Each week I run the spiritual group at The Recover Clinic where I am Clinical Director. The format of the group is consistent: a 20-minute meditation and then a discussion upon a spiritual theme of my choice. I generally try to consider the 'mood' of the clinic and try to choose topics that I think will help our patients to overcome challenges that may be relevant to them at that particular time. A few weeks ago we talked about bravery and why I feel it is essential that we be brave.
I believe that all of us have an inner voice that tries to guide us through life. I believe that this voice wants the best for us and tries to steer us toward happiness, contentment and love. I think many people have a sense of this 'voice' but often refer to it simply as their 'gut instinct'. Much of the work that I do with my clients is about helping people to 'tune in' to this inner voice and to learn to trust its guidance.
When I first introduce this topic many people are able to identify the voice and admit that on many occasions they have had a sense of what their 'gut' was telling them but ignored any deep seated red flags and went against the tide of what that 'gut instinct' was saying. When we work at breaking this down we always end up at the same conclusion: Fear. Fear is often what guides all of our major decisions and causes us to ignore that inner voice. When we examine the outcomes of ignoring the inner voice the evidence is always the same...we wish we'd listened to our gut.
One question I'm often asked is:
"Surely it's right to be fearful? Don't you think fear is important? "
My response is always this; there are 2 types of fear: There is the instinctive fear that comes from your gut that is there to keep you safe i.e. the fear that stops you walking down a darkened ally at night and there is the fear that we have bought into or inherited...the fear of living. So much of what we are terrified of are precisely the things that give us the most joy and happiness: relationships, travel, adventure, love, to name a few. Fear corrodes our confidence and takes so much more than it gives.
Once we've have become engaged in this cycle it can seem impossible to see a way of breaking out. Fear breeds fear. The more scared we become, the more likely it is that our fears materialize and the more invested in the fear we then are. Our realities are a manifestation of what we believe and think about. For example if you believe that you find it impossible to meet a man then guess what...it'll be pretty tricky. If you believe that you'll always be in a dead end job then that will likely be the case. The scripts that we write for ourselves become our lives and if we want that to change then we need to do something differently.
Acting out of fear does not prevent us from experiencing loss, sadness or pain or any of those emotions that we are all so afraid to feel...it merely numbs our experience of life. It offers us a watered down version of who we could be. It makes us feel lonely in crowds and has us existing in lives that we know weren't really meant for us.
Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts. To be brave is to re-write your script. Just because this may be the way that you have lived your life up until now, it doesn't mean that you can't change it. 'I am brave' is one of my favourite meditation mantras; just waking up in the morning and saying that to yourself can change the whole tone of your day. Deciding to allow your inner voice to guide you can seem scary because allowing fear to guide your choices is so familiar to you. Be Brave. The more your trust in yourself and your inner guide, the more empowered you will become. It takes an initial leap of faith but once you take that first step, the road will rise up to meet you and you will soon be living the life that you were destined to have.