Last night, for some reason, I thought I should cancel the Tuesday morning ballet class I teach. It was just a gnawing feeling I had. I almost called in, but then I stopped myself. What was I going to say? I’m not coming in tomorrow. Bad juju.
Most people, no matter how nice, are not receptive to someone canceling work or even a social engagement just because something that they can’t explain feels off. In my case, I’m afraid that others will take it personally, or think I’m flakey.
“I’d think you’d be used to that by now,” says Mr. Octopus.
“You could have just lied.”
Worse yet, let’s say I had cancelled the class and the bad thing didn’t happen. All went smoothly. I might not have had any outward confirmation that staying home was indeed the right thing. And would I feel good about my decision in the absence of proof? Would I have been able to trust myself? Of course not. I’d be wracked with guilt.
In the previous entry, I wrote about different kinds of thoughts, those that are received as opposed to grasped. What I’m referring to here is distinguishing between our intuitive voice and the ramblings of our overstimulated modern minds. As stated previously, literal thought creates a stumbling block for our intuition. Another pothole on the inner-highway is guilt.
“Well, what happened?” asks Mr. Octopus.
“You know what happened!”
“Rrrelax. Of course I know what happened. You haven’t ceased blubbering about it all day. I’m asking our of rrrespect for your readers. It’s a writing device. Do get over it.”
Well, all last night, as I said, I had this feeling, this intuition to cancel class, but I didn’t. I actually lost sleep over it. In the morning, on my way in, I slipped down the stairs, landing hard on my bum. It hurt, but I didn’t injure myself. It really felt like something was telling me to turn around and go back inside but I didn’t. I taught the class. All seemed fine, but afterwards I went into the parking lot to discover that my car had been towed. As a result, I was late to my next class, and things just went downhill from there.
“All-in-all, that’s not so bad, as things go,” says Mr. Octopus.
“No, not so bad. Worse things do happen. It’s just that, I think I should know better by now, damn it!”
A few years ago, I remember pondering this whole intuition business. Believe it or not given my current spiritual leanings, at that time, I was a bit skeptical. I remembered as a child, just knowing things. Little things for the most part, and I felt, as an adult, a desire to re-acquaint myself with that knowing. But I didn’t know how. Intuition was a gift reserved for certain people, like Scatman Carothers in The Shining, and look at what happened to him.
Anyway, I was driving along on an empty highway one evening around 3am, completely sober and present. I thought to test myself. I thought, hmm, I want to follow my intuition more. And, I swear, I heard inwardly,
“Why don’t you start now?”
“Yes, right now. Pull over.”
I looked behind me. There was not a car in sight, but I played along and pulled over into the outer right lane. Seconds later, in a flash, two cars came drag racing down the center lanes, seemingly out of nowhere.
“Ok,” I thought. “That really just happened.”
“Yes. That was real. Remember that.”
But last night, in the din of thought, I forgot. I forgot to listen inwardly.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Listening takes practice. A lot of prrractice,” says Mr. Octopus.
“Wait. How many are in there talking right now? This is getting confusing.”
Exactly. There’s a lot of stuff going on in there. It takes a lot of practice to first of all, recognize your intuition, to then act on it, and finally, to not feel guilty about it and to free yourself from judgement! Perhaps there are times when guilt is useful, like when a criminal, fueled by real remorse, changes his life to help others.
But for most of us, our guilt is imagined and useless. If I had cancelled class today, or maybe just switched days with another teacher, it would have been no biggie. Furthermore, it would have been in flow.
Can you imagine getting to a point where we actually make room to really listen and support that listening in ourselves and others without judgement or fear? I think we’re afraid to because, in addition to fearing judgement, we’re afraid the inner-listening will be abused. Maybe we’ll all get lazy just sittin’ around, not doin’ stuff because we got the vibe to stay home.
But I think maybe the opposite will happen. Maybe we’ll all start doing the stuff we are really called to do and avoid the stuff that doesn’t serve. It sounds so easy, but I guess it’s not.
“The next time you feel guilty for following your intuition, just remember, you have my permission,” says the O.