I was reminded this weekend of the way in which contemplation changes the way we make decisions in our lives. Scot (my husband) is in Florida for what is supposed to be two scheduled art shows. Taking this trip required hours of driving and being away from home for two weeks, hotels, food, gas, etc. The trip in an of itself was a gamble as you never know how art shows are going to go, and as a result, Scot had serious reservations about even going. I remember the conversation we had prior to his departure and the conversation we had last night after realizing the first show had not met his expectations and now he had to decide whether to absorb the cost of staying for another week to do the next show, or pack it in and come home.
In normal decision making, we gather information, make a list of pros and cons and try our best, using logic and past experience to determine the proper course. Frequently, we make the decision because this is the only or best option available, as in a job search where only one offer is made. In these situations, we make decisions using our head or based on what is presented to us. The end result of these kinds of decisions are sometimes good, but just as often leave us wanting or wondering if there is something better for us out there.
As we embrace the contemplative life, we find that our decision-making process is dramatically altered. Rather than making decisions based upon limited information or using only our heads, we turn to our higher power for guidance. Rather than trying to figure it out with logic, information, what makes “sense”, we bring the decision into our meditation and prayer so as to be open to the decision to be Divinely guided, not guided by our ego, fears, false perceptions and compulsions. We ask ourselves the question, “What is God revealing to be in my highest good in this moment?”
Allowing contemplation to be a tool for decision-making, we set aside our typical criteria based on money, position, status, power and logic and open up to a journey of faith and trust. We look to the Divine to reveal the path that gives us peace, allows us to experience joy, to know love more fully and to more fully utilize the spiritual gifts God has given us. We allow ourselves to be open to that which brings expansive freedom into our lives. And, we allow ourselves to be open to that still small voice within that whispers the truth that frequently defies logic. This process through which contemplation is engaged to assist us in our life decisions is called discernment.
This is the process Scot and I discussed as he faces the decisions around his Florida shows. I invited him to go within and seek the answer that seems most life-giving, to look for the decision that gives him peace, supports joy and inner freedom. I invited him to set aside the money questions, the “what ifs” and the unknowns and to plumb the deeper layers of his consciousness for the higher truth within. Then, once he has a clue of what this truth might be, TRUST IT!Making decisions of this sort definitely require a leap of faith and the fruits of these decisions sometimes mature slowly, but the end results always support our journey toward freedom and peace and the revelation of our highest truth and are greatest gifts. Only in surrendering to the deeper truth within are we free to be the unique vessels through which the peace and love of the Divine continues to be revealed in our world. And it is in being this vessel that we truly know freedom and peace.