Sometimes even accomplished people need direction. Problem is those are the people that are least likely to realize they need guidance and are the ones less likely to accept it too. Guidance comes in many forms. When it comes as a thought that just “appears” in our own head it is easy to accept because we believe it comes from us. Rarely is that the case. Guides/buddhas/angels are at work. This type of guidance is very common but rarely do we recognize it as guidance.
Another type of guidance comes from our friends/families/peers. If the guidance is presented in the form of a story, “That happened to me and this is how I responded, and this was the favorable outcome;” then we might listen. If the guidance is presented as “Do this. This is what I did and it worked.” If the other person is acting loving and caring way, then one might listen if they believed the other person really has their best interest at heart.
The third kind of guidance comes from an authority figure –there are many sorts of these. If the guidance comes across as compassionate, we may listen. If it comes as a command – forget it. The guidance will instead be seen as intrusive, unwarranted and unwanted. The human ego reacts by pushing back “Who are you to know what is best for me?’ Unfortunately it is often this very advice that is most helpful for us. The big question is how do you silence the ego to learn?
Another question that often comes up is “Is this person just trying to take over and dominate the situation? How do I know that his or her intentions are real and I am not being manipulated?” These are normal reactions but not helpful ones.
Before deciding on issues of importance, meditate on these questions:
- What action or decision is in my highest good?
- What decision or action is in the highest good of others?
Be open to receiving messages, you do not have to answer these questions alone.
So what do you do if the responses for the above questions are opposites? Is there a middle ground? More often the answer to the second question will be the correct answer. Dealing with your own ego and putting the good of others first is very difficult.
Consider this story:
There are some birds hanging around of different species. They are soaring on the wind, playing in the thermals and just enjoying being birds. Below them they see a younger bird that is in the thermal for the first time, trying to get the hang of how to glide with the energy. The younger bird flies to close to the ground and a coyote appears from nowhere and snaps at it.
The young bird freaks out and the rest of the birds scatter out of harms’ way, all but one that is. This one brave bird swoops down and heads directly for the coyote, scaring it off. In doing so, the coyote snaps at the wing of the brave protector and injures it.
The juvenile bird is safe but the adult protector is not. Suddenly, the protector bird dies and begins to disintegrate. After a few minutes, another larger stronger, wiser bird appears. The protector bird is a phoenix.
As humans, we have the opportunity to rise anew as a phoenix in every opportunity where we squash our egos for the betterment of others. We should not consider it a diminishment of ourselves but a “rebirth.” With each such rebirth in our lives, we move more steadily toward the realization of enlightenment.
Wasn't the most enlightened roles models we have Shakyamuni Buddha, Nikkyo Niwano, Jesus Christ, Mohammed (many others too) filled with compassion for others? Didn't they put the needs of others before their own? This is what we need to do, too. When it is in the higher good of all - be a phoenix!