The Center for Common Sense Counseling

Decision Making and Finding Self Confidence

"Hello, this is Roland. Many people have a problem making decisions. We doubt ourselves, second guess ourselves, procrastinate, and then do what someone else says. We make the wrong move and then could kick ourselves. We lack self confidence and somehow have forgotten how to live spontaneously and joyfully. We are fearful and timid. What has gone wrong? In this article I talk about how re-finding your intuition, which you once had as a little child and now only know as conscience or anxiety, may be the answer to solving your issues and restoring self-confidence and joy." 


Common sense, intuition, and wisdom are the same thing. Common sense is the most basic form of wisdom or understanding. You can't learn common sense from a book. You either have it or you don't. While we all have access to intuition and could apply it in life (the application of basic intuitive wisdom is common sense), many people ignore it.


So let's start with a simple example. If I am walking down the street and I see a big deep hole in the sidewalk, there is no great decision making process necessary. I see the hole and walk around it. That is basic common sense. If I am walking and all of a sudden encounter a cliff, I turn around and don't walk off the cliff.


But some people, the intellectuals for example, might actually start to get involved in some elaborate thought process, and before you know it, something might say to them to step off the cliff to see if God will save them, and they might find themselves hypnotically drawn to the danger to toy with it and then make the wrong move.


Two children are playing at the edge of the river with their toy boats. Both lose control of their little boat and it starts to float downstream in a fast current. One child goes after the boat into the water, gets swept away in the current, and drowns. The other child pulls back and lets the boat go. Somehow this blessed child just knew wordlessly to let the boat go and so he is safe.


Here is another example which I have given thousands of times. A little girl sees an adult being nice to one child and mean to another. She sees the injustice and knows that it is wrong. She never studied injustice, but she sees it and just knows in her heart that it is wrong. No one had to tell her about injustice, she just sees it clearly.


People of good will, no matter from which country or culture, have intuition in common. It is universal. A Muslim man, a Catholic, a Mormon, an atheist, and a Jewish man, all of them of good will and understanding, upon seeing someone being cruel to a child, know that it is wrong. They all see it the same way--they know in their heart that cruelty to a child is wrong.


Now we have seen two aspects of this basic gut level wordless knowing that God gives humans. We have seen it as common sense and also as perception of right and wrong.  


To the extent that a person lives a moral life and to the extent that a person employs common sense in the handling of his affairs, to that extent the person is closer to intuition.  And by living closer to intuition, he has a safer, healthier, happier life.


Thus basic wisdom—such as being frugal, repairing things instead of throwing them away, saving money for a rainy day, putting aside provisions for emergency, having a means of protecting oneself and one's family, avoiding risky choices and so on--these all contribute to a better life, one lived in accord with basic wisdom.


Likewise, being honest, fair, brave, kind, and not taking advantage of others - these are in accord with basic intuitive wisdom.


There is an old saying "God helps those who help themselves." This means that God expects us to use our common sense. If a person thumbs his nose at the basic protection of common sense—refusing to provide for his family or scoffing at being prepared for an emergency, then God will not give this person any higher form of protection. Paul and the other apostles were granted great spiritual insight even inspiration, but they also respected basic common sense, worked with their hands, and lived frugally.


Now let's talk about another aspect of intuition, which I already alluded to—perception of right and wrong.  To me this is so basic, but most people don't really get it. Conscience is the same thing as intuition. Intuition is present sight and foresight. Conscience is 20/20 hindsight. It is only when we stray from intuition that it becomes conscience seeking to warn us of our error.


When people live according to common sense and principle in all things no matter how small, they live a mostly joyous carefree life. They may know conflict with others, who do not like principle, but they have no conflict with intuition, so it accompanies them lightly. But when a person doubts, ignores and disobeys intuition, then intuition comes back as conscience and makes them feel bad.


We all sort of know what is right, but when we don't do what is right, afterwards our conscience makes us aware that we strayed from what is right. A little boy got angry at his mom and said "I hate you." He ran off to his room, but soon his conscience bothered him. He knew in his heart that it was wrong to get angry at his mom. Later he told her he was sorry, and then he was reconciled to conscience and intuition again. Children are closer to intuition and conscience than most adults are. So they sense it more directly.  


Most people avoid their conscience because it makes them feel bad. But they are also thereby avoiding intuition. Little do they realize (they can't realize since they are cut off from intuition) that they are cheating themselves of the kind of just-in-time guidance that is available from intuition.


Nevertheless God in His mercy does not leave them without some access to basic common sense, and they can also recognize wisdom when they hear it. 


God also protects those who have salvation in their future or whom He is preserving to fulfill some purpose He has for them. Many people have experienced this intuitive protection.


I teach a driving safety class and I often ask the students (who are all adults from 17 to 89 years old) if they have ever stopped at a stop light, and then when the light turned green, for some reason they hesitated and didn't immediately go. Then a car goes speeding through its red light, and if they had gone right away they would have been hit. Many people say they have had similar experiences. Somehow they just were wordlessly restrained from going, and their life was spared.


So now we know that our intuition is common sense, conscience, and also a protection. Let's take it to the next level.


God provides intuitive guidance through our intuition. Somehow I knew that I should home school my son. So when he was 3 years old I was already gathering information about home schooling and when he was 6 we moved to a small town in the country where there was a home schooling community and a nice country lifestyle. No one I knew was home schooling and no one told me about it, I just knew it deep down. I gave up a fancy big city job offer, but I did not mind because somehow I just knew in my heart that what I was doing was right. My wife fought me a bit over it but I was determined. It was clear to me, that's all. There was no decision making involved. It was just clear.


Moses somehow knew that his destiny was with his people and not as a prince in the Pharaoh's household. I'm sure that everyone thought he was crazy for giving up riches to become a sheep herder for 40 years. But he knew deep down that that was right for him.


Ben Carson was destined to become a surgeon, Mozart a composer, Winston Churchill a prime minister, and people like Steven Jobs, Hewlett, Packard, and Wozniak were working in their garages, tinkering with electronics, destined to give us calculators and computers.


For others, it is just right and suitable for them to become a carpenter, an electrician, or whatever. They just know and love what they sense they are called for.


Sometimes life can take a zigzag course. A person can start off as one thing and become another. Even as Moses began as a prince, then a sheep herder, and finally a great leader.


A person can get all messed up by following other's advice and bowing to pressure. This leads to a life of conforming and rebelling against the pressure.  Some people conform and end up doing things for which they are not suited and diverted from what they could have been.


Because of all the pressure from the educational matrix and media today, this is many people's plight. To recover and find their true path, these people will have to let go of resentment, and with the help of the proper meditation, see what happened to them and then begin to find their way. This, sadly, is rare because the conformists get so much approval and perks for conforming and not rocking the boat that they never break free.


Many others rebel against the pressure. They may develop learning blocks or become gang members, hippies, drop outs, or content themselves with a meaningless life of taking drugs, smoking marijuana, or partying and drinking in order to kill the pain of seeing what they have become.  For every person whose character is destroyed by conforming to the pressure, there is a person who rebelled against the hideous pressure and becomes a failure.


Fortunately there is actually more of a chance for the drop out to recover spiritually and find his true path. This is because the rebels are the ones who see the most clearly. They saw the cruelty of the pressure mongers and the weakness of their characterless conformist brother. The rebel's problem is his hatred. He became full of resentment and anger, and these emotions defeated him and made him guilty. In his hostility, he failed to rebel creatively. However, since he is closer to the truth than the conformist, he is more amenable to wise counsel, and if he could just let go of the resentment, then he could still become a David, a Daniel or an Einstein.


If you find yourself in the wrong place, then ponder how what I have said applies to you and your particular circumstances. All you need do is let go of your resentment toward the pressure, the system, yourself, the father who failed you and the mother who spoiled you. Then you can find your way.


If any of this describes you, then maybe there as a lesson God wanted you to learn before you were ready to find yourself. God permits us to makes mistakes, though he protects those with salvation in their future from making the fatal mistake. Most people are so stubborn in their pride that it takes suffering, sometimes huge amounts of it, before the suffering drives them to begin to sincerely seek answers.


Don't resent your present circumstances, no matter how lowly they might be. God may have a purpose for you to be there. Do your duty. Be cheerful. Wait until, through proper meditation, your mind clears and you can see clearly. When it comes to employment, for example, many feel that they are in the wrong place. Maybe you can stay where you are, just let go of the resentment. Or perhaps you need to find another place of employment, but first make sure that you have let go of the resentment so you can be sure.


One boy loved playing the violin, and he became very accomplished. But the pressure from his ambitious mother made him resentful and he threw down the violin and never played again. He might have recovered and continued to do what he loved, had he let go of the resentment toward the pressure (all too common) coming from his mother.


Albert Schweitzer began by studying music and became an organist. It was not until he was in his 30's I think, that he began to study medicine, and he was to become the world famous doctor in Africa. Anna Mary Robertson only began painting in earnest when she was 78 years old. She became a renowned and beloved painter, affectionately known as Grandma Moses.


Because of the hideous pressure of the vile school system nowadays, I think that it will become more common for people to only find themselves much later in life. The traumas run so deep that it takes decades to recover, and some never do. It is my sincere prayer and hope that my teachings and the proper meditation will help some make a much quicker transition to a blessed and joyful life.  It does not have to take decades. For some it may take awhile but for others it can happen in a matter of weeks, days, even hours. 


William Cowper speaks of the mysterious way in which God arranges things in his famous poetic line: "God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform." 


So if you think you may be off track or that you wasted some time, even years, in conforming, rebelling, and messing up--then take heart. God can unscramble an egg. Remember Christ's words "with man it would be impossible, but with God all things are possible. Remember Job, he lost everything, but then it was restored to him at the end. Remember how horribly Joseph was treated and how he did not resent those who hurt him or his circumstances. All was restored to him and even more. Remember the story of the prodigal son, who wasted his inheritance but found forgiveness from father when he was ready to admit he was wrong.


So now it is obvious that we must follow intuition first last and always. We must be as aware as possible at all times, through meditating, so that we become aware of its delicate guidance. We must not make anything too important, lest we become fixated to it and miss intuition's warning. We must not become too emotional over things, whether in excitement or anger, lest the emotions rise up and overpower the delicate perception of the promptings of intuition.


Intuition has been called the still small voice. Actually it is not a voice, it is silent, wordless, a quiet knowing. But it is usually small. At times it can become very, very strong--when we are being withheld from some grave danger, for example. But mostly it is very small and gentle. Why? Because God does not violate our freedom. We have the choice to wish to know what is right or to disregard it. That is how those who love the truth are separated from those who do not. It is a mystery why some love truth and some don't. 


Now perhaps you can see the problems with study and with the whole educational matrix. Study, the fixation to words and knowledge, is hypnotic. It ferrets us away from intuition and makes us beholden to being spoon fed facts, figures and formulas from external authorities.


Instead of following the internal authority of intuition from God, we begin to follow external authorities. The external authorities promise knowledge, power, glory, success, acceptance, and so we follow them. We give ourselves up to them to eat at the pig trough of knowledge. In a descending order toward hell, we are handed over to lower and lower authorities who program us and lead us to the gates of hell.


There is also a tendency to transfer the induction stimulus of our authorities to books and to words. It is words, after all, which are the vehicle of their falsities, deceit, and lying promises. It is words that they used to pull us in and make us their slaves.


That is why there is a fascination with the spoken and written word. The hypnotic transference also explains why the followers of various religious sects get caught up with books. The false Christian thinks that the Bible book is the Word of God. Actually it is a word from God.


It is just a book to which he is transfixed hypnotically. The Bible indeed bears witness to the truth, but the Word of God is within. The inner wordless Word testifies to true things that are said or written on the outside. Even as they bear witness to the inner truth.


It is the inner Truth, with a capital T, the Living Light of Truth itself, that is the important thing. At best, words on the outside, whether spoken or written, can run parallel to the Truth and perhaps awaken us to realize the inner Truth. Once an outside set of words awakens you to the inner wordless testimony, the work of the outside words is done. Now abide with the inner flash of insight and understanding. Put aside the external, so as to abide with the inner.


The external words are dead. It is the inner Spirit that gives life. If I pick up the Bible and read a sentence that sparks an aha moment, I put aside the book and then ponder what I had just realized. Seeing the principle in the inner Light of Truth, I then see more and more derivatives and related insights that come from the one principle that I realized. One principle seen is enough for the day, maybe the week or month.


But if I pick up a book and nothing sparks insight, I just put it down. There is nothing there for me that day. If I just read paragraph after paragraph it makes my mind feel thick and dull.


When a person gets something, they exclaim "Oh I see!"  We see truth, we get it. We realize. It is no mere coincidence that light illuminates our world, brightens it, and makes it possible to see things with our earthly eyes. It is no coincidence that the inner light also makes things clear for us, so that we can see which way to go in life.


It is called perception. We all know that leaders need vision. And so does each of us. We need to see what is right and wise, and we also need to be able to see what is not right, what is false, and what is deceptive.


The inner light of intuition is your number one deceit detector. Sometimes you will be listening to someone say something and somehow it just doesn't sit right with you. You don't even know why, but you sense something not quite right about what they are saying. This is your protection.


Earnest Hemingway the Pulitzer Prize winning author said it this way, in speaking of perception and spotting deceit:


"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it."


It may be a bit crude, but his famous quote is very perceptive. Discernment is not only valuable, it can save your life.  This ability to detect deceit and not follow is also a gift of intuition.


It is amazing how many people ignore or set aside their intuition in order to follow some charming lying person or promise. When we want something too much, we tend to not see all the things wrong with it. It is only afterwards that we could kick ourselves for buying it and wasting our money.  What is the old expression: If it is too good to be true, it probably is.


One of the most wonderful essays in American literature is "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It used to be required reading for every American student. It captures the spirit of self reliance, common sense, a healthy disrespect for authority, and the spirit of adventure Americans were once known for.  He writes of intuition and how we ignore it, how we tend to doubt ourselves, only to later have what we had once thought come back in the words of strangers who had the courage to speak from the heart.


Here are some quotes from the essay "Self Reliance," though I recommend a person read the whole essay.


"I read the other day some verses written by an eminent painter which were original and not conventional. The soul always hears an admonition in such lines, let the subject be what it may. The sentiment they instill is of more value than any thought they may contain. To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.


There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preestablished harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards."


Education is the enemy of understanding. We need understanding not education.  Not mindless obedience to external authorities but allegiance to internal guidance


Sure the experts and professors on the outside have knowledge. But for the most part, they have forsaken intuition for knowledge. There is no glory in just doing what is right and wise, but there is human glory in study, degrees and then lording it over others with words. Many people are decent but after years of forced study, all their common sense is driven out and replaced with memorized facts and theories. Many doctors, for example, became doctors to do good, but after years of medical school, all their understanding has been drummed out of them.   


I am not against knowledge, but it must also have understanding to go along with it. Without understanding, knowledge is the most dangerous thing in the world.


It was the intellectuals that brought us Leninism and the tyranny and the slaughter of millions that that Godless philosophy has produced. It was the learned doctors and scientists who manned the Nazi death camps.   


Even today, intellectuals without understanding are filling the ears of college students with wrong ideas while others are developing dangerous things and selling them to an unsuspecting public. And they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. The intellectual without understanding can accept and defend the most awful idea; in fact intellectuals are drawn to the bizarre and the dangerous because such things give them power to shock and the experimentation is fraught with excitement.



I trust my intuition and then it leads me to the right kind of knowledge. I scan books and resources and somehow I am able to separate the wheat from the chaff. I sense when someone knows what they are talking about, and I can sense when there is something not quite right about what is being said. I use knowledge and words, but I use them for good, with understanding and to enlighten and help others. Words and knowledge for me are collated in the inner light, and what I say is an outflow of the good to which I bear witness.


I look to intuition first and then use knowledge to express what I intuitively grasp. But this is a far cry from mindlessly ingesting raw knowledge and then regurgitating it to control or impress others.


Decision Making


Most people have a problem with decision making. In fact the whole human race has issues around decision making because we are the off spring of Adam and we have a sort of genetic memory of the Garden of Eden scene where a decision led to disaster.


Adam decided to try the forbidden fruit. He knew in his heart what was right, but the words of the serpent, through his wife, intrigued him. The thought of being a god through knowledge was exciting. So he chose to choose. Adam had the original pristine choice--to obey God through faith or to disobey God through doubt.


Adam chose to disobey. The choice was used up. After that he had no more choice. He lost Paradise and the special relationship he had had with God. Now he had no choice but to suffer and then die.


We the progeny of Adam, many generations removed, sin compulsively. We have no choice but to sin. Our inherited fallen nature needs it and we lust after lies and wrong continuously.


Fortunately, now that Christ as come, a change of heart can lead to God responding to our yearning and cry with his Light which leads to repentance. If you are one of the blessed ones for whom repentance is implemented in your life and you start anew, perhaps with the help of the proper meditation, then you will have a choice for the first time in your life. God makes the choice possible.


If you find yourself on the path, and despite doubts and second guessing and a flurry of occasional negative thoughts, you see that you have no choice but to continue--come what may, you cannot turn back to the old way--then you will know that your soul has made the right choice, and now you are safely in tow. There is no falling away from (true) salvation.


Of course, at every level of ascent, the devil is always there with temptation. He speaks to you in your mind, perhaps in your own voice, saying things like "you don't need to meditate anymore, it's not doing any good, you have committed the unforgivable sin, God is leading you on, Roland does not know what he is talking about" and so on.


Just observe these doubt thoughts from the neutral zone. Realize that they are not your thoughts. You don't have to feel guilty about them. Just observe them.


Decision making has a mystique about it. It was what Adam did when he reached for the forbidden fruit, and to this day we have a memory of failing and tragedy involved in decision making. But we are also drawn like moths to a flame to make decisions because of the excitement and the sense that we are doing our own thing. Where have all your faithless decisions gotten you?


So we go to one extreme or the other, we throw caution to the wind and revel in our decision making. We decide to decide. But of course, we sense that we don't know what we are doing, so perhaps we study and try to get lots of knowledge to make good decisions.


We go to college and get a degree or two. But we are still nervous when it comes to deciding. We keep looking to others for support to tell us that we did the right thing.


Some people revel in the intrigue of decision making by studying the laws of chance, and then base their decisions on it. Some become compulsive gamblers.


People become so afraid of decision making that they put their life on hold. Afraid of being bold and trying something new, they study what everyone has to say on the internet, read books, check the economy, ask their counselor or advisor, and either do nothing--forever studying more before they decide--or they suddenly decide to do something, perhaps on a whim, just to get the agony over with. 


Some read signs into everything. If a bird lands on their porch they think it is a sign from God that they are supposed to do something. Others ask for a special sign from God, trying to get Him to bail them out from having to decide whether to go with some guy or not.


Incidentally some of the worst decisions in the world have come out of group think, where the group decides and everyone supports everyone else.


Decision making can, and usually does become a compulsive thing. We are not free not to decide. If we don't decide then we worry about not deciding. If we decide we worry about our decision. Some people are so afraid of decision making that they procrastinate and decide not to decide. But they are still deciding.


Other people decide not to decide by turning the decision over to others. So you put our life in the hands of someone else, perhaps an expert. When they make mistakes and ruin our lives, and when their deciding for us doesn't work out, we can then blame and resent them.


Other fools look to forbidden sources like psychics and occult knowledge, or to neighborhood meddlers to tell them what to do.


For many people, more and more fearful of making decisions which always turn out wrong, their decision making comes down to trivial decisions like should I wear brown shoes or black shoes. They open their closet door in the morning and agonize over which shirt to wear.


Some people become completely obsessive about it. They make a decision to go one way, and then at the last moment go the other way.  Some people can't decide, and then finally just flip a coin.


Most of us eventually turn our lives over to strangers, and important decisions we leave to someone in a white coat to decide for us. 


We do what some authority say or we do what the group is doing. We struggle in our mind and then just do what others are doing. That way we can get reassurance and lots of support from the other compulsive self doubters that what we are doing is right.


The ego advantage to this is of course when our lives become a mess then we can blame those who advised us and we can thus avoid responsibility.


Most of us are very anxious about our decisions. The reason is because we sense deep down in our bones that there is something wrong with faithless decision making.


For the person of faith, the way is clear. He does not have the agony of decision making because he already made the one choice which God made possible for Him, to go the way of faith. For the man of faith, there are no decisions to make. The way is clear. He or she sees what to do and just does it.


I do not know in advance what to do in any particular situation. Life is very subtle and each new moment is a new situation. What I do is meditate for objectivity. Then I go through life with the mind set of being ready to do what is right or wise for each moment. In fact, a person must be prepared to do what is right regardless of the consequences.


David took on Goliath, and it was this gutsy attitude that God liked. I remember a guy was giving my wife a hard time over some real estate deal. I went to his office, walked right past the secretary, went into his office and immediately gave him a piece of my mind. He turned as white as a sheet and was stricken. We never heard from him again. I have often spoken up when I have seen some stranger being mean to a child. What I got in return was foul language and even threatening behavior. But I had no choice. I had to speak up.


Yes, by doing the right thing we may risk injury, loss, even death, and so we must be prepared to die. It usually does not come to that. Don't forget the enemy is a coward. He does not have faith and he knows deep down that he is in the wrong and does not have God's protection. When he sees that you are determined, and that your resolve goes all the way down to every fiber of your being, he will usually back down.


So we must be prepared to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. However discretion is sometimes the better part of valor. The devil can destroy some people by tempting them to stick their neck out before their time. So watch out for that. Don't suddenly decide to go to the worst part of town and take on some gang members. It won't work out. Don't suddenly decide to tell your boss off, you will get fired.


So don't decide to stick your neck out. Just go through life wanting to do the right thing for each moment, realizing that you don't know what the right thing is, and live one moment at a time. Be spontaneous.


There are not enough books in the world to tell you what to do in some delicate moment with your partner or kids. Parents often make the mistake of having some lecture or pre digested plan in mind when they speak to their kids. The kids sense that it is canned and phony, that the parent does not have love. The memorized words the parent dregs up are to save face and prove something or make something happen. But because they are not inspired, the words are dead, ill timed, and do more harm than good.


I don not plan ahead what to say or do. I have the faith to meet the moment with fresh eyes. If nothing comes to me, then nothing is what I am supposed to say or do. There is power in observation. Also a look or a gesture can convey powerful meaning.


The moment is subtle. Only inspiration in the moment can give you the just right thing to do or say or not to do or say.


Another thing--when you get your ego out of the way and are not trying to save face, defend pride or prove something--there is now room for love to come forth. With your ego out of the way, the other person may see the face of love for the first time in their life. You can't feel it is there, but the other person will sense it. That is what your partner and kids need to see.


Therefore never use any canned programs given to you for child rearing, losing weight or anything. Life is too subtle. Of course you can listen to what others have to say, perhaps picking out a morsel of useful knowledge from what they have to offer, but just don't worship them or turn over your life to them.  I often pick other's brains and then move according to spirit, but having gained useful information.


Men often make the mistake of being weak. They ask their wife what to do, lean on her for support, and usually turn over responsibility of child rearing to her. She will take on the responsibility, but she will not respect you. 


One of my favorite movies of all time is "High Noon," starring Gary Cooper. It is the story of a man who was sheriff in an old western town. He resigned in order to start a new life as a rancher. It was his wedding day. But the bad guys came to town to rob, murder and destroy. All the people in the town were cowards and hid. The sheriff put his badge back on to face the bad guys all alone. His wife pleaded with him not too. It was their wedding day, he might be killed. But he knew in his heart he had to do the right thing.


Of course you know the result. He defeated the bad guys and won the day.  But he also won the heart of his wife. She knew that she was going to marry a man of impeccable honor and courage. Him she could respect.


A very successful talk show host once advised to lead with your heart. What he means is to speak from the heart with conviction and love, instead of face saving fear.


Most of us were made to doubt ourselves from the time we were little. Remember the fairy tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone said that the emperor had nice new clothes, when he had nothing on--except one little child who saw the truth and said it.


But when the average child is hushed, slapped around, and rejected for being honest, the child learns to doubt himself.


Then our next mistake is resenting others. But most of us do end up resenting our parents and others who pressured, teased or let us down. At school there is a lot of tease, and we resent those who tease us or bully us. Perhaps we were a bit different than others--we could have been an Einstein or a Madame Curie, a Ruth or a Paul--but others didn't like our being different or more innocent, so they teased us and perhaps ostracized us.


Because of our resentment, we felt empty and soon we may have found ourselves conforming to the group for acceptance and approval. When we went along and smoked, had sex, or acted rude, we were accepted by the group for our false self. But for approval we had to sell ourselves down the river and this brought conflict with conscience.


Not yet ready to be sorry and reconcile with conscience, our guilt made us cling even more to the group, the gang, the peers, and they too had conflict with conscience. So together you all took drugs and partied to hold conscience at bay.


For the rest of their lives, most people feel a bit uneasy and anxious (no longer recognizing intuition as intuition and conscience as conscience--now only sensing conscience as anxiety). They go along to get along, conform, don't rock the boat, and become people pleasers.   


That's why most dads are weak. They want to be popular--they doubt themselves, and they, having turned from the God of conscience, now looking to those to whom they fell for reassurance and reinforcement.


We become externalized and look to others, instead of within, for answers. And so, over a nation of self doubters--a class of experts, bureaucrats and external authorities rise up to lord it over them. Even religion becomes externalized. Instead of looking within for God, people look to outside priests and clerics who feed them external knowledge.


Knowledge parallels understanding, and when understanding is present, the knowledge becomes useful. But when there is no understanding, raw knowledge becomes a dangerous thing--misapplied and misused.


Basic Principles


1. Always do what you know is right in your heart.


2. Meditate for objectivity.  Remain aware at all times.


3. Do not pre-plan what to do or say. Be spontaneous.


4. In any situation always check with your intuition. If something is required, you may spontaneously just say something, for example, and if you got your ego out of the way, and it flows spontaneously from intuition without preplanning, then it will be right. If nothing comes to you, then nothing is required.


5. If you don't know what to do then just don't do anything. Wait until you do know. Wonder about it and then all of a sudden you will know. Sometimes someone will ask me a question. I search my heart sincerely--I don't try to make something up--and then I say "I don't know," or I am about to say "I don't know," and then all of a sudden the answer comes to me.


Sometimes life does require that we act. If I need to make some sort of determination and do something, I will check with my intuition and if nothing withholds me, I will take a step, then another. I check with my intuition again. If I can get started in a certain direction and nothing withholds, then it is okay for me to proceed.  God does not require that we agonize over every move we make. 


When people become paralyzed about making decisions and doing things, it is most likely their ego worrying about saving its own skin and fearful of drawing disapproval from God. Perhaps they assume that God is like the critical parent (like their ego is). Maybe when they were kids, they were pressured or harshly criticized. All they need do is see that resentment toward the pressure is at the root of their issue, let go of the resentment, and they will be freed up. 


So if you have something to do--do it, without resentment. Remember the parable of the talents. The one who buried his talent in the ground is the one who drew the disapproval of the master. The ones who took action and invested their talents gained his approval.    


6. Some situations will solve themselves.  As big egos we always want to roll up our sleeves and make something happen. Watch out for this.


7. For basic decisions, like what to buy or when to sell, just do what is wise. It's always better to buy the useful practical item. If you are going to buy a new car and you see yourself getting excited over a certain car, wait until the emotions subside. After the emotions are gone, you will be able to see if it is a wise purchase or not.


8. As a beginning meditator, when faced with some decision, expect to have flurries of doubts and fears assail you. This will especially occur when you are poised to do the right thing. Amid all the worry and doubt thoughts, just quietly do the right or wise thing.


If you are just starting on the path of faith, there will be some trial and error involved. Take your time and be patient. It's like basic training. It is good therapy. Before, you thought you knew but really didn't. Now you will see that you don't know, but in your lack, your sincere intent will draw an intuitive answer.


Just beware of the voice in your mind that has always misled you. It is a false conscience. It is in everyone and is leading the world to individual and collective disaster. God rarely talks to us with words. Mostly He just shines a light on things making them clear.


9. The old way of doing things always involved building up a head of steam and then doing things moved by emotion. Some of you used anger and resentment as the motivation to do things. Now as you let go of anger and resentment, you may sometimes find yourself seemingly without motivation. Bear this for a while. Then you will be moved by the spirit and will have a new energy, not based in anger, to get things done.


10. See the difference between motive and motivation. You need both the right motive and the right motivation. The right motive is wanting to do what is right (not for ego value, but simply to do what is right because you love the right or wish to see justice prevail).


But then you also need the right motivation. In the past your motivation which gave you the energy to move was mostly excitement and anger. It is thus possible to do the right thing but with the wrong energy. Parents often say the right thing but say it with anger, so the anger taints the message.


The right motivation is simply doing what is wise or right. It is like not feeling anything at all. Remember my example about walking down the street and encountering a big deep hole. Remember how I said that no elaborate decision making process is involved. Likewise no big head of emotional steam is needed. You see the hole and simply walk around it.


If you find yourself moved to do the right thing, it will almost be as if someone else were doing it. You feel nothing.


Go through life like a ballerina dancing across the stage, seemingly effortlessly.


11. Watch out for a false sense of obligation. Many of us get trapped into doing things out of a false sense of obligation. This has its roots in resentment. Often someone asked you to do something and you resented them for asking. Then the resentment made you feel guilty, so you did what they asked to relieve the guilt for resenting them.


Now practice the new way. If someone asks you to do something, and it is not your job--watch for the resentment. See it rising and don't indulge it. Let it pass. Then just quietly say no. On the other hand, if they ask you to do something, and it is something you should do or could do as a kindness in free will, then let the resentment pass, and do it because it is right.


Another example of this sort of thing is a sudden impulse to make restitution. Sometimes it is the right thing to do and sometimes it is not. So be wise and discreet.  If you borrowed your neighbor's tool and didn't return it--it is good if you go to him, apologize and return his tool. But in some situations, you will just get yourself in trouble or others will use your attempt to assuage guilt against you.  You usually can't make good what you did wrong years ago, so just live rightly from now on. That is sufficient.    


Likewise, as you go about your daily activities you may notice yourself doing something that now seems odd. Chances are you had been hypnotically programmed to do it in childhood especially in moments of emotion. Now just look at yourself dong it, stand back, and if it no longer makes sense, then just don't do it.


12. Begin to function just as a regular, natural spontaneous person. Don't expect to have great powers or revelations, though they may come later. Be content to be a regular person and do what you can. Go through life with an attitude of friendly neutrality. Don't preplan what to do or say, just live and as each moment unfolds, deal with it best you can. Don't allow excitements to overwhelm your delicate awareness. If you find yourself getting excited or pulled into an argument, stand back. If you find yourself getting pulled into some music, then stand back.


Mostly, things unfold very nicely, but there will be certain occasions where a line is drawn in the sand and you will need to speak up about something and say what needs to be said. You can expect your heart to be pounding and your knees knocking. In the past you always cowered and went along for approval and not to rock the boat, so now your body is conditioned to do so. Speak up anyway. Don't resent seeing your weakness.


You also may need to use your natural courage.  Whether in sports or in life, there is no substitute for courage. 


Maybe someday you will have the experience of moving effortlessly to do the right thing and it will be with God's power to assist you. But for now, be content to be a regular person. You may have to drum up the courage to take the step necessary. Go as far as you can with your natural courage, and then perhaps God will see your sincere desire to do the right thing and assist you.


Life is for the most part effortless, but you will need to somehow find the energy to take that first step. One man laid in bed for weeks in deep depression. But somehow he found the energy to barely drag himself to attend one class at college. That first little step led to his eventually breaking the depression and going on to a happy, productive, active life.




Here is William Cowper's poem



God Moves in Mysterious Ways


God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.


Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill,

He treasures up his bright designs,

And works his sovereign will.


Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,

The clouds ye so much dread

are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence,

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour;

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.


Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan his work in vain;

God is his own interpreter,

And he will make it plain.