Decision-making can be complex and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. I have six keys here that may help. But before we get to the six keys, I want to suggest an unusual idea: that the more conscious and present we are, the less there will be a ‘decision’ to make. When we see things clearly, what’s best to do is obvious. Whether that is going back to school or giving money to someone in need. When we are not in our mind or ego, when our inner knowing is not blocked by strong emotions, we often simply know what to do. Now for the six keys…
Recall Your Life’s Purpose
A wise decision will necessarily be aligned with the purpose of your life. And the purpose of our lives is always expansion. We incarnate again and again to grow, to expand into more light and love. So expansion, growth, is the real name of the game. Remembering this can make decisions easier, because ultimately, this big picture view shows you that you’re not here essentially to acquire something or to even achieve something great – your most essentially here to become. Becoming more loving, more conscious, more powerful…more Buddha or Christ-like. I had a teacher who put is this way, 'Follow the energy'. This means noticing how a path *feels*, because we want to be choosing a path of ascending (increasing) vitality. We
want increasing vitality to be the direction of our lives, because that is healing, and that
is also growing more conscious. As we become more conscious, we are growing in light, love, and power. These three are really one.
Go With Your Heart
Which one are you spontaneously attracted to? If you could have anything, what would it be? Going with your heart means doing what you passionately care about and will enjoy doing. It also often means facing fear.
Take the Hard Path
“If you’ve got a choice to make, it’s usually the harder one”, a mentor said to me. The hard path is usually the one to go with. This makes sense to me on so many levels. The harder path involves not giving in to our addictions, our lower nature, and not being lazy. The harder path often involves standing up for others and our self. The harder path means moving things forward against inertia and resistance in our self and in the world. The harder path is how we advance things – which is tough. So choose a path with heart, and then work hard at it.
Blend Intuition and Common Sense
“Common sense is genius in its working clothes”. I have always loved that quote. It’s right on, I think. Common sense is fairly obvious. But next we want to go to our intuition. Intuition is really what I mentioned above: looking at how a choice feels. Imagine yourself in that choice, in that future or in that place. And sometimes we first get intuition, a gut feeling, and the common sense in the choice reveals itself when we look a little deeper into it. The main thing
is to know that we can blend intuition (the heart), with common sense, (the mind). But know
that sometimes intuition will be strong, but the mind will not agree, and the challenge will
be to still go with our intuition - or at least notice in hindsight what happens when we don't.
Visualize It Going Well
Especially if there is fear or anxiety about the choice you want, then this can be a valuable step. Get yourself into a calm, relaxed state of being, and then visualize the desired flow of events, what you would like to see happen. As my counseling teacher used to say, “Fear disappears when you can see something working out in your minds eye.” And in my experience, it works! But one hint: visualize various scenarios that you feel are likely and would enjoy, at least as a start. As you do this, you will then naturally find yourself able
to picture an even bigger or better future, and you might find that the visualization begins
to interact with *you*, as you begin to see a flow that wants to happen.
Listen to Your Intuition
After all the left-brain thinking, pros and cons lists, etc, is done…takes some time to tune into your intuition. And for that, quiet is very helpful. The fact is, our intuition always does know best. To increase your awareness of your intuition, begin by giving it regular air time. The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle recommends that in any decision or thing you are thinking about, let their be gaps in your thinking. In other words, take time to not-think now and then. By the regular practice of inner stillness, your inner knowing, the part of you that knows beyond the linear intellect, can speak to you. I recommend simply pausing now and then,
to simply breathe and feel the inner body.
And by connecting what you think is an intuition, with the results it brings – you will refine your ability to discern what is your intuition and what is not. Intuition may certainly lead you down a hard path, but the effects of intuitively-led action will benefit everyone.
Do Contingency Planning
This means asking yourself, ‘what if x happens?’ Being prepared for likely eventualities means they won’t take you by surprise. And having a response to them prepared means you can let go of fear of that outcome, and go into the situation with more confidence. This can be a
helpful strategy to reduce fear.
Serve The Situation
This is actually a fairly profound idea or truth: once your decision in made and you’re in the situation, remember to serve the situation, whatever it is. The real reason you’re there, is always to heal the space. So if you’re decision doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would…if you’re not getting what you expected, relax, and remember the purpose of your life is most essentially expansion. You are here most essentially to become love, to become more truly powerful and free, not to be a slave to be a slave to external conditions, dependant on certain things to be happy...
Reflect and Learn
This one is obvious! Being in the now does not mean never looking back or never having
thoughts. It just means you aren't dependant on the past for your happiness - you can look
back and learn, but you know that now is truly the only reality you ever have.
In the future I may write an article titled, “3 Levels of Decision-Making”. The 3 levels of decision making are:
1) Purely intellectual. Pros and cons lists.
2) Intellect, but also consulting and noticing intuition; gut feelings.
3) Purely Intuitive or Inner-directed, with little to no thought.
We don't have to wait to make decisions from 'level 3'. In Stillness, this moment is all there is.