A friend was recently faced with a life-changing choice. She was temporarily stuck as she weighed up all the pros and cons.
Looking for some support, she reached out to me and asked for advice.
The best I could do was share how I do it.
What follows therefore is the strategy that I use after I have done all my research and weighed all the pros and cons.
Recently, for example, I needed to decide whether I should take on a hefty load of new work. I was uncertain which way to go. From one perspective, it was a good idea. From another perspective, it was problematic.
So here is how I make these decisions It is a process that I have used for a long time and it has proved reliable for me. (And God laughs when we make plans . . .)
At the end of this blog, I am hoping that you might want to add your own strategies.
Calm –> Question –> Answer
If you know me, you’ll know that I have a mind that can just whizz away. It whizzes very effectively and usefully, but sometimes I just cannot find clarity.
So I have learnt that I need be quiet and have a calm brain when I am faced with difficult decisions.
If I am speeding, aroused or anxious, then I know that my adrenalised nervous system will skew my thinking.
Especially when it is a challenging or emotionally charged decision, I can find it difficult to get calm. I have learnt therefore to locate these decisions inside my meditation practice.
Sometimes, however, I serendipitously surf a calm state, for example, when out in nature, or watching television . . . I close my eyes . . .
Inside this calm I focus softly on the issue.
I check that my breath and body stay at ease.
I then pose the issue as a very simple and straightforward question.
“Should I do this – or not?”
I then allow my body to either lean forward or lean backward.
If my body leans forward — it is a Yes.
If my body leans backward — it is a No.
It is as simple as that. I use my whole body as a dowsing rod, trusting that its intuitive wisdom will give me the right direction. (Like muscle testing.)
I 100% trust this process.
Afterwards I take no notice of any recurring anxious thoughts and feelings, except to comfort them.
Sometimes, when I am a few months into the new situation, I may have reasonable and rational doubts. I then repeat the process.
Also, of course, after a period of committed time, I may wonder whether it is time to exit. I repeat the process again.
Always, of course, this is within an ethical and reflective framework. Do no harm. Be compassionate. Do not abandon. And so on.
I hope that is helpful for some readers. And I am sure that many of you already use a similar method.
If you have your own decision-making strategies that may help others please feel free to add them.
I do the same three steps: Calm – Question – Answer. However, I add a fourth step which is sending Reiki to heal and clear negative influences causing my body to pull back from an option. Then, I re-ask the question. Often I get a different answer after I’ve cleared negative influences. To clarify further, I will imagine feeling what I want to feel in my future and sending those feelings out to the Universe saying, “I want to feel like this.” Then, I focus on the question again and ask which option would most likely help me to feel the way that I want to feel.
I first make a list of pros and cons, ethical and moral implications included. But sometimes even after that I cannot make a decision.
When I am pressed by circumstances or people to make a fast decision, I refuse to do so; I will not be pressurized. If that means that a decision is taken for me, so be it.
For very important, life changing decisions about which I really don’t know what is the best, I just wait until the right decision occurs to me and makes my whole body peaceful and relaxed. I refuse to be hurried. I sometimes had to wait months or a year to enter wholeheartedly into the right decision. That works very well for me. Until now I have never ever been sorry and could fearlessly face the sometimes unforeseen consequences of that decision, pleasant or unpleasant, with all of my being.
I use tarot cards. If I have a “Shall I do this or not?” question, I will pull 3 cards for the Yes option, then another 3 cards for the No option. The cards show me the energies and experiences I will encounter if I choose each option. I then usually have the information I need to make a decision.
Very good to read this, William! In a similar situation – after getting all the facts etc. as you wrote – I find it’s most important to give it time, not be rushed in any way (“sleep on it”). if you are facing a deadline and your process isn’t completed, ask for an extension. This gives the process the necessary time to “percolate on the back burner” while you direct your attention to other things, then come back to it, in one or more circles or spirals. – I rely on “gut feeling,” contact with my center and all that it contains and entails; often with meditation as a good help. A decision emerges for me after a shorter or longer period of time. – Maybe in one of these circles, I’d realize that I need to know more before “percolating” further. – Once I understood that I shouldn’t push myself, just trust the process, I’ve found that this works well for me.
I like to “feel into my tummy” (!) – literally, noticing how it feels when I contemplate the different options. If it feels lighter, easier, then that’s the option to go for.
I realise this is probably just a stunningly unoriginal way of saying, “Go with your gut”, or “Trust your intuition”. But it kind of works for me.
I’d add, that I usually know when I’ve made the right decision, because I feel a surge of energy to get stuck in to whatever I’ve decided, or of excitement at the prospect. If I make a decision, but feel a heaviness around it, then it’s probably not the right decision after all…
And yes, stepping back into meditation first is always a help!
That’s my tuppence worth…
My decision making process is similar to yours. It’s based on teachings from St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Basically you list the pros and cons of each decision, not so much to look over and review as to make sure you have really uncovered each pro and con.
Then you pick one decision and you live with it for a while as though that is what your plan is. You will find that your body will either clench up and tense with the decision or it will relax and rest peacefully with a decision. You may even choose to test out one decision and know instantly that your body wants to test out the other decision instead.
Good to see Ignatius being referenced here. Thank you!
When using this method or any muscle testing, firstly really important to be well hydrated. Secondly, I always check which is my “Yes”, by stating the phrase “I am strong”, whichever way I move towards is then my Yes.