As we get closer to the publication date of my new book The Daily Flame: 365 Love Letters From Your Inner Pilot Light, I’ll be releasing a series of blogs intended to help you connect to this source of divinity within each of us. In “What Is Your Inner Pilot Light,” I shared with you just a bit of what’s possible when you shift your center of gravity toward a life led by your Inner Pilot Light. Now I’d like to guide you through understanding what interferes with most people’s connections to this reliable, trustworthy inner guidance system, which we all have, but which you may have trouble sensing or interpreting.
First, let’s talk about how we make decisions. Like most people, I used to rely on my intellect and my desire to make all of life’s decisions, making rational, measured, logic-informed, preference-based choices about everything from career decisions to parenting issues to which car to buy to who to date and marry or even what to order off a menu. In my attempts to make a “good decision,” I would weigh my options, calculate pros and cons, measure out possible worst-case scenarios, attune to what I wanted and didn’t want, consider the impact of my choices on my loved ones, and generally orient toward avoiding regret at all costs. The goal was to ward off danger, play it safe, please others without violating myself, avoid triggering anyone, and behave like a mature, responsible adult who can generally be trusted.
Sounds good, right? But let’s unpack this a bit. First, let’s take a look at how the mind operates and what it hopes to do for you. The mind is quite proud of itself and wants you to believe it can lead your life best. The things you want beckon for you, cooperating with your mind and convincing you that your mind knows best how to get you what you want and avoid what you don’t want. As Michael Singer suggests in his book An Untethered Soul, it’s as if you said to your mind, “Mind, get me everything I want and avoid everything I don’t want.” And your mind said, “Cool! I’m on it. I’ll think about it 24/7.” And you haven’t had a break from your busy thoughts ever since.
This is what minds do! It’s the mind’s job to do this and thank God for your intellect. When it comes time to solve scientific puzzles or do your taxes, your mind is exactly what you need. But when it comes to helping you live a life of whole health, inner peace, meaning, purpose, trust, fulfillment, creativity, intimacy, service, and love, your mind can interfere with what is most aligned with your highest good.
The Limits Of Living A Mind-Led Life
Our minds are a beautiful resource, full of gifts worth cultivating and appreciating, full of playful puzzles and intellectual sandboxes worth digging in! But when it comes to navigating life’s many decisions, it’s critical to understand the benefits and limitations of how the mind operates and what it can and can’t do well.
Think about how you educate your intellect. Your mind learns and adjusts to what it’s learned, which is great when it comes to science class and even when it comes to learning how to discern who you can trust or how to avoid unnecessary drama. The limitation of this way of learning is that you’re not necessarily responding to what’s real in the present moment, based on the authentic truth and guidance of what I call “your Inner Pilot Light.” You’re operating from a series of learned beliefs and behaviors, regulated by protector parts in your psyche whose sole goal is to try to keep you safe. These parts usually come online as the result of trauma, which kicks the mind into gear in a valid attempt to avoid future trauma. So, we spend our whole life pursuing what we learn rather than who we are.
The problem is that if your protector parts are making your decisions, you’re not tuned into your true, authentic intuition in the moment. Instead, you’ve been hijacked by protector parts who don’t trust that your Inner Pilot Light can keep you far safer than any part that developed as the result of trauma (and is often stuck in the past, trying to ward off danger).
The Mind Learns To Want What Society Teaches, Not What Your Heart Yearns For
The mind is vulnerable to all the conditioning of our traumatized culture, which is born out of the story that we’re separate from each other, separate from nature, separate from God/Goddess, separate from love. We are born with our connection to our Inner Pilot Lights intact, which is our birthright. But because most of us are not supported in maintaining this connection and we get traumatized into disconnection, we tend to get sidetracked by what the mind learns from our family upbringing and our societal programming. For example, if you were raised by intellectuals or atheists, your conditioning most likely taught your mind to aim for what your parents or your culture values—intellectual achievement, pride-enhancing ambitions, contributions to science, money, status, fame, sex, beauty, worldly power, security, luxury. But these are not usually the true yearnings of our Inner Pilot Lights, and as such, the fixation with fulfilling these desires leaves us feeling unfulfilled, even if we achieve everything our sweet little minds think will make us happy.
If you were raised in an organized religion, you may have been programmed to give until you’re depleted, martyring yourself in the name of service to others so you can earn your ticket to a desirable afterlife. Or maybe you’ve been conditioned to tolerate abuse in the name of forgiveness or cut people far too much slack because you’ve had your healthy anger demonized. Perhaps you even have “post-traumatic church syndrome” as a result of the way organized religions try to control believers with ideas like God as a scary male judge in the sky, ready to sentence you to hell if you step off the church’s definition of the “straight and narrow.” While the esoteric branches of all the religions support the concept of inner divinity, rarely are those who are raised in mainstream religious institutions given permission, much less support, in following your inner compass rather than the outer dogma of the religion.
Only when you heal your trauma and reconnect to this inner compass can you truly align with your true desires, your aligned purpose, your optimal physical and mental health, and your capacity to truly love. When you reconnect to your Inner Pilot Light, you do not need to rely on what your mind has learned. Instead, you can make decisions in the moment based on what is aligned with the path of greatest flow right in this present moment.
Your Inner Pilot Light listens to the mind, but it is not controlled by it. Your mind learns from experience, especially painful experiences, and creates an operating system intended to keep you from feeling more pain. It valiantly (and very sweetly) tries to figure out the world, navigating the world from what it learns. But this creates an inner security system, as if you’re protecting yourself from a world full of threat. The older you get, the more traumas you collect, which causes you to put up more walls, erect more protections, and try even harder to prevent pain and avoid further damage.
Your Inner Pilot Light Is Your Ultimate Safety
The protective parts that develop in your psyche as the result of trauma do not understand that your Inner Pilot Light is the ultimate protection! They try to convince you that your Inner Pilot Light cannot be trusted. They don’t even believe you have an Inner Pilot Light—and they definitely don’t want you to catch on that you do because they want to keep driving the bus you call “YOU.”
It can be very confusing inside your busy mind, which is why it’s hard to even get enough space between you and your thoughts to even consider that you might have another operating system by which you can orient your life and access safe, aligned, trustworthy decisions. In order to find this space, your inner children and protector parts need you to love them up, so they can relax and just be little inner children, trusting that you’ve got this and allowing your Inner Pilot Light to take over the hard jobs they’ve been doing just trying to keep you safe.
Beyond Your Mind’s Limitations
The good news is that, when your protector parts start to relax and give you some space, your Inner Pilot Light has the 411 on what’s aligned for a deeply fulfilling, optimally healthy, meaningful life of connection, purpose, and whole health. Your Inner Pilot Light is not vulnerable to borrowed dreams, conditioned fixations, and hijacked ambitions. Your Inner Pilot Light is not limited by the edges of your conditioning. Quite to the contrary, the capacity for your Inner Pilot Light to support what might seem like miraculous outcomes in your life is limitless. Although your Inner Pilot Light is willing to accept things like fame, money, impact, status, sex, or beauty as a side effect of living in alignment with your true north, this is not the goal. Your Inner Pilot Light has its own compass, its own yearnings, its own vision, its own unique expression of life purpose, its own creative impulses that play with co-creation in a way the mind cannot fathom!
You might find that you feel some resistance as you read this. That’s totally normal. No need to resist your resistance. It makes total sense that your intellect and your desires/aversions are in cahoots and they might resist the idea of an Inner Pilot Light that might potentially override their agendas. After all, these parts want to drive the bus of what you call “YOU.” They totally mean well! But what they really don’t want is for you to wake up to a realization that your mind and your desires and all your parts are not You. YOU are the part that is not a part. You are what is watching your mind thinking and your desires craving and your parts trying to keep you safe. YOU are the compassionate, calm, co-creative, courageous, wise consciousness witnessing your thoughts and noticing your desires and aversions. YOU are what Richard Schwartz, PhD, founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS) calls the Self, or what some might call the Soul.
There . . . can you feel that? Now you have just a wee bit of space as the witness of your intellect and your desires.
Making The Shift When The Time Is Right
If you’ve been making solely mind-based decisions, this is fine. There is nothing wrong with this way of orienting towards life. It’s quite mainstream and culturally validated to make choices in this way, and most people don’t even know there’s another way. But there is . . . if you’re ready to shift your operating system.
You won’t be ready to make this shift until the time is right. When you’re ripe for it, assistance in making this shift is likely to find its way to you synchronistically. There’s no need to beat yourself up if this blog finds you and you’re not ready yet. Seeds get planted, but they don’t blossom until the conditions are just right.
But if you sense that you’re on that cusp of transformation, ready for a new kind of operating system, I’ve created a variety of resources to help support your transition.
- Sign up for the Daily Flame emails at InnerPilotLight.com (and feel free to invite your friends and family so they can help support your transition and facilitate their own).
- Pay attention to the next few blogs I’ll be publishing, which will offer some simple steps to support your journey. (If you’re not already on the mailing list for my blog, sign up here to make sure you don’t miss them.)
- Preorder The Daily Flame book and get free goodies if you order before February 12. If you preorder 3 books, you’ll just the comprehensive program I just created Connect To Your Inner Pilot Light at no extra cost. Preorder here.
- Listen to the audio program Your Inner Pilot Light, which I created with Sounds True founder Tami Simon.
May you be a finder, not a seeker. And remember, your Inner Pilot Light is seeking you with far more steadfastness than you are seeking it. What you seek is already within you, closer than close.
Trusting your journey,
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