171: Inner Compass

mapSomewhere today on our trip home we took a wrong turn. We had suddenly become the cast from ‘Spirited Away’ madly driving down the wrong road with no idea where we were going. Like tourists in our own county we were hopelessly lost. We only had the river to guide us. There was no cell phone, no food, no petrol stops and no toilets. The wrong turn was filled with gravel, dust, derelict houses and an extra three hours of driving.

Losing your way on a road or in life is a common human experience. When you can no longer see your true north or guiding star things can seem hopeless. Hopeless is that feeling when you have no control over your circumstances.

There are many ways we can lose our footing in life. We may end up in a job we are not so sure about or a relationship. We may wonder about whether to take that job or date that person. We may not be sure of our next step in life. Sometimes everything in life can  seem so uncertain. What we long for is to know that we are doing OK, that we are where we are meant to be, even if that feels hopelessly lost.  In yoga this term is referred to as Shraddha. Shraddha means that you are moving in the right direction steadily. It is our intuition, our faith in ourselves that everything is as it is meant to be. Sometimes it is referred to as gut instinct, inner compass or intuition.

Humans are not the best at listening to their inner compass though. We prefer to have certainty to guide us. We want the guarantee that the road we take is going to get us to the next point as quickly and as painlessly as possible. We aren’t experts at listening  to our inner compass because as soon as we are born we learn to survey everyone else. What do you think I should do? Or we spend hours doing an analysis on the pros and cons of a situation trying to left brain our way though life.

What if we put aside our need to know for sure? What if we no longer relied on others to tell us what is best for us? What if we actually knew our path but stopped ignoring it? Wanting to control our outcome is another form or attachment but being guided by our own gut feeling is freedom.

Practice for today: Can you have faith in yourself that things are as they are meant to be right now even if it feels like you are on the wrong road? Can you have the courage to let go of the fear of wanting to be certain of the outcome? Spend some time today in silence to ask for guidance from yourself. The right path for you is where you are now. The future path is already written into the universe. Your job is to be silent enough so you can hear what it is saying to you.



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