Doing Good: How to Make Right Decisions
I want to become more true to myself. Enoco, 10, m, Japan
How do I know when I make the right decision? Kelly, 11, f, California
The secret to getting answers is to ask questions. To get answers to our questions, we need to access our inner guidance. In Listening, author Lee Coit describes the ego voice as more rapid, busy and fearful than the inner guide that is calm and friendly. To access the guide, he suggests take time for daily devotion; have no preconceived idea about the answer to your question; be patient and know that it can show up in songs, books, in conversations with friends, etc. The right answer is accompanied by a warm glow; it flows without a sense of pressure, and with the ease of serendipity or synchronicity (when two seemingly unrelated events happen at the same time, as when you think of a friend as he or she calls you).
Here is a guided visualization or daydream to contact your higher intuition. It’s on my meditation CD, or tape your voice and listen or have a friend read it to you. Imagine looking at a window into a mountain meadow. Step out into it. As you stroll down the path, notice the wild flowers at your feet, the blue sky above, and feel the warm sun on your shoulders. Inhale the forest air. Stroll to the stream you see ahead of you in the meadow.
Find a pool in the stream and adjust the temperature of the water the way you like it; sit on a flat rock with your back leaning into a waterfall. Ask your body what temperature and color water it would like and bathe it with the rush of water and fragrant tropical flowers down your shoulders. See if the colors change as your body absorbs them. Any worries can be dropped into boats beside you to float down the stream. Look in the sand at your feet, admiring gemstones shimmering in the light, and reach down for a jewel to take with you to remind you to stay peaceful.
When you’re ready, look to the right towards the woods. Notice a figure stepping out on the path. This is your symbol of your higher self, your inner guidance. As it gets closer, feel the love and acceptance radiating towards you. See how you’ve chosen to portray your higher self. Examples of my U.S. workshop students’ images are a knight in armor, a Native American warrior, John Lennon, a figure with many arms, an old man with a gray beard, and a wise woman. My Japanese workshop participants saw a huge sea animal, a dolphin, an older man, a green light, and so on.
As you get closer, notice a scroll that your guide gives you to read. It’s a reminder of something you already know. What’s the message? Ask questions and listen for answers. Return your awareness back to your room and to your body, stretching and wiggling it. Other ways people use to access their inner wisdom are prayer, prayer beads, meditation, chanting, singing, and dancing (like Sufi dancers).
What is the biggest mistake a kid can make? Kristen, f, 15, Florida
To let peers or the media pressure you into making decisions that violate your values. Listen to your inner voice, although it’s wise to consult with wise adults to benefit from their experience. Shehroz says, In Pakistan and I guess in almost all nations and cultures, adults are a symbol of wisdom. Yet the youth fail to realize that they are a great source of wisdom to help them and seldom utilize their wisdom and experience. Youth would rather listen to what TV says than what our elders say.
How can I tell if I’m living life right? Collie, f, 16, New York
If you feel calm, centered, happy, and proud of yourself. It’s important to define your beliefs and goals and then stick to what is right for you. Life is like a wave that ebbs and flows in, has ups and downs, so sometimes we feel dissatisfied and unhappy and then we get back on track. Growth can be uncomfortable, like a growth spurt in adolescence, but it’s worth it to gain in stature. “I always say this to my friends: every trouble is a teacher,” adds Shehroz.
What’s a rule of thumb that applies to almost everything in life?
Zhanibek, 17, m, Kazakhstan
The Golden Rule, do to others as you would have them do to you. Know that there are consequences to everything you do.
Everyone says that lying is a bad thing, but sometimes we have to lie for someone’s good. Is it wrong? Prashant, 17, m, India
The highest good should prevail. If someone asked me, “Do I look ugly in this outfit,” and I thought he or she did look bad, I wouldn’t agree outright, but say, “I think you can find an outfit that looks better on you.” If someone says, “Do you dislike me,” I’d say, “I dislike that particular behavior where you talked about me behind my back,” but I appreciate that you’re such a good artist.”
How do you face difficulties in your life? Chu Fang, 19, f, China
Agreement 1: Be impeccable with your word: Speak with integrity.
Agreement 2: Don’t take anything personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
Agreement 3: Don’t make assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Agreement 4: Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Nigerian Chief Iwowarri Berian James emailed me in reply to a question about his family’s childrearing practices to maintain values. He’s the father of five boys and one girl:
As to how the children are being helped to cope with the challenges of materialism, I will say that parents are also on the edge on this and therefore have not been able to do much in spite of much efforts. For families that have deep religious background like mine, we have focused the children on the path of salvation and have used that as a base for character molding and an effective deterrent. The school system and extended family system has helped also to a point. But ultimately the solution is in letting the children know about personal responsibility for actions that do not further their spiritual wellbeing. In letting the children know about the purpose of our existence in this creation and how we must obey the natural laws that govern creation if we are to achieve this purpose for which we are here. I am an adherent of The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin. I use its teachings as basis for educating my children about life and it has been giving me results.