Humans seek pleasure, its a fact of life.
How we go about it can sometimes be messy and often seems to take us out of their integrity and deeper knowing. I always find it sad when I see both women and men fall into the trap of seeking physical pleasure or stimulation as an outlet or source of connection. Sometimes this is what they need at that moment, but all too often it is a poor substitute that a deep experience of presence and authentic intimacy can bring.
It can be hard to tell the difference though. How do we know if our more primal desires are leading us or if we are being called to action by our hearts and higher wisdom?
Something I’ve shared with my clients is the idea of checking our internal system when we are faced with crucial decisions. Whether its investing in a company, deciding to fly to visit family, or going home with the stranger, I find its important to give more than just one aspect of ourselves a voice.
I call this, “Asking Our Inner Council” and the process is quite simple. Whenever you face a decision that seems unclear, allow the question of what to do to run through the five voices of your body: gut, mind, heart, groin, and spirit (which resides at the very top of the head). As you do so, notice what happens in those areas. Is there relaxation, contraction, expansion, warmth, or cold?
For example, let’s say I was unsure if I should leave for a trip this weekend or wait until the following month. I would give myself a moment of calm breath, and as I bring the question into my awareness, I feel into the different aspects of my inner council. Perhaps my mind is a yes, yet I notice that my gut feels tight, my heart feels a bit closed, and my groin and spirit seem silent.
An essential key to this tool is to not attach yourself to the reasons why a particular council member is saying something. The practice here is merely to listen impartially and take note of all your inner voices.
Sometimes there may not even be an answer from a particular council member. That’s ok as it simply means that they’re neutral and its often a sign to listen even more closely to the voices that are speaking.
That said, these days, while I not always looking for a hell yes from five out of five before I decide on something, at the least my heart needs to have a quality of opening and my gut needs to feel safe and secure for me to even consider doing something that I may not have a full yes or clarity on.
This may seem like a lot of work to do every time we make a decision. Two things I believe deeply in are that the amount of awareness or consciousness we bring to our life, the more vivid and rich it becomes. The other is that all life is a dojo and we are always given opportunities to practice.
When it comes to this systems check, the invitation is to practice it when the stakes aren’t that high. Try it when deciding where to have dinner, if you should go to that party that you’re not that committed to, or where to go for a weekend getaway.
Then as with all things diligently practiced, the speed and quality of communication in which you’ll be able to receive wisdom from your council will increase and when it really matters, it’ll make all the practice worth it.
I’d invite you to make this process a part of how you make decisions for a week, or even a month. Keep a journal and take note as to what happens when you listen to your guidance, or perhaps when you let one of the voices have more of a say than the others.
I would even suggest not to follow the guidance of your inner wisdom, just to see what happens. Although I’d probably keep that one for when the sakes are low, such as whether to do the dishes or hold off one more day.
Having used this tool for well over a year, I feel I’ve reached a point where I’m making better decisions for my life, especially when it comes to when I’m seeking pleasure. At times I’ve questioned why I’m not seemingly as turned on by everything that I see and even judged myself for not being as social for the sake of finding more partners. Heaven forbid I may even be getting old!
I’m clearly seeing how momentary pleasures don’t serve me, and I’m harnessing the vital creative energies into meaningful pursuits. It seems the more clarity we have about what is important to us, what are our priorities, and what we’re not willing to compromise, the more we find ourselves aligned and resonate with what life, and our inner wisdom, is asking us to do.
When we’re just starting out with this practice it can often be helpful to have someone we can share what we’re hearing with and have them reflect back. If you’d like more guidance or are unclear about a decision in your life, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to be of service.