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The Power of Waiting When You Don’t Know What to Do

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“Waiting is not vain hope. There is an inner certainty that the goal will be reached.” ~I Ching

Waiting has got a bad rap in modern Western society. It is not surprising that I had to turn to ancient Chinese texts ( I Ching) to find a good quote to start this article with. We don’t like to wait! It’s much easier to find quotes on the internet about “seizing the day.” make something happened

I have been an impatient person for most of my life. I wanted something to happen to me! In my 20s, I had a distinct agenda: to finish college, start a career, get married, and have a family. So I declared a major and started reaching my goals. When it was time to get married, I chose the most suitable person and got married.

I didn’t really know much about waiting. I used to think that if I didn’t have courage and faith, I would do it. It was just an excuse not to act. I know better now

What I’ve learned since then is that waiting is one of the most powerful tools for creating the life we ​​want.

The ego, or mind, is very uncomfortable waiting. This is the part of you that pretty screams, “Do something! It’s better than nothing!” And because we are such an ego-driven society, we can find many outside voices to back up that message.

The mind hates uncertainty and would rather make mistakes than simply live in ignorance while the correct course is unfolding.

I have a favorite word to describe this uncertain place. It’s liminal. A marginal space is at the boundary or boundary of possibilities. This is a place of pure potential. You can go in any direction from here. There are no bright lights or clear signs that say ‘walk this way’.

Boundary space can be very uncomfortable and most of us tend to run through it as quickly as possible.

If you can slow it down instead, the scenery will gradually become sharper, similar to how your eyes adjust to a dark room. We start using all our senses. The ego wants a brightly lit superhighway to the future, but real life is like a maze. increase. Moving forward requires an entirely different set of skills, but waiting is one of the most important.

There’s a right time for everything, and often it’s not the time we want (now, or even yesterday). It happens at a subconscious level, within ourselves and others, to prepare us for the next step. It happens often.

When you look back on your life, you see this pattern. First, look at the decision you forced. What happened to them? Then look for times when you “knew” without thinking about what to do. What happened then?

The key to the second kind of decision is waiting For a deep sense of inner knowledge.

That doesn’t mean you can be sure that everything will go your way. Or don’t be afraid. But there is a feeling in your body that says, “Yes, now is the time.” This is likened to the urge migratory birds feel when it’s time to leave town. They don’t debate whether to go or look up maps or calendars.they just go when the time comes.

We are animals too. We have an inner sensitivity that can be cultivated that makes it easy to know what to do at the right time. But to do so, we have to unhook the mind. Thoughts are useful up to a point, but we usually go far beyond usefulness!

Over and over, we consider different options, trying to predict the future based solely on our hopes and fears.

We endlessly talk to others about what to do and hope they answer us (and ideally we try to get everyone to agree).

We base what we “should” do on a variety of external measures, such as common sense, morality, religion, family values, and finances.

And we usually add all this together to get the best shot.

A better way is to examine what you know (and, more importantly, please do not I know) and… wait.

If there is an action that calls for you, even if it seems irrelevant to the question at hand, do it! Then wait again for another impulse to move. Instead of waiting passively, wait actively. In other words, align your inner senses with your impulses and intuitions. Expect answers to come.As I Ching Wait with an “inner confidence that you will reach your goal.”

This is not the same kind of dithering and procrastination that comes along as we do. want Try new things, but be afraid to step into the unknown.If your intuition is pulling you in a certain direction and your heart is screaming at you “stop!” Ignore your heart by all means.

There’s a subtle but very real difference between fear (reluctance to do what you want) and anxiety (warning that a decision that looks good on the surface isn’t right for you). .

In both cases, seek and trust your inner depth of knowledge, even if it says you think differently. A friend told me that her father’s best advice to her was that “deciding to get married should be the easiest decision of her life.” Wish I knew that when I made my own (very vague) decision!

My head was saying this was a smart thing to do and he was a nice guy. But my gut was nowhere near onboard. I still vividly remember the many internal debates about whether or not to marry him, and even the dreams that revealed my inner resistance. Unfortunately, I went with my thoughts rather than my instincts.

Now I know this: If you have to talk yourself into something, try waiting instead.

Ignore the voice in your head telling you that you need to make a decision now. Don’t rush life. Stay in marginal space and see what sitting in uncertainty reveals. Learn to trust your gut more than your head. Trust that the right course will unfold at the perfect time. And when the time comes, do it as easily and naturally as a bird takes off.

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