Have you ever been in a situation where the facts added up, the agreement made sense, it all looked right, you were nodding your head, and yet you had a thought or a fleeting feeling telling you this was not the way to go? And you said yes anyway because the information—as processed through the intellect—was louder than your inner voice? And you kicked yourself later when your intuition proved to be correct?
We’ve all been there. To keep from going there again, we need to develop a stronger relationship with our inner voice so that when it speaks, we acknowledge it and follow its guidance. Usually we hear it, then minimize, dismiss, ignore, or talk ourselves out of it.
Yogi Bhajan said, “The greatest tool you have in your life is to listen. Why? If you listen, you will listen sensitively. And you will be shocked how fast you will become intuitive.”
Japji Sahib, the 38 pauri (stanza) morning prayer composed by Guru Nanak, includes four pauris that describe the powerful effects of deep listening to the sound of the soul. These pauris teach us to listen to the sound current of our own divinity. Yogis call this sunia. Guru Nanak says that by listening deeply, even the blind find their way.
Every person has inner guidance available to them and a choice to listen and live with its support. The inner voice is the voice from the soul. It is our guide and guardian. When we allow it, permit it to lead us, say yes to it, consciously agree to it and trust it, life is joyful and with ease. Otherwise we are handicapped and life becomes a hassle.
How does this work? The frequency of our divinity—our soul—influences the quality of thought. With each breath the mind has the opportunity to consolidate that frequency. When we practice mantra, its sound modulates the breath so our mind has sufficient prana (life force) to carry our own divine frequency. When our thoughts and feelings resonate with the soul, conflicting thoughts and emotions are quieted and we can sense the guidance of intuition that is always present.
Yogi Bhajan once spoke about the relationship between the neutral mind and intuition, or inner guidance. He explained that the neutral mind has its own mantra: “Guide me to the Lord, my Lord.” Right now, take a moment to slow your breath. Repeat these words for three minutes. When you are done, notice the quality of your thoughts and how you feel. Let this practice become a habit.
Each day my work brings me face to face with people who are forced by difficult circumstances to call upon their inner guidance. Following are examples of how two different people—names and identifying information have been changed—went about it.
Carol felt she did not have enough vitality to undergo the treatment her oncologist prescribed for metastatic breast cancer. She was worried that the treatment would make her too exhausted to recover. She spoke with her oncologist who told her he was covering his bases; that the treatment was necessary but not urgent. She postponed the procedure and asked friends to gather each week to practice healing meditations for her and friends who lived far away to pray daily for her recovery.
“I was not against the doc’s advice. When I got quiet about it, I recognized that I just needed to be stronger to do it. Listening to my intuition was the best thing I did in the two years I fought cancer. There was always one decision or another to make and a lot of conflicting information came my way. Learning to be still and let my guidance work was the right path for me.” When the time came for treatment, Carol had minimal side effects and recovered fully.
There are times when we don’t have a clue—no inner voice, no guidance, no clear confident knowing—just the roar of conflicting thoughts; times when we would really appreciate some input. These are the times to sit and actively meditate. Yes, actively. Sometimes we need to move before we can be still; sometimes we need to make sound before we can be silent enough to listen and hear. Practice Breathwalk (traditionally taught as charn jaap), or a kriya or meditation that includes elements other than sitting still.
Phillip was told by a pediatric cardiologist that his eight year old daughter, Rebecca, had a heart condition that required surgery. This type of surgery has considerable risks and Phillip and his wife wrestled with the decision. His yoga teacher recommended he practice the Meditation for Guidance. He began to practice this meditation regularly, whenever he had a question that needed answering.
Philip had a strong sense that his daughter would not survive the surgery and that there were options he was not yet aware of. He then pursued second and third and fourth opinions. Finally, he took his little girl to a physician in a larger city who told him the child had been misdiagnosed. Instead of a heart condition, Rebecca had a chemical imbalance in her blood that made her heart function abnormally. All that was required were mineral supplements and Rebecca recovered. Phillip was so affected by this experience with meditation he became a Kundalini Yoga teacher!
We tend to consult our inner wisdom when we are facing Big Questions, have a weighty decision to make, or a major conflict to resolve. Yet our inner guidance is available all the time, for the smallest of actions, even when we don’t directly ask for it. Ahhhh, if only we would listen...
Recently I was heading into a meeting when the phone rang. Notebook, pen, meeting minutes, and handouts cradled in my left hand, cup of Yogi Tea in the right. Looking around I saw a place to put the cup: next to the door I was heading out of was a narrow platform that hovered over the office printer. Just as the cup met the platform, my inner voice said, “Not safe; the tea can spill onto the printer.” The surface was flat. I thought, “How risky can it be?” I was in a hurry and this was convenient. So I left it there and picked up the phone. Within two seconds a co-worker swooshed through the door and the vibration jiggled the cup and the tea spilled onto the printer, just as my intuition said it could. Hurry and reason overcame the message and now I had to clean up the mess.
A spilled cup of Yogi Tea, no biggie. Yet how much easier to just listen and obey?
Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D., is director of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine & Humanology, a non-profit organization providing Kundalini Yoga to persons with chronic or life-threatening illness, continuing education to licensed health professionals, and research on the medical effects of Kundalini Yoga. A charter member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, she lectures widely on the behavioral, psychological, and spiritual aspects of getting and staying well. Email [email protected], or visit www.grdcenter.org.
Meditation for Guidance
At times when the path of truth and clarity seems lost, calm yourself and still your mind, then the path will come to you. To live life according to the guidance of the inner truth is essential. If you do not, you will have doubts. If doubts are not removed, then frustration comes in. Frustration, when not released, leads to anger. Anger then leads to destructive action either to theself, others, or both. To stop this vicious cycle, create the habit to still the mind and ask questions of your own higher consciousness. This meditation can develop that capacity and strengthen your mental direction.
Posture: Sit with a straight spine in Easy Pose or Lotus Pose. Make the hands into a cup with the palms facing up. Leave a fish-like hole between the sides of the little fingers. Bow the head forward over the palms.
Eyes: Look into the palms with the eyes almost closed.
Breath: Inhale in 10 parts. Mentally chant the mantra Waho with each part. Exhale in 10 parts mentally chanting the mantra Guru with each part. Continue for 11 minutes. To end, inhale and exhale powerfully and relax.
Remain in Easy Pose or Lotus Pose with a straight spine. Chant Waho aloud 8 times and then chant Guru aloud 8 times, both in a monotone:
Waho Waho Waho Waho Waho Waho Waho Waho
Guru Guru Guru Guru Guru Guru Guru Guru
Time:Continue for 5 to 11 minutes.
Originally taught on May 27, 1974
© 1974 The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
 The first of the ten Sikh Gurus, a saint and minstrel, and the founder of the Sikh lifestyle
 A Breathwalk audio program is available through www.spiritvoyage.com