The understanding that each individual has their own connection to the Great Universal Intelligence is the basis of our democratic way of life.
Democracy is a social system that is based on the right of each individual to be who he or she is. All democratic societies are based on the idea of respecting the individual's right to live life as he or she deems best – as long as the individual does not interfere with the rights of the next person to live his or her life as he or she feels is best.
This system of governance is based on the understanding that each individual is unique and has an idea of (and access to) what feels best for them. In other words, each person has an inner knowing or an "Inner Compass", which is, at all times, guiding that individual in the direction of what is best for them at any given moment in time.
The founders of the American Declaration of Independence understood this and so wisely wrote in 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Respecting The Rights Of Others
All the laws in our democratic societies are attempts to regulate the interactions between individuals based on this concept of freedom so that we each respect the rights of others while attempting to live our lives in the way we each deem best. And of course, this can, at times, be very difficult and challenging, and this is also why we live in societies that are law-based. All our laws are an attempt to regulate this interaction as fairly and justly as possible.
In short, you can say – in a democratic society, you have the right to stand on your head all day long, if that's what feels right to you, as long as you don't interfere with my right to stand on my head all day long, if that's what feels best to me. So this freedom goes both ways, allowing each of us to live as freely and fully as possible while respecting the rights of our neighbors to live their lives as freely and fully as they can, and as they deem best.
Unfortunately, in my work as a therapist and coach, I've discovered that even though we live in so-called "democratic" societies, many people in families and couple relationships don't respect the rights of their respective family members to live their lives as they think and feel is best. Instead they often try to shame, blame, manipulate, or coerce other family members into living life the way they believe is best for them. And this is not only extremely disrespectful, it is also the cause of much disharmony and abuse in many families and relationships.
Sadly, this misguided behavior is caused by a fundamental lack of understanding that each individual is a unique creation and has an Inner Compass, which is always guiding them towards what feels best and most harmonious and joyful for them.
So the idea of consensus – as nice as it sounds in theory – cannot really work in families unless there is first, a deep understanding and respect for the fact that each individual family member has a unique destiny path, which is based on the information they are receiving from the Great Universal Intelligence via their Inner Compass.
It is important to remember there is no "right" way – no "one size fits all" for every member of any family. Families like societies are multifaceted and constantly changing.
Consensus Or Flock Mentality?
It's also interesting to note that from an early age, children in school are so influenced or guided (or misguided) by peer pressure or the power of the group. The longing to be liked and accepted, the fear of being disliked, or criticized, or mocked, is so great in most that it takes an awful lot of courage for a child, or young person, to think, be, look, or act "differently". To stand out from the crowd or flock.
When you combine this with the fact that most children have not learned from their parents that they have a right to be who they are and to follow their Inner Compass, it's easy to understand how peer pressure can get ugly and turn into "mobbing" or bullying, with all the psychological and emotional damage that ensues.
Teach Your Children Well
When we go a little deeper, we discover that what's going on today with children is a logical consequence of what children have learned from their parents. Because the reality is, most parents are also terrified of being different, of not living up to what they perceive to be the "right" way of looking, acting, or living in their particular group – which might result in being criticized, judged, or God forbid, excluded, or ostracized from the flock (the tribe, the group, the family). So how can parents teach their children to be respectful of each individual's right to be who they are, and listen to their Inner Compass, if the parents themselves are too insecure or afraid to do this?
The basic problem here is the misunderstanding or ignorance of the basic principles I am writing about in this book, Find and Follow Your Inner Compass, which include the basic principles of democracy. And because of this lack of understanding, parents do not act as if they know and understand that each person has a right to be who they are and that each person has an Inner Compass.
So how can they teach this to their children if they do not understand and practice this in their own daily lives? Until we as adults understand the mechanism of the Inner Compass and all that it entails, we cannot expect the behavior of children at school to be different. Being inclusive comes naturally when we understand that everyone is a unique creation and has their own direct link to the Great Universal Intelligence.
Fortunately for all of us, even if we are confused about these basic principles and terrified of displeasing others, we also know at some deeper level that this doesn't feel right. And this is because we all actually do have an Inner Compass! An Inner Compass that actually engenders a real sense of discomfort when we are out of alignment with who we really are. The other thing to remember is that everyone has a deep, natural urge within to be free. Yes, everyone wants to be free! Just think about it...
Everyone Wants To Be Free!
This is a good thing to meditate on. No one ever fights to be a slave – have you noticed? Everyone wants to be free. Everyone, all around the world, regardless of age, sex, color, religion, nationality – we all want to be free. Even little kids want to be free! Yes, everyone does! No one wants their freedom interfered with or tampered with. Just think about it. No one wants their freedom blocked or hampered.
So we discover it's our natural, inborn nature to want to be free. We're just born like that. It’s the way we are, it’s how we’re wired. Freedom is so important to us that we’re willing to fight and die for it. No one ever fights to be a slave. So that's the way we all are – from the moment we are born. And we're all like that.
No one wants someone else telling them what to think, feel, do, or say. And yet, what do we humans do? We are constantly interfering with each other's freedom – all day long. From morning to evening with all our "you should do this" or "you should do that" stuff. It's completely crazy. And it goes completely against the grain of our innermost nature.
But please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying we don't need some guidelines for healthy interaction between people. As I said above – that's what democracy is all about. But besides the basic laws that regulate our interactions with our fellow human beings, the idea that one person can possibly know what's best for another is completely absurd! Completely. Because it goes against reality.
And the reality is that no one can get inside another person's head and think and feel for them. No one can walk in another person's shoes. And because of this, no one can know what's best for you besides you!
So the idea that I could know what's best for you or that you could know what's best for me – or that you or I could possibly know what's best for someone else – is completely off the mark. Fortunately for us, our democratic society is based on an understanding of this – which is why democracy is the highest and best form of human society, because it's based on the reality of how we really are. The reality that everyone wants to be free.
So when we understand this, we can also understand that one of the very best guidelines for living happily with our fellow human beings is this: Set other people free in your mind and mind your own business! Mind your own Inner Compass instead!
The Inner Compass And Human Evolution
And finally... when we understand the Inner Compass mechanism, we can also see that human evolution and progress have occurred because someone was brave enough to follow their Inner Compass and go new pathways despite the opinions of the majority.
We call people who do this – visionaries and pioneers. But really, they are just people who are listening to, and following, their Inner Compass. They are the people who are strong enough, and have courage enough, to say, "Well yes, humanity may have been doing things like this for thousands of years, but I believe we can do things a little bit differently. So I think I am going to try this..."
This is how all the great new discoveries, inventions and works of art have come about – whether it's a Galileo saying the earth moves around the sun, or a Bill Gates who revolutionized computers, or a Bob Dylan revolutionizing music and changing the course of a generation, or gay people standing up for their human rights, there have been, and still are today, countless people who are doing things differently and in new ways.
People who are doing things in ways often turn out to be of great benefit to the rest of us. Fortunately for all of us, there have always been, throughout the course of history, people who have had such a strong sense of their Inner Compass that they have had the courage to walk new pathways.
And this is what all human evolution is about!
So if you are in doubt about listening to your Inner Compass when it tells you to tread new pathways, please remind yourself that this is what all human evolution is about.
Try to cultivate a little bit more of a sense of wonder or "beginner's mind" as you go about your day. And say to yourself "I wonder where this will lead me? I don't know, but it feels good so I am going to give it a try. It will be exciting to see how this unfolds!"
Wouldn't this be a lovely way to live?
Find and Follow Your Inner Compass: Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
by Barbara Berger.
Barbara Berger maps out what the Inner Compass is and how we can read its signals. How do we use the Inner Compass in our daily lives, at work and in our relationships? What sabotages our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass? What do we do when the Inner Compass points us in a direction we believe other people will disapprove of?
About the Author
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com