(Originally Appeared on Huffington Post in May 2012)
Being able to get to your geographical destination easily and quickly depends on navigation skills and traffic. Attaining life goals is more complicated. Outcomes are often vague, like being rich and happily married, which is hardly as precise as getting to Marv's Deli in Brooklyn by 7 p.m. on Thursday night.
Some life destinations turn out to be more satisfying than others. Remember times when you got what you wanted, only to be disappointed and unfulfilled? Likewise, you've enjoyed the opposite -- soul level contentment that resulted from actualizing your core intentions. What makes the difference?
All of us have an inner guidance system, what we like to call our I.G.S. It's tuned to a source frequency that broadcasts 24/7 to every living form. This source frequency is known by many names -- some of which are religiously incorrect -- and it effortlessly moves the tides, prevents planets from colliding, and keeps our hair growing (albeit sometimes in the wrong places). When we know how to tune in to source guidance and follow it, we live in harmony with everything else that uses the same navigational system.
Our egos don't. In fact, they thrive on separation from source and have their own substitute system entirely preoccupied with winning, wealth, security, and fame. They have no interest in something as impractical sounding as "source awareness." In fact, our egos have made it their life work to over ride our I.N.S. and divert us into tangential flight paths that lead to collisions and conflict, but there are easily-detected warning signs. How do we recognize them? By cultivating source awareness so we can recognize the difference.
Source awareness is really self-awareness, in the truest sense, since ultimately there is no separation between self and source. And "source" is not mysterious. We're really just talking about the causative level of our experience, which can also be called "evolving self-awareness" or, even more simply, wakefulness. When we are wakeful and pay attention to our inner essence, we can orchestrate a shift from ego-driven to soul-driven navigation. Amazing things start to happen. Now we're going with the flow: previously-rare "synchronicities" become commonplace and conflict diminishes.
Back to those warning signs, here's a few of them you'll probably recognize:
1. Fear. There's a place for fear (like reacting instinctively to an armed assailant), but not in the drivers seat. Fear doesn't need to automatically motivate your behavior when it's inappropriate. The majority of what you fear is imaginary anyway, like worrying about a cold turning out to be cancer. Here's an easy way to deal with fear before it misguides you: stop (interrupt an unconscious reaction), look (assess what's really happening) and listen (tune in for source guidance).
2. Scarcity thinking. You can't be fighting for your piece of the pie and baking a bigger pie at the same time. Remember that the universe is expanding... and so is your evolutionary potential. Sure, this economy challenges that new age belief in universal abundance, but your true wealth is invested well beyond Wall Street. The richness of being who you are always trumps the bragging rights about what you have. That's proven every time someone breathes their last, recalling the love they shared with family and friends, never gloating over how much money they made.
3. Judgment. Nothing needs to be fixed. Of course, you want the world to work for everyone, all children to be safe and well-fed, and your team to win. But a truly better world arises as a reflection of source qualities -- causative forces like kindness, compassion, and generosity -- not from clever ego strategies based in illusory judgment. Those positive, causative qualities must be focused through what you actually do, not just what you think about. And those well-meaning actions that the ego organizes, like saving the world, devoid of those qualities? Well, remember what they say about the road to hell being paved with... right, good intentions!
4. Busyness. Being crazy-busy is nothing to be proud of. It's another warning sign that the ego is at the helm and trying to run your life on its own. If source intelligence can coordinate the orbits of billions of stars, manage the regeneration of trillions of cells in trillions of organisms, plus find you a parking place when you're running late -- all at the same time and without breaking a sweat or using a Blackberry -- it's safe to relax. Breathe. Enjoy the moment and just flow. Everything else already is, except desperate human egos, flailing away in separation.
Your GPS won't work without a power source and neither will your I.G.S. Your GPS needs electricity; an I.G.S. needs life force. You can feel that energy whenever you meditate, so that's a good idea. But you can't meditate all day long, so take regular time outs to develop the experience of being consistently present, more fully alive and enjoying where you are in each moment.
Life is a journey not a destination, and making sure that your I.G.S. is steering your GPS will keep you on track, expanding genuine happiness while fulfilling your soul's core intentions, not just shuttling you efficiently from one location to another. All of us are here to grow anyway, to better ourselves, not just to make really good time in the wrong direction.
(Originally Appeared on Huffington Post in May 2012)