06/25/2011 11:39 am ET | Updated Aug 25, 2011

Decision Making: Resolve Conflict and Find Your Inner Power

Have you ever noticed that when you have a thought, feel a feeling or hold a belief, you often carry thoughts, feelings and beliefs that are diametrically opposed to it as well? For example, if you're very angry with someone, you may also feel love for them -- or maybe just a desire to feel love for them -- at the same time. Or, if you're certain something is right for you or someone you know, there may also be feelings of doubt that there's something you're missing or not so sure about.

You get the picture.

It seems to be human nature, or perhaps just a cultural phenomenon, to pretend we clearly know which point of view or belief is the best one and then to vehemently defend, justify, explain and try to prove why this perspective is right and all others are wrong. The thing is, when we do this, we can get very stuck and actually prolong the natural process of selection that we call decision making.

Decision-Making 101

Let's examine how decisions happen. Most people think they discuss, debate or figure out the best action to take and then they take it. Well, it's not quite that simple. If you notice what's happening inside you when you try and make a decision, determine the best path or know what's correct for you, it's a very different process.

What happens is that you experience conflicting thoughts, feelings and beliefs arising together in consciousness -- either in polite debate with one another or having a full-blown cat fight. Once a point of view prevails over the other conflicting ones, you say you have decided. In my experience, that's not what's happened at all. Instead, the conflicting energies have temporarily subsided and we proceed as though we've decided. This gives us the illusion of being the decider.

You Are Not The Decider

The problem with thinking we're the one who has decided is twofold. First, since we're assuming we've decided even though that's not what's actually happened, we may find ourselves disappointed when our "decision" does not always go the way we planned. Also, because the thoughts and feelings that did not prevail have only gone temporarily underground, they often re-emerge at an awkward time and create renewed conflict. Or, they may continue to run in the background of your subconscious -- subtly or not so subtly -- sabotaging your efforts to move in the direction "you" have decided to go.

I'd like to share with you two ways to resolve the inner conflicts we all experience in a more masterful way.

1) Stop being the inner traffic cop.

Take a moment to think of a decision you're trying to make, and instead of doing the usual inner or outer debate, experiment with this exercise instead. Allow yourself to simply welcome all the conflicting thoughts, feelings and beliefs you have about the conflict to come up into your awareness. And, just for a few moments, stop playing favorites or trying to be the "traffic cop" and simply let them have at it with each other.

As you get out of the way, the easier and faster this is. The more you get out of the way, the more you accelerate the process, and the opposing energies on both sides dissipate. Very quickly, you'll find you either become clear with regard to your decision, or you simply find yourself engaged in action, moving forward and feeling a lot lighter and much more conflict-free.

2) Allow the conflicting energies to dissolve into each other.

You can also welcome the conflicting thoughts, feelings and beliefs and then, instead of taking sides, allow the opposing energies to simply dissolve into each other. You can do this by welcoming both points of view as best you can. Or you can simply allow the conflicting energies to surrender to each other. This may seem strange, but when we have strong points of view we have invested some sense of identity in them, so they seem to have a mind of their own. If you allow these opposing mini-minds to surrender to each other, they both dissolve, revealing the clear space of awareness that you are.

These techniques are not substitutes for right action or for critical thinking. They are just aids in cutting through your inner clutter. The benefits of doing either technique are far greater than just the ability to accelerate the decision-making process. What you will find is that as you open to this way of making decisions, something inside of you will relax, and you'll find yourself naturally trusting your inner knowingness -- the inner power that is the way.

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