Where to find my inner guide?

Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

Someone asked me this particular question. The first thing is to make a distinction between the judgements that we usually make and an inner guide.

When we are faced with important decisions, we would like to rely on the kind of guide who would help us to make the best possible decision. Normally what runs through our mind in these cases is the small inner voice that says that this is fine or that you should not do that.

But that is not an inner guide, it is what we always do.

From earliest childhood we are brought up within a social, family and educational framework where we are given indications about how we should behave, about what is good and bad. Rules that we internalise without questioning them.
However, all of this is something we have learnt, and is related to local traditions and a moment in history. All of these things are the norms (moral and ethical) of a society in a given moment. Just think, if you had been born in a different place and a different time, the rules would be different. So, if these norms are based on time and space, we need to understand what came before, so that we can then find a guide that is more universal and timeless.

Many norms that we learn do no more than create a loud internal noise based on thoughts, feelings and impulses that contradict each other creating conflicts.

The moral rules that we have been influenced by tend to colour our judgement and we often end up in an intellectual exercise about what suits us and this is also mixed up with our own fears, beliefs and expectations about ourselves and others. Without paying attention to all of this we cannot make decisions that are consistent and give us in peace, since our inner guide is drowned out by all of this noise.

We need to learn to observe, to release these shackles and wait in silence without expecting anything. To question the validity of this noise seriously, based on our experience, and thus to silence it.

This prescription is simple, but the difficulty is that we are convinced that the noise is our only possible reality.

However, it is in the inner silence, in the silence of our thoughts, of our received judgements, that we can ask honest questions, without words, and observe what emerges, separating the wheat from the chaff and hoping, without anxiety, that a new, consistent, creative response will be produced.

For those who are interested in this, I suggest that you start by paying attention to what happens inside you, particularly to your inner noise, before seeking anything else. Before making bread you need to knead dough. So, learn to knead first as, it seems to me, that the rest will follow as a natural consequence of personal, regular and honest labour.