How to Follow Your Inner Light

Try this exercise to stop the 24/7 chatter going on inside your head.

November 13, 2015
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Inside your mind, you'll hear many voices. The voice of your ego—your Small Self—comes in many disguises. I call it the "Small Self" because it's like a child. It is small and can't be trusted to make healthy, discerning, spiritually mature decisions, but it's not something that needs your judgment; it needs your compassion. (Try the 21-Day Practicing Compassion Challenge to transform yourself and the people you touch with compassionate actions!)

Your Small Self is the voice that starts shouting when fear is running the show, and it makes it hard to interpret the guidance of your Inner Pilot Light, which tends to whisper. Your Small Self doesn't need to be criticized or denied. It needs your Inner Pilot Light to love and care for it, as an adult would tend and nurture a young, scared child. Any unhealed traumas from your past feed your Small Self, and fear causes this loud, frightened part of your psyche to imagine the worst. As a result, your Small Self tends to chatter away 24/7, filling your mind with anxiety, criticism, judgment, and limiting beliefs. This inner child doesn't trust that you—the adult, the Inner Pilot Light—are taking care of it, protecting it from harm.

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There's nothing wrong with this part of you; it's simply a hurt, young, scared, overprotective part of you that can't be trusted to make your decisions. The good news is that your Inner Pilot Light is always available to re-parent your Small Self by loving, comforting, and reassuring it. Once you know that both voices exist, you can notice the two of them hashing it out in your mind. Just pay attention and witness both. If you can avoid merging with the identity of your Small Self, you can allow your Inner Pilot Light to take the wheel, and this tends to ramp up your courage.

Hero's Practice: Be the Witness
To cultivate a relationship with your Inner Pilot Light, practice becoming the Consciousness that witnesses the dialogues in your mind. Try this exercise the next time your Small Self has a meltdown.

1. When you find your Small Self chattering away with stories of fear, judgment, criticism, anger, frustration, resentment, grief, or shame, make it a practice to become the Consciousness that witnesses the hurt, scared, sad, or angry aspect of your Small Self.

2. If you start to feel an emotional disturbance, name the feeling and notice it. Give your Small Self permission to feel what it feels. Imagine angel wings of love wrapping around this small, scared child within you. Reassure this inner child that you are an adult now and will take care of it. (Don't deny what your Small Self feels! The "spiritual bypass" doesn't work, so feel what you feel without judging yourself.)

More: How to Free Yourself From Being a Victim

3. Recognize that although your emotions are real and valid, you are not what you feel. It's easy to mistakenly identify those emotions as who you are. But what if instead of being the emotion, you are simply the soul who is with that emotion? What if, instead of saying "I am sad," you shift to "I am with sad?" What if instead of being a sad person, you are the expanse of Consciousness witnessing the part of you that feels sad? Step back and witness the part of you that is disturbed by this feeling.

You are not this feeling. You are the soul that is witnessing this feeling. Close your eyes and give yourself as much time as you need to fully witness the emotional disturbance of your Small Self. Let your Inner Pilot Light love, comfort, and hold the small child within you that is suffering.

Adapted from Anatomy of a Calling