We ALL have access to more wisdom than we know. The thing is that the incessant, (often quite shouty, in my head...!), ego-voices more often than not drown our small, quiet, wisdom-voice out.
I had the most amazing experience of the power and potential of this small voice on my way back from a retreat in Essex with my friend and colleague, Ann Ross.
We'd arrived into Paddington Station earlier than we'd thought we might and we were in time to catch an earlier train back to Devon. The choice we are faced with was to rush a bit to get the earlier train, or to take our time, have some lunch at the station and wait for the train we'd planned to get on.
In that moment my ego-voices got going, trying to second guess what Ann might like to do; trying to do the 'right' thing by her, and me. And I got lost, I couldn't decide: I didn't know what to do.
I told Ann as much: the usual: 'I don't mind... What do you want to do?'
Ann (in her wisdom) turned the question back at me and gave me the opportunity to see my own wisdom in action:
What does your wisdom tell you to do?', she said.
Now that can be a super-annoying woo-woo question which well-meaning coaches throw at their clients in a slightly cliched, slightly makes-you-want-to-punch-them-square-in-the-face, kind of way. But there something about the way Ann asked the it, and the space that we'd been in for the last few days and hours, which made me listen to that question properly.
I stopped for a moment, got quiet inside, and let the small voice speak....And to my surprise, it did! Super clearly and succinctly...: 'Get the next train.'
I was gobsmacked. I remember thinking: 'I know what I want to do, clear as a bell!'. And most significantly for me, I remember witnessing that what I wanted to do felt so true, so powerfully true, that I had the courage to speak it (without all the usual ego-chatter/ second guessing what's going on for other people: what will people/ Ann think of my decision/ desire).
And that's what we did. We spent a very pleasant hour pottering in the station, taking our time, buying some coffees and eating our lunch, and then off we went to our appointed train.
I've played with my little voice ever since. It's AMAZING what I know!
If I notice my mind getting busy and chattery, I stop what I'm doing. I get quiet and listen. Sometimes I ask a question, sometimes I don't. (The more I practice acknowledging the presence of this voice, and allowing it to speak, the more just being aware of my busy-ness and ego-chatteriness does the work for me.)
For example, this morning I was caught in a thought-storm of egoistic thinking - it felt like the walls were closing in and there was no way out - every way I turned I saw more problems. The ego-voices got louder and louder until I was so confused and noisy in my head I couldn't think straight. I surrendered to the fact that I really didn't know what would be the best thing to do to support myself, and immediately the small voice spoke and told me to forget all the 'to dos', to go home, have a cup of tea, and take it from there.
The answer which comes when I surrender to this small voice, is always something which looks after my best interests in that moment: take a break, eat something, go to the toilet!, sit back down and get on with the article in front of you, call a friend, go for a walk, GO HOME and take it from there.
There's an infinite number of responses available when we stop and listen, and I love seeing which one's going to show up. Whatever the response is: it's always got my back.
Ego-voices have become so LOUD in our society that we've forgotten about the small voice. Or, we're so noisy up there in our heads, we can't hear it. Next time you notice you're up in your head and you don't know what to do, or you're not enjoying life/ the thinking you're having, try having a listen.
That voice is always there, and we always know what to do for the best, even when we think we don't.