Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Epic Struggle

The most epic struggles of human beings are those in which we battle ourselves. When the conflict is between not just the heart and mind but also that of what we feel is right and what the world tells us to do. I was recently involved in one such battle.

For years I have been teaching my participants that one’s personal values are the compass by which one should take decisions. Any decision one takes contrary to their values, no matter how sound it may be on face value, will eventually result in unhappiness. Of course in order to have this compass one needs to take a very long and hard look at themselves and find out what their values are. What defines them? What principles do they hold dear? Over the course of many years of introspection I have come to the conclusion that the one value which is of utmost priority in my life is ‘Independence’. Everything I have done or not done has been to protect this value.

I was recently offered a job and on the surface it would have meant that I would have been free of the pressure of self-employment. It seemed like a good offer and my friends suggested that I go for it. But for some reason I felt a constriction in my chest every time I thought about accepting this position. I knew that this meant violating my value and I was not happy about that. However if the situation was this simple I would have ended the dilemma there and then. But there were other more important underlying questions for which I was struggling to find answers.

Was this offer a signal from the universe to move on to another level of my career? Was Law of Attraction at play here and this had been manifested as a solution to my problems and stress? Or was this a test from the universe to see if I have the power to remain true to myself? How would I ever be able to stand and deliver my message with congruence ever again if I myself was going against it? The more I deliberated the more confused I became.

I have always maintained that growth requires getting out of our comfort zones and since I was getting uncomfortable with this situation perhaps this was the next chapter in my life’s education curriculum. Logic dictated that I say ‘yes’ but the heart said ‘no’. For every answer another question popped up. And each day I became more and more miserable. I felt as if a heavy weight was bearing down upon me. Each time I imagined myself in that office my heart started pounding.

Being a student of NLP for over 20 years, I have developed a fairly strong bond with my sub-conscious and I’m usually quite receptive to the signals it gives me. When my discomfort wasn’t helping me arrive at a decision, thankfully my sub-conscious took the matter in its own hands. During one of my meetings with my potential employers I suddenly got a massive headache. That headache lasted for over 24 hours and no amount of medicine had any affect on it. It was the worst headache I have ever suffered in over 25 years! Our sub-conscious is much more powerful than our conscious mind. It is always a step ahead and I believe the statement from the Quran that God is closer to us than our jugular and if this is the case then I think He communicates to us through our sub-conscious. Many people unfortunately have become very adept at ignoring this communication. The communication comes as ideas, thoughts, flashes of images but when we pay no heed to these then it resorts to more tangible means like a child saying ‘hear me, hear me’ and when we don’t he tugs our shirt to get attention. The sub-conscious does exactly that…when we do not hear what it is trying to say it sends its message as a physical sensation. The more ignored it feels the harder it tugs i.e. the sensation becomes painful just like my headache.

In the end I listened to my sub-conscious, I went the way of my heart and refused the job. The immense relief I felt let me know that I was right. I had passed the test life had thrown my way and in the process I had validated everything I had been teaching for so long.  Some people may find it strange that a simple employment offer could trigger such a conflict, but I believe that every major decision we take in our lives requires us to take a long hard look at ourselves. This whole episode taught me one very important lesson – sometimes temptations come into our lives masked as opportunities. We should definitely avail opportunities in our lives but not at the expense of our selves.