Instruction Manual: How to Use Your Inner GPS
You get in your car and punch a destination into the vehicle’s GPS. A pathway appears with explicit directions on how to get from where you’re sitting to where you’d like to arrive. Your only job is to follow the arrows. The GPS will even adjust its route if you go off-course. As long as you know your final destination, you can trust that the navigation system will get you there.
Humans have their own internal GPS—a powerful tool that’s easy to use. The problem is that most of us don’t even know it’s there. Perhaps you conceptually believe in an internal GPS, but you don’t really understand it or how to access it.
If you take the time to understand how your own internal guidance system functions, you can actually get to where you’re going much faster than you would otherwise. As a result, your suffering is reduced and your joy and well-being is heightened.
The happiest people on earth share three fundamental beliefs, happiness researcher Marci Shimoff says in her book Happy for No Reason. These fundamental beliefs include:
- The Law of Attraction: Meaning, you get what you give
- The Law of Universal Support: The belief that the Universe is a fundamentally friendly place, conspiring for our highest good
- The Law of Expansion: Meaning, that which expands us makes us happier
The law of expansion is an easy-to-use intuitive tool that can help you navigate to your endpoint. The only requirement is a willingness to quiet down long enough to check in with your inner feelings, sensations, and emotions. This is the type of work yogis and meditators practice all the time.
Don’t worry if you’re not accustomed to turning within—as opposed to using an external device or person for guidance. It gets easier with practice.
You can use your inner guidance system to get you to any destination. Shimoff says she uses the law of expansion for a variety of decisions—from figuring out what dish to order at a restaurant to making big life choices.
Want to feel rested? To continue with our GPS metaphor, try plugging “REST & REJUVENATE” into your inner guidance system. Then sit quietly for a moment while it computes the results. Your inner guidance will inevitably tell you to take a power nap or sit for a brief meditation in order to feel rested. While you might think that plunking down in front of a reality TV show might be the way to rest, your inner GPS will re-route you if you choose a less restorative path. It will always steer you down the most efficient route.
Now ask your inner self which choice gives you a feeling of expansion. If your brain wants Bravo, but your inner guide expands and lights up at the thought of the meditation and quiet nap, then you’ve found the route straight from your inner GPS—the answer that more accurately aligns with what your inner being desires.
And here’s a bonus tip: Following your inner guide will always make you proud.
Making Big Life Decisions
When the stakes are higher, making a decision can be difficult, even paralyzing. Check in with your inner GPS when you’re faced with choosing one life path over another.
Follow these six steps to get you there:
- Look at the fork in the road and identify the two options ahead of you. For example, it could be: Do you take the job offer or Do you stay where you are?
- Sit with option one and daydream about what it would really feel like to go that route. If you’re contemplating taking a job offer that would result in a pay increase and would require you to move across the country and leave family and friends behind, let yourself go down the mental and emotional pathway of what it would feel like to take the job. Feel out not only being at the job, but all the details that come with the change.
- Notice how it makes you feel in your chest and gut. Do you feel open, expansive, motivated, and excited? Or do you feel contracted and knotted up in your belly, like you’re nervous and homesick all at once?
- Imagine option two. In this example, you’re staying in your current job with the same salary, and nothing really changes.
- Notice again: How does this second option feel in your bones?
- Acknowledge which option feels better in your heart space. In which situation do you feel vital, enlivened, and internally wide open? In which situation do you feel restricted, constricted, and tight? Trust your observations, and remember that whatever expands you will make you happier.
The Road to Happiness
For most of us, the ultimate destination on our GPS is happiness. Remember that every day you’re either walking toward or away from happiness.
It’s never too late to change your route or destination. The clearer you are at the start, the less time you’ll spend circling your destination. Circumstances will sometimes take you off-course. In these moments, remember the power of your own inner guidance system. When you slow down and check in with this sophisticated technology, you will always be able to find your way home.