By Ischa Lea
Many years ago, I took a short leave from my job to explore the Tampa, Florida area. I was very excited at the possibility of moving from New Jersey to a warmer climate. More importantly, I wanted to live closer to friends and relatives. Having listened to its praises from people living there, Tampa seemed very promising, but I did some research on my own and proceeded to fly out there to see for myself.
Very excited about relocating, I returned to New Jersey and prayed about the idea. I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of discomfort. Anxiety suddenly replaced excitement. Gone was the heightened euphoria of just hours before! I knew then, without a doubt, that my intuitive spirit, my true Self, was guiding me to make the best choice. Its direction was the polar opposite of what my own research, knowledge and reasoning had dictated: a support structure awaiting me in Florida, possibilities of good employment, and fine weather.
Had I gone against my true Self’s direction, listened to my ego/mind’s promptings and relocated, I would have forfeited two golden opportunities–that of meeting my incredible spiritual teacher and later on meeting my beloved life partner and best friend. My ego/mind had guided me toward the fulfillment of a great desire, but my pure Self had guided me toward a great destiny! I was reminded of the words of Joseph Smith, Jr.: “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayers, and obtain divine teaching.”
Every sincere spiritual seeker has asked at one time or another: “How do I know if it’s my pure Self speaking to me or my ego/mind?” To ask this question regularly is to truly step into humility. To me, humility means allowing my heart to open itself to receiving divine wisdom, truth, and guidance directly from the One Source of all, and the life within. Humility is hardly a mark of weakness; rather, it is the greatest expression of strength there is, for to step into humility is to step into wisdom.
To ask whether the pure Self is speaking indicates one is on the right track to receiving clarity. When the pure Self speaks or directs us to do something, it often feels liberating. It also often beckons us to stretch our comfort zone. As we’re well aware, the ego/mind loves for us to stay in our comfort zone for that’s the easy way. The pure Self, on the other hand, pushes us beyond preconceived ideas and desires into what’s truly better for the present and the future.
The pure Self’s prompting is inspirational. It wants us to take action, and our need/desire then becomes a blessing, a gift, and not a chore. There’s a sense of true fulfillment when one accomplishes an inspired task, especially when it pushes one beyond a perceived limit. Spirit wants us to grow, expand, and express ourselves through living in our full God-given potential. We can use our individual gifts to be all that we can be, and support all others to equally express their unique talents and gifts to their fullest.
Listening to my pure Self has led me to living a life filled with meaningful experiences, personal growth and learning, great joy, real friends, and unlimited possibilities. I’ve learned that the truest barometer of spiritual awakening is how well and how much we express virtue in our daily lives. It is the surest yardstick by which to measure just how much closer we may be getting to the goal of Self-Realization. We don’t have to think about virtue so much, but simply experience the depth of joy that results.
Each of us is here to experience and express fully the beautiful spark of the Divine that we are, to live Heaven on Earth. How can we possibly do that unless we listen for divine guidance, the fount of all wisdom and true knowledge?
Some of the qualities of decisions guided by the pure Self are: Inclusion of others, willing action, good intentions toward that which enriches not just a few but everyone. It helps us to respectfully allow others to do the same, following their own inner guidance.
Love is the gateway to receiving the pure Self’s direction. Love becomes the axis on which our thoughts, words, actions and decisions revolve. To love our Creator is easy; to love each other, wholly respect and support each other, wanting the best for one another, can be much harder.
Each day, let us be able to say: “Thank you, God, for having guided me to do all that which is pleasing to you and thus good for all with whom I share a common bond and responsibility. And thank you for letting me see your divine spark in all of your children.”
Self-realization is yoga or “oneness” with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul.
– Paramhansa Yogananda.