Thursday, September 13, 2007

Inner Wisdom

Even though it may not feel like it sometimes, I believe that you know you the best.

This thought came to me the other week when a woman I'd just met asked me about my astrological sign. When I told her I was a Sagittarius, she said excitedly, "You must be a people person! I can tell you are!" A feeling of confusion washed over me. And an image from my childhood flashed through my mind:

My parents are expecting company. We've spent the whole day cleaning; it was my job to straighten the living room. I hear an unfamiliar car roll into the driveway. My heart starts to pound. I hear two sets of footsteps climb the steps to the front porch and then I jump at the sound of the door bell's ring. I rush to the big brown chair and squeeze my body under it, roll into a ball.

A "people person" I said to myself over and over, trying to make it stick. I love people, particularly one-on-one; I love connecting to others; and I love helping people. This was all true. But, a "people person"? I take a deep breath, take in those words and they just don't seem to fit. I tell my partner this story when I get home. He laughs out loud and says, "I think you're more of an animal person." I chuckle. There's some truth in that.

This encounter (and my explorations about it) made me realize that there may be a lot that gets in the way of our full understanding of ourselves at any given time. But I feel that we each know our body and mind the best, for we are the ones who live in our own skin. Others can help us see things we've been ignoring, guide us to explore an issue more deeply, and point to other ways or modes we might consider. But I believe that when we really listen to ourselves,
really listen, we know ourselves to the very core.

Your sense of intuition and inner knowing is part of what the Sixth (or Third Eye) Chakra* is all about. This chakra is about seeing and processing the world around you and your own own internal world. It is about trusting what you feel and know. And this trust is hard to come by sometimes; self-doubt is a persistent visitor to many of us.

As a way to listen deeply to the wisdom of your Third Eye,
try this:

Make a list of attributes that other people commonly associate with you (feel free to call up a friend for some ideas). Write this list without censor or judgment. Now, light a candle, focus on the candle's flickering light, and sit with this list. When you're ready, take some deep breaths, focus some energy in your third eye area (feel free to touch this area if you feel you need a stronger connection), and begin to circle the attributes that you truly feel represent aspects of yourself. Now notice what's missing. What words or phrases uniquely represent you? Now add these words to your list and circle them. Do you feel this list now truly represents you?

Sometimes I do this same exercise with a difficult decision I need to make. I write a list of "shoulds" -- all the possible actions I could take, including ones that make me cringe. I sit with the list and start my candle meditation. Then, I focus on my Third Eye, letting my inner wisdom guide me, and I begin to circle the actions that I feel most resonate with me. Sometimes I have to re-visit this list for a couple of days before I trust that I know the best course of action.

How do you feel you are guided by your inner wisdom? What does the wisdom of your Third Eye have to tell you?

*Some more details about the Sixth Chakra:
The Third Eye is located in the center of your head, just above eye level. The color associated with this chakra is indigo. When this chakra is blocked or out of balance, we may experience headaches, nightmares, eye strain, blurred vision, and a sense of feeling mentally "foggy." Gemstones thought to aid in opening this chakra: amethyst, moonstone, sugalite.


1,000 Faces of MotherHenna said...

I swear I am on the same wave as you all the time, Courntey! Recently had a huge epiphany about the differences between my socially constructed self and my real self. About how the addictions or destructive patterns in my life have really be about the struggle between those two selves.

And then I began to think, well what if I just accepted that I am my real self and dropped the story of the socially constructed self?

Hmmm?!? Wow. Not sure how it will unfold over time. I feel like it came like a thunderbolt, all at once. It's wasn't a slow learning thru the process of therapy, just a sudden a-ha! So I'm not sure how this consciousness will play out yet.

But there you go. :)

Courtney Putnam said...

K ~

How profound! Yes, I know what you mean about the struggle between a socially-constructed self and a real self. Sometimes it feels like these two entities are duking it out!

What a great point you have:
"What if I just accepted that I am my real self and dropped the story of the socially-constructed self?"

And it is a story, isn't it. I create stories about who I am and who I "should" be all the time. What if I just let the stories I tell myself go and just BE?

Great questions, K.