Solutions to decision-making

Dear quarter lives,

As a young child, we were taught at school to follow the rules and do as told. Free-thinkers and rebellious children who feel called to act differently to the rest of the group are deemed troublesome. They are told to behave and do as told and not what they feel. They are told to stop thinking for themselves. Flash forward 10-15 years later, when these very kids enter university and the work force, and all of a sudden they are expected to make big life decisions themselves. Now, they do not have someone telling them what the “right” thing to do is. Now, they must think, feel, and decide for themselves. Sadly, now, after all these years of being trained out of thinking for themselves, they cannot. Now, we have young adults who were taught to disconnect from their natural instincts and inclinations, they were trained to distrust all the signals telling them to do what felt right to them. Now, as grown ups, they cannot decide for themselves. They are so disconnected from that internal source that used to tell them as a child what to do but it is too the very thing they were told was trouble. Now, we have young people who fear their own internal voice because they were told it was bad. No wonder so many of us are afraid to just be ourselves, because our whole lives, ourselves were deemed unacceptable if we deviated from the “norm”.

The reality of the matter is that most of us will fall outside of that box of norms because what are norms really but a random set of silently agreed upon rules and codes of conduct that are specific to a particular group of people, and what is normal somewhere might be completely unacceptable somewhere else just because that’s how the story of those people evolved, and not because there is a singular “best” or “true” version of the human being we must all aspire to become. There are endless possibilities to how a human being can be, but we have limited ourselves to only allowing a select few to express themselves. For authentic humans to exist again, we need to make room for them, not only in our minds but in our societies. We need to encourage differences, instead of condemning them. For our true voices to reveal themselves to us, they need to feel safe to come out. Until they do, they will remain hidden and so long as our voices remain hidden, we will remain hidden. So it is absolutely necessary for us to find our voices if we are to ever find our authentic selves again.

Cultivating that connection with our internal voices is definitely no easy task, but without it, I don’t see how we can ever come to peace with ourselves again. Now whenever you feel daunted by any decision you have to make, reassure yourself that it is not your fault, reassure yourself that it is perfectly normal after all those years of militarised standardised education we were subjected to as young children with very malleable minds to grow up to be adults that struggle deeply with decision-making. Remind yourself that your voice is not lost, even if you can’t hear it clearly right now, you will again someday. That is why we meditate, to cultivate enough stillness, enough silence, to be able to hear that voice we lost so long ago.

Without our own voice guiding us, we shall remain lost, we shall remain afraid, and we will always feel torn apart because we actually were. So to myself, to all the young souls searching for their voice, may you meet again with that sweet beloved you lost. Do not give up on your Self; do not let the silence scare you away. Believe me – you are already living your worst nightmare because there is no greater loss, no greater trauma than to be severed from our Selves. So find your stillness to find your voice and come to peace again.

Love+Light,

S.A.

December 6, 2020 — Sakkara, Egypt

Peace is a lifestyle choice

Dear quarter lives, 

Peace needs practice and practice makes perfect. Peace does not miraculously happen. It is a process that requires much of our attention and intention. It takes time and an enormous amount of trust in ourselves. Peace asks us to trust that it is there with us all along the way. But we never get a glimpse of it until we finally do. And because we don’t feel it until we finally feel safe enough to feel it, we think it is the prize at the end of a spiritual journey. But peace like fear is a lifestyle; one that warrants daily practice and rituals. It is not a prize handed over at the end of a marathon. So like you have your daily exercise routines to get more fit, have a daily peace routine to be more peaceful. Peace, like any other habit you would like to form, will not stay until you repeat it enough times. There are many ways to exercise peace. Meditation is an obvious one, and a magnificent one. But find your own. I would just say, let your breath be your guide, by that I mean whatever helps you stay connected to your breath, do that. Go for a walk. Play an instrument. Spend some time in your garden. Feel the grass. Lie on it. Or perhaps just sit in your balcony or by your window and watch the sky or a bird that you see fly by. Peace is basically a state of awareness that arises from the ability to rest in the moment. Peace comes when you can truly accept every given moment that arises in your life and let it happen without resistance and without trying too hard to make it happen. When you meditate, you are practicing how to rest with your breath, you are learning how to let go of trying so hard to concentrate on your breath while still maintaining a state of active attention and awareness. It is the effort and control that create tension in both our bodies and our minds, so learning how to relax is crucial to attain any sort of peace. And the best way to relax is to breathe well and breathe consciously, by consciously I mean by feeling your breath as it passes in and out of you. You will breathe anyway just as your heart keeps beating, regardless of whether you are living consciously or not. And living consciously is what brings peace, because we are no longer in a reactive state to life, we are relaxed enough to witness life happen and actively participate in it. And with such awareness comes clarity, and if we were ever confused as to what our intentions might be in any given moment, we will soon see so clearly our intentions. When we are conscious of our intentions, then comes our ability to choose them. And when we choose them, we choose how to live. The real choice we have in this life is choosing our intention. We cannot choose our intentions if we are not present to them.

If you are overwhelmed by the idea of peace or doubt its possibility, don’t be discouraged. What you’re feeling is completely natural because much of our beliefs come from experience, and if we’ve never experienced peace it’s very hard to believe it’s possible. So I would suggest you start off very simply by just making a wish or prayer expressing your desire to connect with peace and I guarantee you, your prayers will be answered, maybe not in the way you expect but be open and you will be shown the way. If the road to peace is what you would like to walk, be certain that a guide or teacher best suited for you will show up in your life and offer their teachings. And in those moments, on those crossroads, we must choose wisely, because second chances do come along but they might take another lifetime or so.

I am a source of peace and happiness.

I would like to offer this affirmation to you as a reminder of your inherent peace and joy. To stay on track with your peace practice, like with any other practice, discipline is key. If we do not make time for it, the habit of peaceful being will never form. And lastly dearest quarter lives, be wary of your expectations, your teacher might not be what you might’ve expected them to be. Our teachers are everywhere, and can be absolutely anything, even this ground you stand on. So be generous with your awareness, and begin to feel the spaces around you and within you. Sometimes what is outside right in front of us can be what best guides us inside. 

With so much love and peace,

S.A.