It's a phrase often said by parents and teachers. "You've got two ears and only one mouth." In other words, stop talking so much. Listen more.
This advice is relevant to our interactions with other people, but what I think this old adage is really talking about is how we relate to ourselves.
For a very long time, I've built and maintained a habit of speaking in my own mind around important decisions or next steps. When faced with a decision, I'll analyze, weigh, tear apart, rebuild, and imagine every possible scenario or consequence. I've been known to pick up a pen and jot down the every popular list of pros and cons. Think. Think. Think.
A few years ago, I came to one of the most important crossroads of my life when an estranged friend was diagnosed with a terminal illness. When I heard the news, I thought and thought and thought about how I should handle it. I agonized over my next steps. I went to sleep that night with all cylinders of my mind on Go. The next morning, I woke up and just went to see him. That's it. I didn't think about what would happen or what I'd say, I just went. Long story short, we hugged and cried and laughed, unsure of why we'd ever argued in the first place. Going to him was one of the best decisions I've ever made. But the thing is, it wasn't a decision.
I had stopped talking and started listening. And in the quiet, I knew exactly what to do, without doubt or hesitation.
I have a three decade long habit of trying to solve all of my problems and make all of my decisions with my mind. But now I've started to realize that there's another way. Some of the best decisions I've made lately have come to me when my mind is quiet, whether I'm on my yoga mat or sitting in meditation. I'm finally starting to trust my intuition. Better late than never.
Though I'm a big advocate of practicing yoga and meditation, I don't think you necessarily need to do either of these regularly to gain the benefits of making decisions with your inner ears instead of your inner mouth.
This Monday, the day of new beginnings, give it a try. Choose a question you've been asking. Then sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe in and out a few times. Maybe use a mantra, like breathing in Joy and breathing out Fear, or breathing in Light and breathing out Dark. Maybe try just counting slowly as you breathe in, and then again as you breathe out. Do this for a few minutes until your mind becomes quiet, and then ask your question again.
How did it go?
What do you think? Do you come to decisions with your inner ears or your inner mouth?
This blog is focused on exploring ideas around yoga, career, intuition, purpose, and passion. Please leave a comment. Namaste.