early age, we were trained to notice and pay attention, all of the time, to what we believed (or learned to believe) other people were and are expecting from us so that we can make them happy. We got the message, early on, that it's our job to make other people happy. So we've been trained to have our antennas out, trained to focus on other people, instead of turning inward and focusing on the information that is coming from our internal guidance system, which is inside of us.
So basically what happened is we learned from an early age that our feelings don't matter. Since no one understood the true significance of emotions, we were taught from childhood to disregard our feelings. In other words, it was okay to feel bad as long as you pleased other people. So we learned from early on not to pay too much attention to what is going on inside of us and instead to notice, be aware of, and fall in line with what the people around us were expecting of us.
Please let me be clear here – I am not talking about allowing children to become spoiled brats and creating families with no healthy boundaries and no basic house rules or clear guidelines for respectful behavior between people. (For more about this, read this excerpt about the Inner Compass and children.) What I am talking about here is our basic misunderstandings about this thing called Life, which includes the fact that people are different, with different ideas and agendas (even in the same family), and that each person has his or her own direct link to the Great Universal Intelligence, which created us all and which is providing each one of us with information about who we are and what is in alignment with each of us and our life path.
So even if most of us will say that we know what feels good and what feels bad, that's not the point here. The point is the significance of how we feel. The point is that our emotions are indicators, which are providing us with important – yes vital – information about our own alignment with who we really are.
This is what is so important to understand. That good feelings are a signal from within, a signal from your Inner Compass, that you are living in alignment with who you really are. And negative emotions are also a signal from within that you are out of alignment or off course... So it's important to understand that your emotions are a reliable source of information and guidance, regardless of what other people are saying.
So you can see... it's all been rather backwards for most of us, right from the beginning.
And as a result of this, most of us don't understand what our emotions mean and have lost contact with our Inner Compass.
So the big question is – how do we get in contact with our Inner Compass again?
To answer this question, I have designed the following exercise to help you find and follow your Inner Compass again. And here it is:
The Inner Compass exercise is all about finding and using your Inner Compass every day in every situation. This is what you do:
First of all, start thinking about and contemplating the fact that you have an Inner Compass. Read Does Everyone Have An Inner Compass? over and over again until you really "get" it. Then make the decision that you are going to be mindful of the fact that you have an Inner Compass during the course of your day. That you are going to remember, and remind yourself, that you have an Inner Compass. Then start noticing how you feel, really feel, at various times during the course of your day.
Notice when things feel good and notice when they don't.
Notice when you feel good and when you don't.
And then – again during the course of your day – when you notice that you are thinking more about what other people may be thinking or feeling about you – or about a situation, event, or another person than what you yourself are thinking and feeling, immediately pull back your focus from the other people and return your focus to yourself. In other words, when you catch yourself worrying about what your boss is thinking, or about what your partner is thinking, or about what your mother is thinking, just drop it.
Drop the thought of what anyone else might be thinking or feeling about what's going on. Drop it like you've got a hot potato in your hand and it's burning you! Ouch! That hurts, so drop it. Drop the hot potato! Drop trying to figure out what other people may or may not be thinking or feeling or wanting. Just let it go. Just drop trying to figure out what anyone else is thinking and feeling about what's going on and gently return to yourself.
Then take a deep breath and go within and notice what you are feeling. In other words, notice what your Inner Compass is telling you about the present situation, or about the person you are confronted with, or about whatever is going on before you right now.
In other words, take a moment to go within and just notice how this feels to you right now. How does this situation feel? How does this person feel? How does this event feel right now?
That's what the Inner Compass is telling you. And that's what the Inner Compass exercise is all about.
It's about noticing.
It's about noticing honestly.
It's about present-moment awareness.
It's about right now.
It's about being mindful of what's going on within you, right this moment.
It's about being mindful of your own unique connection to the Great Universal Intelligence.
It's about being mindful of the fact that you have an Inner Compass that is always giving you direct, real-time information as to how things feel and what is best for you.
It's about understanding what your emotions mean and that they matter.
This is what the Inner Compass is all about and this is what the Inner Compass is telling you. It's telling you how things feel to you right now. So ask yourself: How does this feel right now? Does this situation, event or person feel good or not? Does this give you a sense of comfort or discomfort? That's all you have to notice.
Notice how you actually feel.
And then keep doing this. Make it your daily practice to notice, every day, as often as you can during the course of your day, how things are feeling to you. In other words, notice what your Inner Compass is telling you. Does this situation or person give you a sense of comfort or discomfort? How does it make you feel? Does it feel good or not? That's all you have to do.
Just notice your Inner Compass and listen to what it's telling you.
That's all there is to it.
Find and Follow Your Inner Compass: Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
by Barbara Berger.
Barbara Berger maps out what the Inner Compass is and how we can read its signals. How do we use the Inner Compass in our daily lives, at work and in our relationships? What sabotages our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass? What do we do when the Inner Compass points us in a direction we believe other people will disapprove of?
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com
Find and Follow Your Inner Compass: Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
by Barbara Berger.