I have often been asked in my role as a consultant, “How do I know when I can trust my thinking? How do I know when I am having my best quality thinking? Is there a way to tell when my wisdom is guiding me?”
Not too long ago I thought I had a good answer to these questions. I would tell people to listen to their feelings. A positive feeling would always guide us in the best direction. More recently, I had a deeper insight.
The great gift that the discovery of the 3 principles gives the world is that they point us inward to the source. Not just the source of our experience but the source of everything. The principles make clear, once and for all, that nothing “outside” can cause us to feel anything. There is nothing outside. This fact seems quite visible at times to everyone and invisible at times to everyone, including me.
Women, because of our conditioning, take great pleasure in being nurturing, compassionate, and giving of ourselves. It’s almost like it comes naturally to us. The snarl happens when we get “outside-in” about this, when we mistakenly think our good feeling comes from doing things for others, being nurturing, etc. rather than from our thinking. We can then fall into the trap of feeling good about doing for others, not for the joy of it but because it makes us feel good about ourselves. The quality of our thinking won’t necessarily warn us here because our thinking will be positive and of good quality.
I saw other exceptions as well. I realized that there are relentlessly positive people who have to see things in a good light all the time. Their positive feelings may not let them in on the fact that they are outside-in about their positivity. Then there are the people who tend toward self-centered-ness. As long as they are thinking about themselves, they may feel good. Again, this is not necessarily high quality thinking but it might look like it is because it’s positive.
So what do our feelings tell us? Well, they tell us what we are thinking in the moment, not just what we are thinking about, but what we are actually thinking. Whatever that thought is, a feeling will be generated. When we see this simple fact there is nothing to do, nothing to change. We see the source of it all and the “reality” of it comes and goes with the thought.
On the other hand, sometimes we are informed by our feelings. When we get that “sense” we should do something or not do something for example. This feeling comes from thought too, but a different order of thought, an impersonal, instinctive place over which we have no control or say. The “out of the blue” place people talk about. I think this is different from using feelings to guide us with our more personal, habitual thinking.
Ultimately, the powerful distinction to see is that it’s all inside-out, it may not look that way, it may not feel that way, but it is. And inside is where the wisdom, intelligence, and new thinking lie. To realize this as a woman leader, would be powerful, a game changer.