You Can't Manage Time, But You Can Manage Yourself. Here's How
How do you put the power of your own inner voice to work for you? By developing your ability to hear it through conscious contact. By learning to distinguish the difference between direction based on human training and guidance from your inner voice.
The easiest way to learn how to do this is with a technique I call "two-way conscious contact." In its simplest form, two-way conscious contact is a “things-to-do list” on steroids. But once you learn to do it, see the evidence, and trust it, you’ll find that it’s so much more than that.
I’m going to use the terms prayer and God as I explain how to do this, but don’t get hung up on semantics. The point is to communicate with your higher power, and you can call it whatever you want.
So-called time-management experts tell us to start each day by making a to-do list. I have a couple of issues with that. First, you can’t manage time; time simply is. A minute is a minute; an hour is an hour. You can’t do anything about that. What you can manage is yourself; you can’t manage time.
Second, and more important, is that creating a to-do list on our own, without contact with the inner voice, blocks us from knowing what God wants us to do. We stay in warrior mode; we come up with a list of human tasks: things we need to do for business, household chores, and social or community work. When we use two-way conscious contact, we open that process up to a much larger universe.
This is how I learned to do two-way conscious contact, and it’s how I still do it. I go to a quiet, comfortable place where I won’t be disturbed, and I clear my mind of human thoughts. I don’t think about what might be on my agenda, about the meetings I have scheduled, about the work I need to do, about what others might be expecting of me.
Then I sit back, close my eyes, wait for thoughts to come to my mind, and write them down. I don’t analyze or judge or critique; I just write what thoughts come to me and only those thoughts. By that I mean that if a thought is about my needing to do something, that’s what I write down. If it’s just a name or a place, I write that down. I don’t let myself get distracted at that point by thinking about how I’m going to get a particular task done, why I’m being given a name, or any other details.
Remember that thoughts will come and go quickly, which is why it’s important to have a journal in front of you when you do this. When the thoughts stop coming, I express my gratitude and use what my inner voice has told me as I get on with my day. I open my eyes, look at my list, and I know what I need to do that day.
It really is that simple. Don’t be tempted to take this incredibly powerful tool and make it complicated; that would be your human training taking over.
It’s been my experience that two-way conscious contact is most effective when practiced daily. Do it every morning, and the creator will tell you everything you need to know for that day. Remember, we’re made to live in the present—not in yesterday, not in tomorrow. You won’t get a solution to every problem or a plan for every idea. You will get exactly what you need for today and only today. Often what you get for today is designed to prepare you for tomorrow. As I’ve already said, having plans and goals for the future are great, as long as you recognize the difference between planning for the future (which creates feelings of peace and security) and trying to live there (which causes anxiety and fear).
I’ve developed these guidelines for practicing two-way conscious contact from my own experience and from what I’ve been taught by my coaches and teachers:
1. Do your two-way conscious contact first thing in the morning, before you do anything else, even if you have to get up a half-hour earlier than you do now. Find a place where you can relax, be comfortable, and be undisturbed. Make it clear to the other members of your household that you need them to respect your need for privacy and solitude during this time.
2. Use a journal and write down your initial prayer and all the answers you receive. I’ve found that writing by hand, as opposed to using a computer or recording device, keeps you in closer contact with the inner voice and the messages it’s sending. It’s just as important to write your prayer as it is to write the answers. Also, you’re going to want to refer back to your notes, so write them in a permanent place, like a journal, that you will keep.
3. After you write your initial prayer, sit back and let your mind go blank. As thoughts start to come, write them down—all of them. Write the good thoughts, bad thoughts, reasonable thoughts, logical thoughts, crazy thoughts, and holy or unholy thoughts. Capture them immediately without judging.
4. When the flow of thoughts slows down, stop. That means you’ve received all you need for the day. Don’t force it.
5. Test the answers to confirm if they’re coming from God or your own human will. The test is simple. Just ask yourself if the thing on your list has the following characteristics:
In the Inner Voice community, these are known as the four absolutes. If the answer you receive is all four of those things, you’re getting divine guidance that’s safe to follow. If anything about the thought is dishonest, impure, selfish, unloving, or hateful, then it’s not from the creator of the universe.
6. Obey! You have to do what you’re told. I admit that this is an area that has challenged me—and still does occasionally. But I’ve learned that when I don’t obey my inner voice messages, a crisis often shows up. When I go back through my journal and see what I have and haven’t obeyed, I can see clear patterns of evidence concerning why I should have done what I wrote down during my two-way conscious contact.
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