You Are Your Only Guide
When life becomes difficult, our minds become confused and unclear, uncomfortable and even terrified, and we seek some guidance, some answers to our questions about what is happening, why it is happening, and what we can do to ease our turmoil. This happens to us during the most extreme of circumstances when we’re feeling tortured and despairing, but it also happens to us during the calmness of day-to-day existence when we want a more authentic, fulfilling, meaningful life, and we want some guidance on how to get there.
When we are searching for this guidance, these answers, we turn to many sources. Most often we turn to religion, self-help or spiritual gurus, a club or cult, or adopt a belief system. There are endless other alternatives, such as seeking the counsel of friends, professional counselors, horoscopes, books, doctors, joining a gang or an interest group. We’ll look anywhere when some situation or state of being in our lives is powerful enough to force us to… seek. To ask.
Many of us settle, all too often, either with the first one we find, or the one that others around us recommend, or even the one that tries to convince us they are the ‘one we need’. We take what we can get, guidance-wise, for many reasons, especially if we are desperate, don’t know where to turn, if our local options are limited, or even from lack of energy and patience simply because we don’t feel we have the time to suss out so many options. Sometimes the one we choose is just handy, or sometimes it’s even serendipitous, where the timing seems perfect. Sometimes that source we turn to seems right, helpful, true and wonderful, and sometimes it feels wrong, against our nature, doesn’t feel like it answers our deep need, perhaps it even makes our lives more closed and unhealthy. Sometimes we are simply in such unknown areas, uncharted territory of new things happening to us, that we do not know enough about ‘all this stuff’ to be able to find, pick, choose what is best.
Many guides, be they people or the systems people create, strive for the most basic essence of universal truths, truths so close to the marrow of the human soul that they are able to intimately help any person, anywhere, who wants them. Others simply strive to outline a guide to a happy and virtuous life. Some guides are wolves in sheep’s clothing and put forth a facade of being the answers to your life, and instead they are narrow attempts to control you, have power over you for their bidding. They overcome you with the force of their personality, or the force of their conviction, or even by the force of making you very afraid to NOT become a follower to them for their guidance.
But no matter how huge or humble, how good or bad, how helpful or toxic ANY guidance system seems, no matter how much they seem to help others and you, they cannot compare to your own guidance.
There is no system on earth that comes anywhere close to perfection as a guide for you… except the one inside yourself. Even the best guides and systems have one major fault: they are not created by you. Your life is unique; your body is put together in a way no other body in the world is, your thoughts, experiences, learnings and memories are a combination that is unique only to you. Even the clearest essence of universal truths that apply to all beings, are still found and understood a little differently by each of us.
The most helpful, healthy religion, the clearest and most truthful ideas given to you by mentors and wise people of history and today, are still the creations of people who are NOT YOU. These people and their wisdom and systems can be absolutely wonderful and infinitely wise, and it is so easy for each of us to feel small when we are in the presence of others’ masterful words and lives. It is so easy for us to believe in those people and systems, and hand our control over to them in their apparent superior clarity. But still… they are not you. What they know, what they exemplify, however perfectly… is still not perfect for YOU.
You are your own perfect shape. You are your own perfect guide. No matter what wonder or mess your life is in, no matter how ill or healthy you are, happy or awful, there is still a part of you that has never lost touch with your own perfect essence in existence. You may feel far removed from any feeling of perfection, any feeling of having control over what you do, but that does not mean you have lost that perfection, it only means you have lost knowing how to listen to it. At any time, you can begin again to whisk aside the layers of your own blindness to it, and reacquaint yourself with that part of you that is always there, always perfect, always wisest for you, always as pure as new snow.
You are using this guide at every moment, even now. If you have a need for answers and guidance, it is only because you have not educated yourself in how to more clearly listen to yourself. Your inner guide is always supplying you with all your answers, all the guidance you need. If you are not hearing them, if you’re still afraid, weak, confused, seeking, it is only because you do not yet know how to open up to listening clearly… to YOURSELF. I will not go into this clear listening-to-yourself here, that is for another tool.
This tool is meant to show you that you ALREADY are your only guide… even when it seems like you’re not. You use your own guidance for everything, there isn’t a microscopic part of your body, thoughts or life that is excluded. It is obvious to us when we see someone who is very clearly conscious of being their own guide; they say such authentic things and rarely repeat quotes or actions of others, what they say and do seems powerful, clear, original, unpredictable, a very essence of life lived authentically. But then we see someone who is not like that; we see people who seem to have given up power, they are ‘controlled’ by their partner, their boss, their fears, their religion, their addictions, their egos, strengths and weaknesses, they seem to rarely count on their own minds, but rather for every situation they try to follow the guidelines of other people and systems. We look at them, and think they are not being their own guides, that they have given up control to others outside of them.
But this is not true. They are being their own guides just as perfectly, as powerfully and fully, as the person who seems to rely upon their own inner counsel. The difference is an illusion, it has the appearance of a difference because most of us do not understand the sameness of what is happening. Here is the sameness:
Even a person who seems to have given up their own decision making, their own sense of what is right and wrong for their minds and lives… is still making that decision. At each moment, their own inner guide is telling them exactly what they need, what they can handle, what they must seek within themselves, and what they must seek outside themselves. Even the person who cannot seem to answer a single question without quoting someone else, or their religion, still has their guide telling them that this is what they need to do, at this time.
We all have different ratios of the parts that make up our minds. Some of us rely heavily on our own thoughts, some of us rely heavily on what others send us. It is still an equal choice. This takes a long time to understand. I myself used to become so angry, especially with ardent religious followers, cult followers, group followers; talking with them was like talking to a machine that had to ‘check in with the bible’ for every answer they made, every life decision. Their minds seemed so unauthentic, so not-them, so controlled by forces outside them. But far along my own changes, I came to the realization that each choice, whether to listen to myself or to obey someone else, was still a choice that was being made one hundred percent BY ME. By them. By you.
This inner guide that is always present, keeps us alive, keeps us trying for the life we want… and trying for the life we can handle. Our inner feeling determines how much of our lives we want to be steered from making our own decisions and creating our own thoughts… and how much of our lives we don’t yet trust to ourselves, how much of our lives we would rather have in the hands of some other person or force.
This balancing of decisions and forces is unique to each person. There are some things you trust yourself entirely to walk through, and other things you do not feel you can, or should, entrust to yourself, so you give your control up on those things. The ratios swing wildly, according to how and where you were brought up, the circumstances of your life, personality, mind. And the ratios change as you age. But it is still YOU that is choosing how to balance these ratios. You will never balance them perfectly in other peoples’ eyes, and they will never balance theirs perfectly in your eyes. One of you will always think the other has too little control or clarity in some areas of life, while having the right amount in other areas. This is natural, because we are all a little or a lot different, no two people are balanced equally in their ratios.
If you seek to live by your own inner guide, your inner guide is leading you to feel this way. And if you seek to live by the guidance of other people, religions, systems and forces, your inner guide is also leading you to feel this way. It is leading you to weave your unique pattern, your personal collage of both your reliance on your own thoughts and reliance on thoughts not your own.
These decisions, these balances, are all being made by the same single essence inside you, they all arise from the same command center. At every moment, whether you seem to be guiding yourself or not, consciously and unconsciously, YOU ARE YOUR ONLY GUIDE.