Most of humanity could be considered complacent. We blindly accept status quo. Perhaps we learned from our families what it means to be human, that lesson being that we *should* strive to be like others, to have a house, a car, children, pets, big screen television, the latest electronic device. And for all those things we need jobs. So we work and we work and we labor much of our lives away to pay for these objects that we believe we need to be someone. Our industrialized, capitalistic society confirms this time and again. So in this pursuit of false happiness, we become complacent. We learn to listen to everyone else, but not ourselves. We learned not to trust our own voices, and especially that truthful inner voice. That little voice gets buried under all the stuff, gets drowned out by all the commercials that tell us that we cannot be anything unless our teeth are whiter, our breath is fresher, our clothes are cleaner, our houses are perfect, our cars are bigger. For all of our lives, we hear BIGGER BETTER FASTER MORE.
Many of us have forgotten what it’s truly like being switched on. We’re numbed by our lives, our beliefs, our standards, which, in fact, we’ve adopted from someone else. We have stopped trusting in ourselves. So while we believe we’re happy because the news/television/radio tells us so, we are, in reality, lost.
Time and again we encounter people who seem prone to making bad choices. They always seem to be breaking up with the most recent boyfriend or girlfriend. They buy things that break down again and again. Instead of trying to make better choices or re-educating themselves from the previous lessons they’ve been exposed to, they continue to make the same decisions based on flawed information.
How do we break this cycle?
First, we must teach ourselves that mistakes are not failures, but rather an opportunity to do better, to get it right next time. Stop beating ourselves up when we stumble and fall. There’s a wonderful line that comes from the latest “Batman” trilogy. When young Bruce Wayne falls down the well, his father rappels down the shaft to rescue his son. And he asks Bruce, “Why do we fall?”
Then he says, “So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
When we’re afraid to make honest mistakes, our only failure is to not learn the lesson that falling presents to us. From there, we might learn how to do better, to become a better person, a changed person. A person who is switched on.
How do we switch on?
We begin trusting ourselves and that inner voice that many call intuition. We stop allowing others to make our decisions, stop allowing others to tell us what is right and what is wrong for us. We are the only ones on the planet who truly knows what’s right and what’s wrong for us.
Dr. Judith Orloff, an intuitive psychologist, offers this checklist on how to know when to quiet our minds from all the external chatter and really listen, in her new book, “Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love“:
Positive Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
- a feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness; you may sense you’ve known the person before, as with the experience of deja-vu
- you breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm
- you find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance
- your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energized, expansive, or alive
- you’re at ease with a person’s touch whether a hand shake, hug, or during intimacy.
Negative Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
- a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or increased stomach acid which may prompt an unpalatable deja-vu
- your skin starts crawling, you’re jumpy, instinctively withdraw if touched
- shoulder muscles are in knots, chest area or throat constricts; you notice aggravated aches or pains
- the hair on the back of your neck creepily stands on end
- a sense of malaise, darkness, pressure, agitation, or being drained
Learning to listen to ourselves is a wonderful first step in switching on. Over time and with practice, we become comfortable with trusting our intuition, and begin to make better, healthier decisions. We stop allowing the world at large to negatively influence us, to make us feel bad about who we are. We become able to accept criticism, recognizing that it’s merely someone else’s self image being projected onto us. We become more confident. We learn to weed out those people and things that are no longer useful on our journey to trusting ourselves. When we no longer pay attention to unnecessary distractions, it frees us up to hear that inner voice we embody, that same inner voice that never led us astray as children, and which we must retrain ourselves to trust as adults. When we no longer pay attention to unnecessary distractions, we learn to truly see the world around us, its natural beauty, its power in our lives.
Why not switch on right now?