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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Our Inner Voice

The path is the goal. —Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Today we are bombarded with self-serving and superficial messages from a multitude of often conflicting directions, telling us how to live our lives. Divorced from our own inner voice, our own wisdom, we are easily swayed. We also look to external authorities" - from teachers to doctors to media advertising to popular songs - to comprehend and assign meaning to our lives.

Some of these authorities have a track record. Great wisdom teachings have endured throughout the ages and can be found at the core of most religious and philosophical traditions. Women and men of eminent knowledge and love have spoken about and taught these great truths to their tribes, their followers, their families, for countless generations. Today, we have immediate access to much of this wisdom through books, videos, practitioners of all sorts, and groups of all types. Tremendous help and guidance is available to us if and when we seek it. Yet, ultimately, each of us, individually, must face those questions that have formed the basis of philosophy and spirituality throughout the ages.

It is only by looking inward, past and through the multitude of voices that surround us, and growing quiet enough within ourselves, that we can hear, with our heart, what is true for us. Many people today are seeking to connect with their own inner wisdom through meditation, vision quests, retreats. We can also cultivate our ability to listen by simply taking time alone to do something that brings us closer to nature, to our own inner spirit - gardening, walking in the woods, relaxing in the park, or even settling reflectively into a welcoming corner of a coffee shop. As we talk about hearing a voice of wisdom from within, or listening with our heart, it is easy to misinterpret what this experience may be. Actually, many people report that the voice they hear is more of a sense of something. They feel "aligned with God," or "in tune with the universe," or "moving in the flow." The words used are sometimes off-putting, but the experience they point to is undeniable for those who have it. If this type of self-exploration is attractive to you, be patient in allowing your wisdom to bubble up, be heard, or express itself in a way that you may not be able to anticipate or describe. Getting quiet may take more time than you might hope or initially have planned. Keep an open heart and mind, experiment, ask for guidance as you feel the need for it. The process of such opening to wisdom is an expression of wisdom itself.

At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm. A complex of waveforms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe. —George Leonard, The Silent Pulse

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This area consists of text from Wellness for Helping Professionals, by John W. Travis, MD, and Meryn Callander. more...
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