The basis of fulfillment and happiness
Intuition - the inner tutor- being able to recognise your inner guidance system and use it constructively to make the best decisions - being able to recognise all the factors that affect you and your choices in life - being internally referenced and free from external influences. Living intuitively means living spontaneously, living in the everlasting moment, according to your own choices and beliefs and not doing anything that is not right for you.
Potential - the sum and constructive use of all aspects of your traits, character and skills - all dimensions of you. If any part of you is unused or unrecognised then you are not maximising your potential. You have created limitation in your own life. Even if the beliefs are given to you by another person, it is you who chooses to drop them or to adopt them. Your potential is limitless because as soon as you reach a new level of understanding, of what you are capable of, you recognise there is more to learn, greater possibilities, more potential to realise.
By Sylvia Clare
>From the books trusting Your Intuition by Sylvia Clare and Living the Life You Want by Sylvia Clare and David Hughes - both reviewed by Kindred Spirit recently
The purpose of life is to be happy. True happiness comes from knowing yourself. This means accepting yourself as you are and understanding how your perceptions affect your experiences of life. To recognise your conditioning. This is at the heart of all spiritual psychology and personal development teaching.
Life is a continuous journey. The only way is in and onwards. You cannot turn back. What ever you do is a lesson in how to be happy or how not to be happy. However much you deny the lessons, they keep coming until you are forced to face yourself and accept your need to change.
Change is always for the better, it is our resistance to change that causes us pain. You cannot stop the lessons and you cannot manipulate them. You can only wait for them to be presented to you and learn to recognise what you are being shown each time
Intuition enables you to recognise and use those lessons constructively. This means responsibility. You are responsible for making the choices and you are responsibility for the outcomes for yourself and any ripple effects beyond that. It is this fear of responsibility that prevents us from becoming all that we are. So what do we fear?
Why self knowledge is so essential
All experiences are aimed at increasing your understanding about why you do, feel and think the things you do. There is no right or best way, no direction or path you must take, just many ways to choose from. Life itself is the only path you need to follow and it will lead you towards the lessons you most need to learn next. All teachings and guidance systems are there to light the way, to make it easier to follow, to point out the signposts for you and to help you recognise the markers. They all work simply by shifting your level of understanding to higher levels. Then, if you want to, you can decide to change. This means going with the flow and accepting that you are not perfect but neither are you wrong or static. You are a developing masterpiece. You can resist change but this is what causes all discomfort, unhappiness and pain in life. Recognising the need to change is the first step in accepting that you can become all that you really are now. What you are not is only an illusion.
Intuitive self awareness is the basis for developing that perception of life and using it for your own development, to reveal your own potential. It is important to accept a few principles along the way:-
¨ We are all doing the best we can with what we know.
However it may seem to other people, this is true without exception. Even if people tell us we are wrong, we have to find out for our self, to really know and understand the truth of that matter. Even if we have sunk to the depths of the social scale or are emotionally quite lost and possibly morally bankrupt, we are still doing the best we can with what we know. Because if we knew and understood all the other choices and outcomes available, we wouldn't choose self-destructive options. But if we believe it is all we are worth, all we deserve, it is really all that we 'know'. And we are the ones who pay the cost of that knowing, but those costs are our lessons.
Other people don't have to hang around for us, their duty is to love themselves enough to move into healing relationships and life situations, not to remain in unhappy or abusive self denial ones. So it is to our advantage to stop our self destruct behaviours and to learn what love means for yourself first and foremost and for others through that same love.
¨ You cannot love others until you first learn what it means to love yourself.
And for all of us, it is imperative that we remember how fallible we all are. We laugh at the misfortunes of others, or judge and criticise, because in the words of that great philosopher of life, Homer Simpson, 'its not me'. But next time it might be. There but for the grace etc. go you or I. That grace is acceptance, whether it be self or for others. And once we accept our self, and stop judging our self, we no longer need to judge others either. Intuition allows us to see that perspective in all things. It suggests the bigger picture which shows that yor judgment is based in your own lack of insight and perception.
¨ Critical and judgmental attitudes block our ability to learn. They increase our guilt/shame factor and lead to beliefs and feelings of low self worth.
There is no right or wrong. There are only behaviours and beliefs that open us or close us to our whole self. And everything we do has an effect on that process in our self and in others because we are all connected by the fact that we all live in the same universe, on the same planet. You cannot be in something and not of it. If everything is of the universe, then it is connected to everything else on an atomic, energetic level. Emotions and experiences are all part of that energy system, just as the material world is. Every thing is part of the cause and effect implications of that connectedness. All our emotional and experiences are part of the whole. If you believe in right and wrong, then you are also subject to that belief system. You become right or wrong in what you do. When we judge others we are really judging our self through comparison and criticism.
¨ Intuition is reading those energy connections and we do this by feeling, either physically or emotionally and learning how to interpret and respond to those feelings.
Just think how it feels when you are wrong. Is it comfortable? Does it make you feel open and joyful?
Now think of the best and most fun times which were learning experiences. Did you find it easy to learn under these circumstances? Were you aware that you were learning?
Think of a young child. To them what we call play is in fact work. It is learning about how things work and exploring potentials for whatever experience opportunities come their way. But if we have decided that learning is a detached, intellectual, and often uncomfortable experience, how does that affect our ability to learn.
¨ Does it make it easier for us or harder?
¨ If you do something wrong, can you honestly say that you intentionally did it wrong. Was it a mistake?
¨ Even though you had been told it was wrong, did you want to find out for yourself to see why it was or was not wrong?
¨ If you had known beforehand what you subsequently realised would you still have acted in the same way?
¨ If the same situation arose would you look at it objectively and take a new approach or would you repeat your previous choice of approach?
¨ Thought creates reality.
Thoughts become beliefs. And those beliefs become our reality. Whatever we believe, is true for us. So if we believe life is hard, learning is hard, and mistakes are things to be afraid of - through guilt or shame, then that is how we will experience them.. It is not true for everyone, it is our belief that is the difference. That is the basis upon which we all create our own reality. Life is simply a series of learning experiences running consecutively and sequentially.
¨ As soon as we have learned one lesson another has already started
Experiences are neutral. It is our perception, our belief about them that makes them good or bad. We need to be free of critical fear based emotions like guilt, shame and prejudgment so that we can make the most of the learning opportunities. If we want to get something for ourselves in life we need to be able to see what works best and what works less well, not to be labelled right or wrong. If we are right or wrong, we are also judging our self and from that comes self rejection, rejection of those parts of our self which we have decided are 'not good' and need suppressing. Thus we minimise our potential. Instead we should be finding ways of developing those characteristics, so there is a positive, constructive use for them. That's their potential. And yours.
¨ Intuition is being open to learning from experience without judgement and recognising the lessons we are being shown.
Ultimately we realise we all have the same truth, which is the true nature of reality. And this is different from our subjective one. But we need to know it all for our self, so that it is our truth within the one truth. This is the point of all those lessons. The only real learning we ever do is through direct experience. If we believe what we are told, we are conditioned by the fears and limitation beliefs of those who teach us. This is just as true from people like myself as it is from anyone on the planet. We all must find our own truth. Teachers are available in every aspect of life. If you like, anyone you meet is your teacher and your student in life skills, whatever the appearance, as you are theirs.
¨ Intuition is the key to finding and living your own truth, being all that you are and realising your whole potential.
Life is a series of choices. We cannot make a wrong choice because we will learn from whatever we choose. But we can become more conscious in our choices and therefore more responsible and responsive to life. The advantage is that we are then able to direct our choices and explore our potential without the fears and beliefs of limitation and lack creeping in.
First we have to learn to step back and recognise what we are feeling about any given event in our life. We may have quite strong feelings but remember those feelings are all conditioned by the beliefs you carry. Reacting to those feelings without considering their origins may not be the best choice in life.
¨ If the feeling you have in any situation is one of any form of fear, then it is a form of limitation belief. And it is limiting your potential.
If you hold a belief strongly enough you will manifest that absolute reality in your life, that belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If there are many around you who hold the same belief it becomes what we call common sense or reality. But whose reality is it. It is a commonly held belief in limitation and lack. That does not make it real. It only means that it is the socially accepted picture of reality at the moment. History has so many examples of a reality for the people then, which we would now fully reject, laugh at or recoil from in horror. Would we now burn women as witches, or insist that the world is flat? Yet for those who did hold these beliefs they were absolutes and common sense ' how could it be any other way'. Our normal now will be just as laughed at for its 'innocence', by future generations who believe they have got better answers than we have. But if we can accept and live with that attitude right now, we free our selves up to that vast unlimited potential, our own potential, right now. We become internally referenced, working with our own inner tutor and trusting our own experiences. We no longer fear being wrong or being the odd one out. We no longer fear making mistakes, fear criticism or are limited by those around us.
¨ There is no such thing as a negative dimension to a character, only a dimension being misused.
This applies to any aspect of your character or nature. How many of us find that there are parts of their nature that they like and other parts they do not like? Let me call them dimensions so that we have an easy and neutral term to work with. We may even have suppressed those parts, so that they seem to disappear, until suddenly we find our self doing something 'out of character'. Some people hold on so tightly to make sure that this doesn't happen. They never learn to relax or find self acceptance. They live with the constant fear that something might give them away and then 'everyone will see how worthless they really are'. Mostly the rejection and denial of that part of self has become so ingrained that we are unable to accept that it is part of us and we blame other people for 'making me do that'. This is another basis for our critical and judgmental attitudes. The fact that other people mirror back at us those aspects of self that we would deny.
¨ Intuition is recognising that in others we seek to deny or hide from in our self.
The people who annoy us are generally mirroring back to us something we fear about our self. So we project our dislike onto them and avoid their company. But in truth this is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognise that which we seek to deny, and to open up to all of ourselves. Once we open up, we can forgive, accept and change. We can still avoid their company if it remains detrimental to us, but this suggests there is still something in ourself we have not released.
We can begin to find positive uses for those aspects of our self that we have been led to believe were unacceptable. This does not mean we have to continue to allow people to treat us inappropriately but we have the choice from a position of inner strength and not fear. And we can have compassion for their inner pain.
People who are at peace with themselves do not do things to hurt others, to judge or criticise, to be dishonest or afraid of anything. They do not need to. They can achieve far more by being all of themselves in the most loving way instead. These are principles. They do not apply in this situation but not in that, they apply - period! Like reading and yellow always making orange not sometimes orange and sometimes green or brown depending on whether it is Monday or a full moon etc.
¨ Developing Intuition is a process of developing self-knowledge.
As we become more aware of what we feel and who we are, we are more able to recognise the choices we have in life and to make the best choice we are able to with what we know at any one time.
Psychic abilities and intuitive gifts are not something only special people have. We are all psychic to differing degrees. Some people have opened themselves up more to reading the energy fields without going down the self-knowledge path. They are often dependent on the tools they use. This can lead to another form of fear and limitation; 'I will only do something if the cards say it is OK' or 'if my sun is in the right conjunction with my birth planet'. As someone who uses cards and astrology regularly, I do not under-estimate their value in helping you to find a way through the choices we have in life - but they cannot make the choices for us. They can only tell you what your influences are, and help you to recognise your conditioning to any situation. For instance I often get the devil or death cards coming up when I have to make a choice. I do not see them as a 'don't do it' card. I see them as a ' you will be challenged to confront your inner fears and limitation beliefs' or ' you will have to allow somOne of the best approaches I have used is the Chakra system. The chakras are the seven energy centres in our body, running vertically from the base of our spine to the top of our head. Each Chakra has a symbolic role in our relationship to life and hence our emotions. It is possible to feel the emotions coming from that person. For instance if you are prone to sore throats and put it down to being a teacher or winter viruses. The Chakras suggest it was because no one in your family told the truth about anything. I have seen many clients with this particular symptom. Once they started telling the truth, the sore throats went.
Now if I have a throat infection, I also look to see what it is that I am not saying and find a way of making sure I express myself. So I am intuitively reading my body to recognise something that I am other wise hiding from. Intuition.
¨ Intuition is the highest form of intelligence - Albert Einstein
Intuition is closely linked to emotional intelligence, that much is clear. But it goes beyond that. It is the basis of all original thought. Most of us live in a world of thoughts that run as a continuous train through our conscious mind. Every so often we may experience a break through idea from another source. What is this source and where do we access these ideas from? They seem to rise up from somewhere inside us. But whenever you seek this place, you cannot find it intellectually and when you use intellect alone, you most probably struggle. It is this hidden spring of understanding and expression that is the most valuable aspect of intuition.
I have come to understand this in far greater depth through the teachings of Zen. The principle that we are all operating on conditioned thought has been discussed pretty extensively already. But if we examine how thoughts work, how that conditioning affects each and every thought we have, we need to get underneath, to how the brain works and how thoughts develop.
The brain is made up of millions of neurons, which connect with each other through synapses and create neural pathways. Research has shown that learning can be identified by the creation of these pathways and the development of them through repeated use makes them stronger and more dominant in our brain patterns. This research goes back to the work of Hebb and Penfold. Other research shows that deprivation of certain stimuli in early childhood means the brain does not create neural pathways that can deal with certain types of stimuli.
¨ Our whole experience of life is a result of our interpretation of these sensory stimuli. That is the basis for experience. So our responses are determined and conditioned by our life experience and repeated because the pattern for that repetition is laid down in our neural connections in the brain. It is the widest trodden path through our brain for new thoughts to take. But it does not end there. Not only do we have to recognise our patterning but we also have to change our neural structures by creating new behaviours. This is why it is so hard to change sometimes, and why learning a skill takes time but once learned it becomes second nature. It is literally laid down in our brain patterns. This is the basis behind NLP. No single neuron links with only one pathway. Most of them interlink in many directions, carry many different messages from different areas of experience, and are stimulated by different neurotransmitters. These are the chemical messengers that travel between different neuron endings and decide which one next to stimulate. For instance a message of pain must continue as a message of pain until it is recognised and remedied. The purpose of pain is to protect our physical integrity. So it has a purpose that must be recognised.
Our thoughts also follow these patterns of response. It is as if in the centre of our mind there is a pure unblemished original thought. But in order for it to be recognised it must reach the surface. In that journey it travels down many neural pathways and each one slightly adjusts that message to fit what is believed. It is only once we are able to recognise our conditioning and drop the judgments and beliefs, to see each thought as it is born and unconditioned, that we are able to find our true nature i..e. who we are without our preconditioned patterns of beliefs and reality. That is the basis for intuition and original thought. It is the same as Krishnamurti taught in his book 'the Awakening of Intelligence'. True intelligence is when we can see things as they are and not as we are, when we have no immediate structures through which everything is modified to fit our view of the world.
So how does this fit with potential? Well what do you believe about your potential? What do you believe about how the world works? That is the basis of your limitation in all aspects of life: in relationships, in self-expression, in wealth and comfort, in health and happiness. There are many ways in which we can get back to the beginning of all this. Self exploration and examination is one major part together with a regular practise of meditation, yoga, tai chi or some other form of mind stilling process that allows us to become aware of what we think and to gradually unravel that conditioning. That is the basis of living intuitively and finding your whole potential.
So in summary Intuition is that ability to know what you feel and to recognise the basis for those feelings, to assess the fear / love basis of those experiences - to recognise the opportunity for change that you are offered and to take that opportunity in trust and confidence. It is the highest form of intelligence and it is your path to your greatest potential - so develop it and use it fully.
About the author:Article written by Sylvia Clare
Sylvia Clare holds a BA in Psychology, and qualifications with the Institute of Family Therapy, the Corporation of Advanced Hypnotherapists, an advanced diploma in Food, Diet and Health and is a qualified teacher. She works on the National Executive Committee of BHA Hypnotherapy Association and writes or advises for several magazines on emotional and spiritual intelligence. She has written or co written 5 books including trusting Your Intuition, Living the Life you Want, Heaven Sent Parents, Raising the Successful Child and Realising Your Child's Potential, which is now being translated into several languages. She lectured in Psychology and Child development for 16 yrs before changing direction to write, work directly with clients and run workshops. For more info please contact Sylvia on 01983 537338 or visit her web site on www.claritybooks.co.uk
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