How Can I Know What To Do When I Don’t Know What To Do? Plus a Meditation For You.

Dear Friends,

Today I am inspired not by grand adventures, but by the mundane… by auto-correct. 

Proof that inspiration is anywhere you choose to see it.

Today’s email is inspired by auto-correct and a green fruit known as Sapote.

Finally! As I typed “Sapote” I was not subject to an immediate auto-correct. Flashback to four “Sapotes“ ago, “sapote” was “aspire.”

This got me thinking about the answer to a big question…

When faced with a challenging decision, how can I know what to do?

Big stuff often comes up with my 180 clients as begin their meditation practice- very often “should I leave my job?” And, “should I leave my relationship?” 

It feels crippling, paralyzing, frustrating, fearful… and they want to stop meditating because it’s hard stuff to face.

Can you relate? Sitting in meditation and your awareness isn’t on your breath but following thought-trains into crevices of your mind covered in dust and full of angst?

Four years ago I “180’d” from an Executive Producer to jobless and sitting in the question of “now what?” 

The decision to leave my job didn’t happen overnight. It came up for me in meditation years before I got the chutzpah (that’s Jew-talk for “guts”) to Just Do It (as my advertising client’s slogan would point out).

What’s in the gap between the uncomfortable meditation kicking up the dust on a decision that needs to happen and the actual action of making that decision? 

Sapote. Or as auto-correct would have it (correctly, this time): Aspiration. 

Six years ago I didn’t know if leaving my job was the right answer. I didn’t know if I should switch departments at work or switch agencies or take a different kind of role in another industry or go back to school or stop altogether. All I knew was that I felt resentment, sadness and generally disheartened. I wanted the feeling to go away pronto.

But a big decision can’t be rushed. It also can’t be hidden in the dusty crevices of your mind, unless you want to see the manifestations of that in your body and your health.

What you can do is to aspire to have an answer.

With aspiration to know, you are helping your mind by:

1. Acknowledging the existence of the current discomfort
2. Recognizing that you want it to change
3. Giving yourself the space to let it be as it is while also beginning the process of letting it unfold itself to you

In setting the aspiration to know, it’s recognizing that an answer will come to you. It’s also giving yourself time to let that answer come. But wanting it to happen, this is a big step. This is admitting to yourself that you want the change and letting the rest come as you consistently aspire for the answer.

We can take a page from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s book when creating our aspirations, he says:

“Always aspire to do what’s most beneficial in the long term vs. the short term.”

Here’s a quick practice you can try if you’re sitting in a quandary:

Aspiration Dedication Meditation – 5 minutes
Practice this daily for best results

1. Sit comfortably so that your body is both alert and relaxed for meditation. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to establish the beginning of your practice.
2. Take 1-2 minutes to sit with awareness to your breath, watching your inhales and exhales flow into and out of your body. You might repeat the words “I am calm” as you breathe in and “I am relaxed” as you breathe out.
3. Bring to mind the decision you’re challenged with. Take a moment to sit in the reality of it while breathing smoothly, naturally.
4. Repeat these words or something similar to yourself, “I do not need to know the answer to this right now. It’s ok for me to sit with this question. I aspire to know the answer and to do what’s best for the long term.”
5. Let go of the words and feel a sense of relief, a knowing that the best long-term solution will come. Sit as long as you like with the sense of calm you’ve created.

When you complete your practice you can dedicate any merit you’ve gained in this practice of awareness and aspiration to happiness for all beings, including yourself.

May you find the answers you seek and may you taste the sweetness of the sapote fruit some day, remembering your aspirations!


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