Guidance from Within

What does your inner voice sound like? How do you know what your intuition sounds like?

First things first, if you want to tap into your inner guidance, find the most peaceful and happy feeling that you can. Even in the middle of turmoil, pause and focus.

Close your eyes and feel your breath. Reach for the happiest thing you can think of, whatever comes to mind that feels better.

In this stance, you are preparing yourself for listening.

Your inner voice speaks quietly. It’s gentle. Always speaking words of love or calm. It feels like something opening or a knot being undone.

Its guidance always feels simple and loving, easy. It never, ever advises harm to you or anyone. It is uncomplicated, effortless.

Knowing the hallmark traits of your inner guidance helps you to know when you’re truly tapping in to your highest.

Does life suddenly feel a little lighter? Do you feel more compassion for yourself? Do you feel a sense of connection rather than isolation?

Listening to your inner guidance or intuition means that you are consciously acknowledging something very important.

It means that you know that you have the answer you are looking for. You know that you are a wise, loved Being having a sometimes messy but invigorating life experience.

No one knows You better than You. You’re receiving the guidance and direction you seek. It comes to you so naturally, so seamlessly, that you sometimes look right past it.

We sometimes get used to difficulty, so when the answer lies somewhere that feels Easy…it takes a bit of energetic movement to sync up with that answer.

The good news is that it’s easy to make the energetic moves to get to a good place of listening. You do it all the time when you’re not paying attention to your suffering.

You get lost in a good song, or laugh at something, or gaze at something beautiful.

Much like your physical body is a self-regulating system tuned to the highest well-being, your energetic body operates in a similar manner. It also seeks your highest well-being, it wants to be in a state of equilibrium and harmony.

It will distract you, or even put you to sleep in an unexpected nap or an early bedtime so that your energetic makeup can readjust without interruption.

One of my most treasured mantras is “I Know.” It returns us to truth. Somewhere in me, I Know. And I’m just syncing up with that deep, beautiful knowing.

So a little while into a meditation I’ll smile and softly say or think, I Know. And I’ll touch my heart space with my palm and smile and say or think, “I Know”.

So here’s your reminder that You Know. You know your best, you know your highest. You know love and clarity. You might not always have the words to express that Knowing, but it reflects in how you move. In the words you say and the decisions you make. The knowing unfolds as your path, easily and effortlessly.

Cultivating Stillness

You know how they tell you to find a point to focus on when you’re spinning so you don’t get dizzy?

spin around – look at your point – spin – look – spin – focus

But sometimes is feels like your point is spinning too. What happens when life feels so unsteady and your tried and true focal point isn’t there?

You remember that the only true point of steadiness is inside. And it can’t be any other way.

I practiced Chan meditation when I lived in Tallahassee. My teacher, Guo Gu, was brilliant. But I always wanted him to be less strict. To waver from the rules and guidelines he taught us.

But no matter how compelling a question was, or how captivating someone’s story was, he never budged. The rules remained unchanged.

Every year that passes I’m more and more thankful for his teaching. Because he taught me to trust in the stillness inside. No exceptions.

“But teacher, I see beautiful colors and lights in meditation.”

Him: “Stay focused on your breath.”

“But teacher, I think I just heard the answer to a question I’ve been asking for years.”

Stay focused on your breath.

“But teacher a fly tickles my nose.”

Stay focused on your breath.

I learned to find comfort in the uncomfortable. To return to the mundane when I was most mesmerized.

For the sake of cultivating stillness, a solid foundation within. Unmoving, unchanging. Even as the world swirls around in color and sound.

Even as your inner world rises and falls in emotion. The observer is still, silent, watching.

Chaos can be so compelling and consuming that you might imagine that stillness no longer exists.

But it does.

Close your eyes. Let any sounds around you dissolve into Sound. Listen for the silence inside the noise. Follow your breath’s journey.

And always, always, always you will find stillness. Unchanged. Unwavering. Grounding you to the earth and opening you to the freedom of eternal space.

You’ll remember that you are untouched by the world. You are as pure and steady as a baby new into the world. You are beyond your memories and your thoughts. You are beyond experience.

You are the eternal observer, existing in a fresh, new moment. A moment that never existed before. A moment free of memory. Full of existence, of awareness Only.

Welcome to the moment. Immerse in the stillness, it’s all yours. Replenish yourself and return to the world, more steady than ever before.

The Lost Creative

I was mid yoga pose today when I had an epiphany. I haven’t used that word in ages. Nowadays it’s more about “insights” or even “revelations”, but this was most definitely an epiphany.

It echoed something that popped into my mind briefly this morning. Something about creativity. And here it was, more fully formed of an idea and just what I needed in my life right now.

I’ve been observing myself the last few months, and others around me. How are we handling these strange times? I’ve found that so many of my tried and true methods feel…old and irrelevant. Like a dull axe or a matchbox that’s been struck too many times to spark.

I was thinking and feeling something so quietly that I didn’t notice it. But then it came to the surface. It’s that I should have things figured out by now. Or that they should be “done” by now. Perfect, fixed, under my command in some way.

And if all my living and trying hasn’t whipped things into shape by now then…I’ll just steep in this undetected feeling of futility. Futility. I think that’s what it is. I see it and feel it within myself and as I look around at others.

But I don’t know how it got there. Rolling around in my thoughts and making my bones a little extra tired than usual. What happened?

I was convinced to give up in some way. Nothing felt new or fresh or exciting. Those trying to be inspirational talked too much of the past, trying to ‘get back to normal’. I realized how absolutely horrible that sounded.

Everything has changed, and it will never be “back” to anything it was before. That’s not how life works, it doesn’t move backwards. I realized I was thirsty for the new. What exists here that has never been before? What kind of new beauty or intrigue exists as a result of all that has changed?

That’s what I’m interested in. I don’t care about normal, or going back, or the practicality of dealing with changes. I want to know about the New that is available to us now. We live in a new world and it’s about time to turn my mind towards exploring it.

Which gets me to that epiphany. It was something along the lines of, “Heba, get creative! Stop thinking about how things are or what limitations exist and let it go. Get C-R-E-A-T-I-V-E.”

Oh yeh, creativity. I forgot about it. To sit back and be creative energetically, to be creative with my thinking. To really step outside the box and see what’s out there. I kept limiting my own creativity. I kept making it realistic.

But all that we know or have known in “reality” came from some unseen, creative place. Everything I love now was nothing before I lived it. It didn’t exist for me until I experienced it. And sometimes I set off to create more of the same, but that’s not how things came to me in the first place.

They came spontaneously. Or…one thing just led to another. Life unfolded itself and I fell in love with its details.

Have we forgotten to be creative because we’re all-consumed by the current status of the world? By our own woes and worries and fears?

Well, here’s your reminder to get creative. [And mine too.] Start imagining, imagine past your imagination even. Let go of all you’ve known and start discovering this new world with me. Can it be better than it ever was before? Can we honor those you didn’t get the chance to see what’s next?

The Peace Holders

I feel as though I can’t exist in a reality where there isn’t creative and spiritual expression. That without those things, there is no air to breathe, no purpose in living. And when I look around my life or the world and I can’t see that expression, when everything looks full of lines and walls and boxes…a tightness grows within me.

It’s as though some part of me starts screaming and thrashing around. And another part of me considers complying with those lines and walls and rules. And the screaming grows louder.

I sit in witness of this internal battle and just listen. I listen to the parts of myself and what is of value to them. The part of me that craves freedom, the part that calls for stability, the part that feels small and fearful.

And I say, “I hear you.”

And I remember that life isn’t about running away. When something feels intolerable, it’s because you feel so passionately. There’s something that you would fight for with the entirety of your being. Evidenced by a willingness to give up everything if you can’t have that one thing.

If I could scream from every rooftop in the whole world how powerful of a stance this is, I would. I would scream, “Please don’t give up! Tell me what calls to you so unequivocally! We need you to hold that flame!”

If all those who felt Peace calling their hearts gave up, peace would fall. And if all those who hear poetry rustling in the trees plugged their ears…words would lose their magic.

I think of my friends who have so much passion inside and don’t understand where it belongs in this world. But it’s so important. Because that passion is asking you to bring something into the world. It’s saying, “Keep me alive. Speak my name. You are my bearer, you give me life.”

Poets keep poetry alive. Artists keep art alive. And without them, those things would die. Life would be lines and walls and boxes.

What’s more important than keeping alive the one thing you would die for?

When something feels the most impossible, that’s when you most need to come into harmony with your deepest longing. What do you hold the most true? What can’t your soul live without? And realize that you are the bearer and holder of that very thing. It is your charge. Yours to bring into the world, yours to nurture.

We fight so many of our battles in the physical world. We bring it all forward and try to hammer things into place. But the most sacred battles are quiet.

They whisper things like, “I love you. I don’t know why, but I need you to be here. You’re important. Life isn’t right without you. Sometimes I try to convince other people of how valuable you are, but they don’t listen.”

And your passion would respond, “But it’s enough that you love me. That you can feel me and my relevance. Keep quietly loving me and express it when it feels right. Keep holding me in your light and letting me flow through you. And that’s enough.”

Love isn’t contingent upon the object of your affection loving you back. Love is yours to feel and has nothing to do with anyone or anything else. It’s a wave of feeling that is meant to be felt, experienced. You don’t need to physically express it for it to be True or have value. Love is yours.

And in the same way, just be in love with that which calls you. It’s enough to love it, to feel its beauty. To express it when it feels right, but not to force it when it doesn’t. You have nothing to prove and no one to convince. Your call is to hold the torch of your calling. To give it breath through you, effortlessly.

When I close my eyes and I see All Things, I see streams everywhere. Streams of thought, of feeling, of light. And when attention flows into a stream, it Becomes.

So when I look with my eyes closed, I see the Peace Holders. Those who quietly believe in Peace. They keep that stream alive. And I see the Upliftment Holders. They quietly lend their attention to the upliftment of all people. And so that stream stays steady and available. So many streams, varying in intensity depending on who is focused where.

That’s why it’s so important to just quietly believe in what you value. And sometimes that expresses in a big way into the world, sometimes in smalls ways, and sometimes in ways you don’t understand. But it makes a difference where it matters most. It lights up that stream. It makes it bigger, it gives it life for all to experience.

Take a moment to tap into what matters most to you. At the very core of your being, what yells your name? Is it Freedom? Is it Love? Is it Independence or the Well-Being of all creatures? It is Fun and Lightheartedness?

Now imagine that concept, that Feeling Space, streaming into all existence. And because it matters to you, you are part of that stream, part of what makes that very thing Alive. Imagine all those who are there with you, lending part of their attention and love to that very concept. And how you all give it life together.

For every one person who seems to have done something incredible in the world, there is a vast and powerful stream of consciousness behind that person. A stream of Many that is flowing through them to give evidenced life of that value stream. For every One person that makes a difference in the world, millions have first added their attention to that very thing.

[Be mindful what value stream you are adding attention to.]

So when life feels like too much or you can’t see what you love most around you, or even the possibility of its existence…remember that YOU are the one giving it life.

Relax and let the world do what it’s doing. It isn’t proving anything to you. It’s not supposed to convince you of your own values. It gives you opportunities to Realize those values. And then gather your strength and focus and breathe those values into the world. Not to compel or convince anyone.

But to amplify what which you hold most high. To join others who share that same stream. To imagine it resonating throughout the whole world so that your love is available to anyone who seeks Upliftment or Fun or Freedom.

When things feel intolerable it means: I’m asking the world to prove to me that which I actually intend to bring to life myself. I’m asking the world to speak to me that which I mean to speak. I’m asking the world to express that which I most want to express.

So, cut out the middle man. Say, “I can’t see what I want to see…so I’ll be the evidence of it. Quietly, and sometimes not so quietly. This is no problem because, nothing is set in stone – even if it appears to be. Whatever I lend my attention to will amplify, this is for sure. I’m not fighting, I’m just lending my attention. I’m acting as I feel inspired to act. I’m not forcing, I’m allowing something important to Become. To grow and be nurtured by me, as best I can. There is no timeline, no rush. Only a joyful expression of love. A light inside me that shines towards What Matters Most.”

A Life Unknown

This morning I woke up and remembered this especially delicious cookie and iced coffee I used to get every weekend from a local bakery. And how happy it made me. I would smile the whole drive there, practically whistle as I walked inside, and skip back to my car as I relished in a beautiful weekend morning.

I realized how long it had been since I’d done that. It felt like a different life. I thought about going to get it today, to remember the good. Did they even sell those cookies anymore? Was that bakery still in business?

Which brought me to thinking about…the past. I started imagining how things were before, and began to plan how to get back. Back to the happy times.

And then I realized that there was nothing back there that I needed. Truly. We glorify the past forgetting that we were probably desperate for change when we were ‘back there’. Waiting for better. Waiting for love. For freedom. For more money. For something to make us feel alive, or for some relief from the pressures of life.

I sat up in bed and thought of that again, “There is nothing back there that I need.”

Could it be true? Can I truly let go of the past? (yes) Do I need to remember my past to plan my future, or to follow the path of a new unfolding? (no)

The answer was more clear than it had ever been before. There was nothing back there that I needed. There was nothing to go back to. Nothing lost or taken.

Sometimes we cling to pain or disappointment because at least it makes us feel relevant. Grounded somehow. If I hold my past close to me, if I remember pain, then at least I am somebody. I am in relation to my past. I can be found somewhere on the map of Life.

Because if we let go of Past. If we let go of Pain. Who are we? When I’m not in relation to Who I Was Before…Who am I?

The only thing worst than Pain is the Unknown.

We live in a fear-based society. Our relationships are fear-based, our jobs are fear-based, our view of ourselves and God and the world is fear-based. And when fear abounds, when it becomes so familiar and undeniable, the only response is Control.

We cling to our past because we’ve already made sense of it. We know it. We’ve lived it. We relive our past thousands of times in our minds because it gives us the illusion that we are in control of what was uncontrollable at the time.

It all makes sense in retrospect. So we can forgive the problems, the longing. At least it makes sense now.

It’s better than a scattered present, where it’s difficult to draw connections. Or worse, an unknown future.

But we never escape that nagging feeling that it’s over. There’s nothing back there. There is Here. And here is better, even when it doesn’t look that way. Because Here leads to the freedom of discovery of an unwritten Future.

I remember how much I longed for change and for New back then. I remember how I wanted to feel free and to write the next chapter of my life with fresh ink.

So I’m reminding myself to be brave. That there’s nothing back there that I need. That fresh life and discovery are Now. That life is unfolding Here. And that’s where I choose to be.

Life moves with me and through me and Becomes. Let it be. Let it become. Let it unfold. Let yourself Discover.