In a time when we are bombarded from morning to evening with information from all sides as to what is best and what we should and shouldn't do to live happy lives, how can we navigate through this massive sea of information and know what's best for us in any given situation? Is there a reliable way to make decisions and navigate wisely through life? Yes! In this book Barbara Berger maps out what the Inner Compass is and how we can read its signals. How do we use the Inner Compass in our daily lives, at work and in our relationships? What sabotages our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass? What do we do when the Inner Compass points us in a direction we believe other people will disapprove of? Find and follow your Inner Compass and experience more flow and joy in your life.
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Find and Follow Your Inner Compass
Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
By Barbara Berger
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2016 Barbara Berger
All rights reserved.
You have an Inner Compass
You have an Inner Compass. You have an amazingly accurate and reliable Inner Compass that is working all the time. An Inner Compass that is constantly giving you guidance and information as to what is best for you and whether or not you are in alignment with who you really are.
And how does the Inner Compass do this? It does this by means of your emotions. Your emotions are the way in which the Inner Compass lets you know how you are doing. When you feel good, when you feel a sense of ease and flow, enthusiasm and joy in your life, these good-feeling emotions are an indication that you are in alignment with who you really are. When you feel less than good, when you feel a sense of discomfort, frustration, overwhelmed, anxious or distressed in any way, these negative emotions are an indication that you are out of alignment and not doing what's best for you.
So the Inner Compass is a very simple mechanism. It is an internal yes/no mechanism that is your direct connection to the Great Universal Intelligence – that Greater Intelligence that created this amazing Universe and all Life in it, including you. In order to provide you with a clear indication of whether or not you are in alignment with what the Greater Intelligence knows to be the truth about you, the Inner Compass works like the North/South guidance of an ordinary directional compass. When you are in alignment – when you are living in harmony with who you really are and what is best for you – this Inner Compass points directly North and you feel a sense of comfort, ease and flow in your life. In other words, you feel good. And when you're not in alignment with who you really are (with the North/South position), it means you are off the beam, and as a result, you feel a sense of discomfort or unease. In other words, you don't feel so good.
It's as simple as that.
But unfortunately, most people have lost touch with their Inner Compass, which is their very own, natural internal guidance system. As a result, most of us don't realize that this is what our emotions are all about. We don't understand or realize that our emotions are actually indicators, which are all the time telling us whether or not we are in alignment with who we really are and with what is best for us, in any and every given moment in time or situation.
So the heart of the matter is that your emotions matter! How you feel matters!
Everyone knows when something feels good or bad, everyone knows the difference between feeling angry and feeling love, between feeling depressed and feeling joyful ... but what most of us don't understand or realize is that these emotions are important indicators because they are giving us vital information about what is going on in our lives. So when you stop and notice what's going on inside you, you will see you are probably experiencing a wide range of emotions, emotions which vary, depending on the situation you are in. Whether it's what's going on in your family or what's happening as you interact with your partner or your colleagues at work.
But whether we are aware of this mechanism or not, our emotions are there! All the time. And this means that, whether we know it or not, each one of us has an Inner Compass that is providing us with this information by means of our emotions. So when you start to notice, you will see that this Inner Compass is always telling you in each and every moment in time – how you feel about what is going on in your life. Your emotions are giving you this valuable information all of the time. And this internal guidance system is always on, always available, always giving you second by second, minute by minute information and guidance, which you can use to make wise choices for yourself in every situation.
But unfortunately most people don't know about the Inner Compass and don't know that our emotions are the key to understanding and using this internal guidance system.
Understanding our emotions
Since our emotions are the key to understanding how our Inner Compass works, let's take a look at them. We human beings have many words to describe the different states or emotions that we experience, but we can categorize all our emotions under two basic categories or emotional states – Comfort and Discomfort. All our emotions fit into one of these categories. Here are some examples of how our emotions fit into these 2 categories:
In other words, good-feeling In other words,
emotions not good-feeling
The good-feeling emotions give a sense of ease and flow, while the not-good-feeling emotions give a sense of unease, discomfort and resistance.
And this is what the Inner Compass is telling you. This is the information the Inner Compass is giving you all the time. By means of your emotions, the Inner Compass is giving you a direct and precise readout as to what you are feeling in every moment. And these feelings are the way in which your Inner Compass tells you whether you are in alignment or not, in terms of who you are and what is going on right now. So all you have to notice, or ask yourself, is this: How does it feel? How does this situation feel? How does this person feel? How does this thought feel? Am I feeling a sense of comfort/ease/flow or a sense of discomfort/ unease/resistance about this person, situation, circumstance – or even about myself?
In this connection, it is important to understand that your Inner Compass is not telling you whether things are so-called "right" or "wrong" or "correct" or "incorrect". It is only telling you how you really "feel", in terms of whatever is going on in relation to who you really are – and it's telling you about what's happening right this very moment.
So when you and what you are thinking and doing are in alignment with who you really are and what's best for you, you are in harmony with who you really are. Which translates into a feeling of joy, flow, ease and happiness because you are living in alignment with your true nature, your deeper essence, or you could say with your soul essence. And then, the connection is open between you and the Great Universal Intelligence that is orchestrating the dance of Life. So Life feels good and is good and you are in flow – and things just seem to work out better for you.
I know it sounds very simple – and it is.
The simple truth is we feel better when we are living in alignment with who we really are and are allowing the flow of Life to stream through us – fully and freely – so that each one of us can live out our own unique destiny path.
How do I know that everyone has an Inner Compass?
The Great Universal Intelligence
To answer this question, let's start by taking a look at what's really going on. Let's take a look at the world, at reality. Did you notice that the sun came up this morning? Well, yes, you say, it did. The sun did come up this morning. And I say, so may I ask – did you make the sun come up this morning? Did you do it? Did you make the sun come up? Was it on your "to do" list or did the sun just come up by itself? And you answer, no, you didn't make the sun come up this morning. It came up without your help. And then I ask, what about the planets orbiting in space – are you making that happen? No, you say again, it isn't you. And what about the trees growing outside and the grass and the plants, I continue. Are you making all that happen? Again, you answer no. And what about the seas and the oceans and all the fish and all the other animals? Are you making any of them happen? No, you answer again, you are not. But something is happening, we can all see that. We can all see that the sun does come up every morning and that the planets are revolving around the sun in perfect harmony every day and that the plants are arising and growing and the animals are there – and that all this is happening and we are not making it happen. We are not doing it. Not you and not me. But it is happening anyway, I say.
So from this, we can conclude that there is some Force or Greater Intelligence that is creating, manifesting and organizing this amazing Web of Life, this amazing dance which is our Cosmos. There is some Greater Intelligence or Force which is creating and orchestrating all of this – and this is what I mean when I say the Great Universal Intelligence. I mean this greater creative Force or Power or Intelligence (or whatever else you might want to call it) that is organizing and coordinating the unfolding of Life all around us.
Something is there and something is doing all of this. It's obvious. You can see it unfolding wherever you look.
We can also ask the same questions when we look at ourselves. So let's try that.
If you take a look at yourself, I can ask you – did you create your own body? Did you make yourself appear in this body? And again, you answer no. You did not make you happen, but again, here you are! You are here in this body, right here, right now. So something greater, some greater intelligence, which is far more intelligent than you or I, has organized and animated and manifested YOU!
The other thing about you (and me) is that now that we're here, we're still not "doing" us. By this I mean, you are not making yourself "be", you are just happening! Just think about it. Do you sit up all night and tell your heart to beat? No, you don't. Yet your heart beats all night long all by itself, without you telling it what to do, or watching it, or doing anything. It just does. Your heart just beats. And the same goes for your lungs, which continue to breathe the air in and out, in and out. And the same with your digestion, which keeps on digesting your food and all the other millions and trillions of cells and processes in your body, which are all going on all by themselves – without any thought, or direction, or interference from you or me. So again, there is some greater intelligence at work here. There must be some Force or Intelligence that has manifested you and me and everyone else and which is now animating and coordinating these amazing physical bodies, which we all have.
Just think about the intelligence of our bodies!
If, for example, you cut your finger with a knife while you are out in the kitchen preparing lunch and your finger starts to bleed ... what do you do? Probably you will wash your finger off and then put a bandage on it. And once your finger is all bandaged up, you will probably just forget all about it. You'll just forget it and leave it alone. Then a couple of days later, you'll take off the bandage and see what you knew would happen – the cut has grown back together. All by itself, just as you knew it would. And it all happened by itself, so to speak. It all happened automatically. It just did.
You didn't sit there looking at your finger, all day long and all night long, telling the cells of your body to grow back together. The cells in your body knew what do to and they did it automatically – without any direction from you or interference from you. So who or what was doing it? Again, there is, obviously, some Greater Intelligence at work here. Obviously!
So this is what I mean by the Great Universal Intelligence. I mean that Greater Intelligence or organizing power that has created and manifested all of creation including you and me!
And now we come to what I call the Inner Compass. Since this Great Universal Intelligence created you and is animating you, it must be in you. And this is what I mean by the Inner Compass. The Inner Compass is your connection to and awareness of the Great Universal Intelligence.
The Inner Compass is the Great Universal Intelligence manifesting itself in you! And this is why it's so important to understand and use your Inner Compass – because it's your direct link, your direct connection, to the Great Universal Intelligence, which is that All-Powerful Infinite Energy that has created and is animating all of Life – all of this entire, amazing, wondrous Infinite Universe – including you. And this Life Force, which is All-Powerful, All-Knowing Infinite Energy and Infinite Intelligence, is also Infinite Aliveness. And when we experience this Infinite Aliveness, it feels like joy and it feels like love and it feels like passion and enthusiasm and appreciation.
So when you feel like this – when you feel good, when you feel a sense of well-being – you know that you are in harmony with the great flow of Life that is manifesting through you. In other words, you are in harmony with the Great Universal Intelligence that is flowing through you. When this happens, you feel so amazing, you feel so good, you feel so happy! And this is why your emotions matter! This is why your emotions are significant. Because they are telling you where you are in relation to the real you – in relation to the real you that is living in harmony with the great flow of Life. So the better you feel, the better something feels, the more in harmony with Life and the Great Universal Intelligence you are! In fact, the good-feeling emotions are the way in which the Great Universal Intelligence is saying to you – loud and clear – You're on the right track ... you are on the right track ... so go for it! GO FOR IT!
Not in contact with the Inner Compass
The shocking truth, however, is that many of us have lost contact with our Inner Compass – with our connection to this Great Universal Intelligence – and so we have lost contact with our own internal guidance system. And because of this, we are not truly in contact with how we really feel about things and so we flounder in our life situations and life becomes a struggle. I know this sounds strange, but it is true nevertheless.
So how can this be?
There are two main reasons why so many people are not in contact with their Inner Compass. Firstly: Ignorance or lack of awareness of the Inner Compass! Simply put, we don't know the Inner Compass exists. We don't know we have an Inner Compass because no one ever told us about it. So we never learned that we have an Inner Compass. Our parents didn't teach us about it because they didn't know about it either. And they didn't know about it because their parents didn't teach them about the Inner Compass either! And so it goes, back through the generations. Not that many people have ever been aware of this mechanism, and as a result, information about this mechanism has not been readily available before. And because of this, we didn't know about the Inner Compass and we don't teach our children about the Inner Compass either.
Just think about it. Can you remember anyone ever saying to you in your childhood that you have an Inner Compass – an internal guidance system – that you can depend upon and that is always telling you what is best for you in any given situation? Did anyone ever tell you about this? Did anyone ever tell you that this was what your emotions were all about? That your emotions were important and that they were signals? That your emotions were the way in which your Inner Compass – your internal guidance system – was conveying this information to you? Can you remember anyone ever saying anything like that? Did your parents ever explain to you that only you could know what's best for you because you are the only one who's inside you and the only one who has access to your Inner Compass? Did they tell you that you were the only one who knows how things feel to you? Did they tell you that you were the only person in the whole wide Universe who has contact with your internal guidance system? Did your teachers tell you this? Or your friends? Did anyone, in fact, ever tell you about this mechanism?
And I can say this with some certainty because I've been coaching and counseling people all my life and so far I've never met anyone who could honestly answer yes to this question. Who could honestly say that they know they have an internal guidance system because their parents taught them this in their childhood. So the reality is, most of us don't even know that this Inner Compass exists. We simply don't know that we have an internal guidance system that is always with us and is always working.
And then there's the second reason.
In addition to the fact that we don't know we have an Inner Compass that can guide and direct us in every aspect of our daily lives, most of us have been trained (programmed and indoctrinated) from early childhood to make most of our decisions and to say and do things mainly to please other people. We have been trained like this because we learned at an early age that if we wanted things to go well for us, it was a good idea to please the grown-ups around us. That's the way we were brought up. That's the way we were programmed. The messages we got in early childhood were usually very clear and told us in no uncertain terms – it's important to please other people. It's important that other people approve of you and what you are saying and doing. So we learned at an early age that things would go better for us if we pleased the people around us. We got the message from our parents, in a million ways, that said, "Things will go better for you if you do what I want you to do." Or "I'll love you if you do what I want."
Excerpted from Find and Follow Your Inner Compass by Barbara Berger. Copyright © 2016 Barbara Berger. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
PART ONE: You have an Inner Compass, 5,
You have an Inner Compass, 7,
Understanding our emotions, 9,
The Great Universal Intelligence, 11,
Not in contact with the Inner Compass, 14,
You were probably taught that your feelings didn't really matter, 16,
The Inner Compass exercise – here's what to do, 17,
Check in regularly with your Inner Compass, 21,
You already are following your Inner Compass in a lot of ways!, 22,
Afraid to notice how you feel?, 23,
Change starts happening naturally and automatically, 24,
Your Inner Compass is not mental, 25,
The Inner Compass and the Great Universal Intelligence, 26,
Is it selfish to listen to your Inner Compass?, 27,
The Emotional Scale and keeping your energy high, 29,
You are the only one who has access to your Inner Compass, 31,
No universal standard – no one size fits all, 33,
We are all on a learning curve, 35,
Your Inner Compass never says "should", 36,
What about "intuition" or "the voice within"?, 37,
What does the Inner Compass say?, 38,
So should I always do what feels good?, 39,
Approval feels better than disapproval, 40,
What happens when you don't listen to your Inner Compass, 41,
Negative emotion is your friend, 43,
Yoga, mindfulness, meditation, positive thinking and the Inner Compass, 44,
When did the first "no" arise?, 45,
Your Inner Compass and your thoughts about yourself, 46,
Life activities: Is it "Survival", your "Passion" or just "In Between Stuff"?, 48,
What does the Inner Compass say?, 50,
PART TWO: Dealing with the fear of disapproval and other challenges, 53,
The fear of disapproval and other challenges, 55,
If I follow my Inner Compass, I'll make someone else unhappy, 55,
Happiness is an inside job, 57,
Different people react in different ways to the exact same situation, 58,
But I know my partner will be upset!, 62,
Take your power back!, 63,
People who are out of alignment want you to fix them, 64,
Arbitrary standards of behavior, 65,
What if my family doesn't like it?, 67,
Your assertive rights, 69,
The "sandwich technique", 70,
Asking for time, 73,
Working with assertiveness, 74,
When people continue to make you "wrong", 75,
Minding your own business, 76,
The Inner Compass and children, 78,
The lure of glamour, fame and success, 81,
Self-referral or other-referral?, 82,
The power of two or more in alignment, 84,
What does the Inner Compass say?, 85,
Momentum and learning to use the Inner Compass, 86,
Mental Training, 88,
Awareness is the key, 89,
It's a process – a never-ending process, 91,
What does the Inner Compass say?, 92,
EPILOGUE: The Inner Compass and human evolution, 93,
Democracy – the highest form of government, 95,
Consensus or flock mentality?, 96,
Everyone wants to be free!, 98,
The Inner Compass and human evolution, 99,
What did the Inner Compass say to Barbara Berger?, 100,
One Final Word: Everyone and everything responds to love, 103,