Dina Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of The Path and a certified meditation teacher. Her inspiring and engaging meditations show us how to be authentic, loving, and true to ourselves. Her guided meditations can be found on the Muse app in the Happiness, Muse Mindset Talks Collections. Read more below as she shares her perspective on developing self-trust and listening to our voice of intuition.
We all have an inner voice. If we slow down enough, and if we calm our minds, we can tune into it. And it will guide us.
The great meditation teacher Thom Knoles calls this our “faint level of feeling.” It is an inner knowing, like a voice coming through us.
And if we listen to it, it will speak up more. Like all of us, it wants to be heard. Seen. And acted upon. The incredible thing about this — is that it will always guide us to the right answer.
Because in the meditation world, we know that we can become our own greatest teacher.
Uncovering the Voice of Intuition
It’s easy to fill our lives with busy. Buddhist monk Sogyal Rinpoche calls this “active laziness,” the filling of our lives with unessential tasks so we feel full of responsibilities or, as he calls them, “irresponsibilities.”
I get it. We are seduced by the incoming. Emails, WhatsApp, and Instagram messages. But if they dominate a few hours of our day, that becomes a significant portion of our lives.
We fill our lives with busyness — phone calls we schedule that we don’t need to, appointments we make that aren’t necessary, work lunches and business dinners we attend but don’t need to be part of, all this keeps our mind full of noise. And, literally, “busywork.”
It drowns out our voice of intuition.
We can hear it if we slow down. If we spend time in nature. If we go offline for a few hours a week, or even better an entire day. And then, perhaps, two or three days. And if we meditate.
If you practice mindfulness, you have probably heard the voice in meditation. The sound of a deep knowing. If you practice mantra meditation, perhaps you have heard it during the day, hours after meditation. But you know when you hear it.
Because it is clear. And calm. And guides us towards exactly what is good for us right now.
Trusting Your Intuition
The next step is to trust the voice. In mindfulness, we say that our bodies carry even more wisdom than our minds. Our bodies carry the knowledge of our past experiences, and all of the lessons we have learned, which is why our greatest wisdom comes from ourselves.
Our intuition can tell us small things — whether to head to an event and, if we do, when it is best to leave. And it can guide us on big decisions, about whom to marry, where to live and whether to stay or leave a profession.
But it will only speak to us consistently if we follow it. This is the art of building trust in ourselves.
How to Build Self-Trust
In The Path’s Meditation Teacher Training program, I talk about how Buddhists take five ethical vows, called the Five Precepts. They are no killing, no stealing, no lying, no sexual misconduct, and no intoxicants. Since taking these vows, I feel that I’m able to walk into any room with confidence, knowing I am doing my best to live an ethical life.
Live Your Values
It is important to reflect about and decide on which ethics or values you wish to live by and to closely live by them.
This helps to keep your life simple, in a beautiful way. It gives you a foundation. I took the Buddhist vows, and they are my core, more important to me than being American, a meditation teacher, or even a woman. They are a source of great strength and confidence.
Whatever ethics you set for yourself, let them lift you up. Let them build your confidence. And your trust in yourself.
Schedule time to slow down and be present. Meditation is such a useful tool that can help teach us to see what really is, rather than the story we can so easily create around something. It can help us to experience our actual lives, rather than getting caught up in a swirling tempest of thoughts.
You can also create self-trust by coming to the world from a place of kindness. The Dalai Lama is famous for saying his religion is kindness. What if you decide to always give people the benefit of the doubt? What if you make the conscious choice to live lightly, letting small things go and walking away from bad people or situations rather than stewing about them or letting them make you feel bad?
A third way to build self-trust is to follow an exercise I learned in the online program Finders Course, where they suggest doing three random acts of kindness on a given day. You could also try doing this every day! Text a friend who is having a hard time and let him know you are thinking of him. Send flowers to a family member, even distant, for no reason. Give money, if only a dollar, to a charity that does good in the world. When we are kind, we fall more in love with ourselves, and with this, it becomes easier to trust ourselves.
As you work on self-trust, practice living exactly in the present moment. See what is around you, in your physical environment, when you walk around, and also when you sit to read or work. Experience your life as it is, slow down, listen to the wisdom in your body, and you will learn to trust yourself, knowing you have the best answers to everything in your life. Enjoy this freedom of being able to rely on the most important person in your life — yourself.
Dina Kaplan is Founder of The Path, which teaches meditation for the modern mind. The Path has taught thousands of people to meditate around the world and at festivals including SXSW and Sundance.
Dina is a certified meditation teacher and leads meditations around the world at conferences, for large and small groups, brands, corporations, and individuals in Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Iceland, across the U.S., and elsewhere in Asia and Europe. She has studied and practiced dozens of meditation techniques, including Vipassana, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Vedic (or “mantra”) meditation, loving-kindness or (“metta”) meditation, and more.