I've never been very good at asking questions. For years, I sat quietly in classrooms, meeting rooms and board rooms with thoughts running through my head, silently talking myself out of raising my hand. And of course I'm the one who never stops to ask for directions.
Yep, I pretty much prefer to “muscle” my way through any challenge with a combination of common sense, logic and sassy indifference. But even with all that going for me, I still get lost...
How bout you...? Do you ever feel lost?
Let's face it, we all do. Because one of the great “rewards” of surviving adolescence is the realization that there's no map! Nope, there are no instructions for how to find your way through life, discover yourself, get to the other side of awkwardness and indecision to the good stuff, success, happiness, great health.
At some point we all begin to understand that our ability to navigate life's ups and downs is what makes the difference between simply surviving and thriving, and asking the right questions can be the key to our transformation. So how do you find your way in life?
Your Internal Compass
According to Ayurveda, we are more than just a body and a mind. Within the thinking, moving, breathing “machine” that you most often identify as you, there is an essence that is uniquely yours.
Ayurveda holds that our essence (or true nature) connects us with everyone and everything around us, and is basically the “instruction manual” for how to be you! This essence is the internal compass that guides us if we are willing to listen. It provides us with the creativity and courage to walk our own path and truly shine.
The only trick is, tapping into it is something that oftentimes seems just beyond our reach. But when it comes down to it, it's actually pretty simple...
Tuning In To YOUR Frequency
My practice of Yoga and Ayurveda has reinforced this idea that every answer we seek is within us. And I was recently introduced to a simple and powerful practice for tuning in to my internal compass. It starts with asking four simple questions...
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- What is my purpose?
- What am I grateful for?
The only thing is, when most of us ask a question, we're consciously or subconsciously all set to judge the answer. The trick with these questions is to listen without judgment for the answers that come up, and then let them go. I know that's not easy, mainly because of our tendency to cling to answers for dear life. But releasing yourself from dependency on having answers is the key to cultivating a sense of trust in yourself, your environment and the universe.
How To Strengthen Your Internal GPS Connection
Create a daily practice of self-inquiry through these four simple questions. When you wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, take a few minutes in silence to connect with the breath and bring yourself into the present moment.
Notice the moods, thoughts and beliefs that you're bringing with you. Get present to what's in your physical, mental and emotional space and consciously release everything that has come before this moment (just let it go!). Then, ask yourself each question in turn and allow a little time for something to show up (maybe 10-15 seconds). Feel into your body and mind, allow the questions to become a part of who you are, live in them.
Listen, committed but not attached, to whatever comes up... and then let that go too! Do the same before you go to sleep at night, and any time you need to feel connected to yourself (e.g. before an interview or difficult conversation, or any time you want to feel grounded and centered).
Living the Questions
Oh, and before you jump wholeheartedly into this practice, embrace that it may not produce any answers per sé. Embrace also that every experience we have is an opportunity for us to step into who we are, and a chance for us to live the answers to each of these questions through our thoughts, actions, and emotions.
Know that these powerful little questions are there to light the fire and help us make the connection to ourselves. They are there to let our body, mind and soul know that we're willing to listen and trust. And more than anything, they are a simple and constant reminder of the unique path each of us is walking.
P.S. This practice has made a HUGE difference in my life! It's opened me up to asking more questions (of myself and others), AND to embracing whatever answers there are to receive! Try it... and let me know what YOU think!