Stephen was considering what looked like a fairly straightforward decision–a move from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver to the quiet peace of a spectacular oceanside home on a nearby island. He felt quite clear about it until his adult daughter implied he was abandoning her. Instantly his peace of mind evaporated.
Hard decisions become even more difficult when impacted by conflicting thoughts, opposing feelings, and fears, and life’s big decisions become fraught with complexity and challenge. Clarity, like the changing tide, ebbs and flows, to be replaced by a battleground of discordant beliefs and feelings. For example, when faced with chemotherapy that her logical mind considered essential, one cancer survivor felt her body was simultaneously screaming out, “Don’t poison me.”
It is tough to silence the questioning voice that incessantly interrupts our inner peace. Like a hamster on a wheel, we are unable to stop endless processing around ‰ the decision. What can we do to create peace of mind with our decisions? How do we quiet the turmoil?
Your Inner Wisdom
A process of conscious decision making can alleviate this unrest. Each one of us can solve problems at a deeper level, but this inner wisdom shows up in different ways. For some it is experienced as guidance from a divine source or our higher self, while for others it may be perceived as the voice of our intuition or insight from the subconscious brain.
The decision-clarity model is a process to help put you in touch with your inner wisdom and make it work for you through four simple steps: defining the question; going within for guidance; release and let go; and checking for the answer.
Step 1. Define the question
This requires the exhaustive examination of the question and particularly the thoughts, feelings, and fears that complicate your decision. You then set your intention to seek inner guidance on the question through quiet meditation, creating an affirmation such as “show me the way” to anchor the objective. Journalling your thoughts and reflections is important at this stage.
Step 2. Go within for guidance
This involves a period of being mindful. The decision-clarity model helps you build an intuitive guidance kit to tap into your inner wisdom. Perhaps a small, gentle voice will speak to us through the silence of meditation or during a guided visualization. Sometimes engaging our passions transports us to a profound moment of insight. For example, Gale, a classical pianist, was trying to decide whether to move from Yaletown, in Vancouver, to Yellowknife. Her thoughts and feelings were totally conflicted, yet when she played the piano, she knew she should move.
The inner world can manifest into the outer in countless ways–dreams, art therapy, or journalling are just a few possibilities. Sometimes meaningful coincidences (known as synchronicities) can act as clues and help point us in the right direction. By following these steps, each of us can create our own personal intuitive tool kit to support our journey.
Step 3. Release and let go
In some respects, this is the most difficult. Letting something go brings us face to face with our attachments; it’s a bit like giving your favourite possession to a friend. Summarize the clues you’ve gathered, and then ritually surrender the issue to the universe, deeper self, or subconscious. An affirmation such as “I release and surrender to my highest good” is essential to help to settle the racing mind. A recent study conducted at the University of Amsterdam suggested that complex decisions are best left to the unconscious mind to work out, and that sleeping on your issue will help.
Step 4. Check for the answer
Through this step you check and see where you are, then make friends with your decision. In a space of relaxed contemplation, bring the question back. Then, while focusing on your breath, notice and record your impressions. There is always a sense of clarity and well-being at this moment, no matter what your decision may be.
Conscious decision making not only results in better decisions, it brings peace of mind and gives us power over the voices that want to endlessly continue the dialogue. It connects us with what is really important in our lives, and when we do that, no matter what the result, something miraculous can happen.