August 21, 2015 Union Yoga

Trusting Self: Moving away from Social Consensus

We’ve all done this: we sit down with a group at our favorite cafe and ask “What are we getting–should we share something?” or “ What are you going to order?” before even asking ourselves what we want to eat. Perhaps this has happened: you are deciding what to wear to a dinner party and you send a poorly lit selfie in a group text to see what everyone else is planning to wear and to receive confirmation that your wardrobe choice is acceptable.

Nothing is wrong with either of these scenarios. We are social beings. And while this is true, there is definitely a difference between looking for inspiration and relying too much on an external consensus with your life’s biggest questions.

If you are someone who has difficulty making big decisions for yourself and feel the need to crowd source your every move (like where to eat your next meal, if you should go on a second date, where to take your next vacation or the decision to quit your job), then you may benefit from cultivating a practice of self trust. The value of trusting the self is unparalleled to anyone else’s opinion, especially when it comes to one’s deepest desires and values. Honestly, no matter how confident you are, we could all benefit from looking deeper within for answers we can make ourselves about our life.

Photo-Jun-17,-3-20-41-PM“Everybody has to pass through doubt. Long is the journey, dark is the night. But when after the long journey and the dark night the morning arises, then you know it was all worthwhile. Trust cannot be cultivated. And never try to cultivate it — that is what has been done by the whole of humanity. Cultivated trust becomes belief. Discover it within yourself, don’t cultivate it. Go deeper into your being, to the very source of your being, and discover it.” OSHO

Osho asks us to go deeper into our being to discover what it means to trust the self and only the self. What can we understand about trusting the self? We can learn to trust our inner wisdom and our inner guide when we commit to some form of meditation.

Meditation has always been a useful approach for figuring out the next step– whether it is a problem that needs to be solved, a life transition that we need to go through or a challenging conversation we need to have with a coworker or loved one. When we are at a fork in the road, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to dial into our inner selves.

And even when we do this, we have to be mindful that the answer may not come as quickly as we think we need it. It may also not come in the way we expect it to. Therefore, we must be patient in our meditation practice.  We absolutely may get our answer when we least expect it.

What happens during meditation is that our brain waves slow down. It is here that we experience less interference from our conscious mind. As a result, we are more successful at accessing the subconscious mind. It is in this space that we are able to clear out the noise that is no longer serving us (eg. comparison, limiting beliefs, irrational thoughts).

Here is a simple meditation for Discovering the Self for greater self-trust. This is a meditation that you can do when you are faced with a challenging decision.

Find a comfortable position. Either sitting on a block, bolster or pillow, find a position  that will be comfortable for you for up to 10 minutes.  Make sure that you are in a space that will be free from external distractions and interruptions.

Time your meditation. Start with 5 minutes and if that feels like too short, try 10. Use a timer or a phone so you can fully relax with the eyes closed and be notified when the time is up. If you have to check the clock, you will interrupt your meditation.

Focus on your breath. Bring your attention to your breath as it enters and leaves your nose. Notice the way the air feels going in the nostrils and notice how the air feels exiting the nostrils. Make sure you’re breathing deeply from the diaphragm. Regardless of how shallow or deep the breath is, remember to focus on the inhalation and exhalation without judgement.

For self discovery. If you’re looking for a specific answer from your meditation, ask yourself the question at the beginning of your meditation. For example, if  you’re looking for your next career move, ask yourself, “What is the career path that will give me the most happiness and fulfillment?” Keep asking yourself the question and allow space for the answer to arrive naturally and organically. If it doesn’t come right away, that is OK; it may not arrive immediately. Be patient with yourself and do not be critical of your process.

Wandering mind. It is natural for the mind to become busy with thoughts. Notice them as they arrive and allow them to disappear. If there are thoughts that appear that resonate with you and your question, give yourself permission to dive deeper into the thought. You’ll know when you receive your answer because you will have a strong sense of knowing.

It is possible that you will find yourself becoming bored and the mind will drift to tasks, plans, to-do lists, memories, etc. When you notice this happening, bring your focus back to your breath and be patient with yourself. It is important to not make yourself wrong for drifting. Know that having thoughts are totally normal, and then let the thoughts go.

Next time you are tempted to find confirmation of a decision within your friend group or you have the impulse to skip over the process of listening to our own instincts, try this meditation and see what there is for you. Learn to trust yourself, because that is where the truth of your path lives!

Photography Credit: Nkechi Deanna Njaka

Nkechi Njaka