"The magic pill...is in the moments of silence..."
from THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time
We left off yesterday with the idea that we need to carve out some quiet time from our hectic days. We noted that most of us are surrounded by distractions that keep interrupting our ability to get in touch with that part of our inner selves that needs to be heard. Driving with the car radio turned off doesn't do it and neither does the mute button on the channel changer although a few moments in the bathroom without a magazine article to read, holds promise. Personally, it works best for me to create a daily ritual, time and place in which I am virtually guaranteed no interruptions. About 5 AM, sitting in my reading chair, lights and all household appliances turned off and then I spend about 5 - 10 minutes trying to turn off my thinking appliance - my thought processor. This is a time of gentleness as thoughts continue to creep in but when we notice it, we make a conscious effort to let those same thoughts go. This is an excellent way to practice the process of getting in touch with ourselves and the truth that resides inside.
Now, to feelings. We have all noticed that when many thoughts come into our consciousness, they also bring an emotional response and each of us has felt that during our lives. For example, if you sit quietly and slowly cycle through the following list, perhaps you will notice, someplace in your body, a flutter or a lightness, or in some cases a heavier feeling or darkness. Go ahead and try this with the following list of words, one at a time and slowly let anything that pops up, come into your consciousness: first love, Santa Claus, theme from JAWS, smell of baby oil, sound of a siren, your mother's hug. There is a distinction here between the thought and the response and it takes most of us some time to identify this. In other words, we almost need to stop thinking immediately following the initial thought rather than continuing to let our mind create an appropriate response. It is not the desired response we are after but the automatic, in the gut, immediate feeling that we are trying to tune into. It is often nothing more than a feeling of lightness (kind of a butterfly in my stomach) response, or a heavier and darker moment and the key here is the physical reaction, NOT the one in our minds. This is the crux of using feelings as a signpost. Getting in touch with our intuitive or instinctual selves is a physical process. Keep in mind (interesting choice of words) that birds do not THINK about flying south, plants do not THINK about producing blossoms and bears do not THINK about eating more berries. They simply respond to a God given instinct that points them in the direction of their highest and best good. We have the same gift!