THE BLOG
01/06/2015 11:40 am ET Updated Mar 08, 2015

What the Buddha Taught Me in Sedona

Last month I was in Sedona -- one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been.

During my journey I adventured through several hiking trails -- but these weren't any trails. These places are known as vortexes, since they carry a subtle energy that comes from the earth and are known as mystical places that awaken insights.

One of the vortexes I went to was called Amitabha Stupa. This vortex was different than the others: Not only was the landscape awe-inspiring -- in it was a Buddha statue.

I have to be honest -- I've never been one to get excited by a statue or so-called monumental site. For me, all the excitement I need is in the red rock mountainous range. At first I walked around the mountains enjoying the insights that nature provided.

Finally I went to the central place where the Buddha was and decided to approach him.

Here was the conversation that unfolded:

I said to him: "I have trouble believing in you."

The Buddha said back, "You don't have to believe in me. Believe in YOU. People who worship me are misguided. That's all I have for you -- Now go on your way."

I smiled brightly and left, walking around the area, but within a few minutes I felt prompted to go back to the Buddha and give him a high five.

I know -- not a typical way to interact with a Buddha statue, but I was just following my inner guidance, and the Buddha said back to me

"Right On"

And then I said: "I think it's funny that people like you."

And he said back to me, "I think it's funny too."

And what I saw then was the Buddha has a sense of humor.

He doesn't take himself too seriously.

After all -- enlightenment means turning on the light, being the light, and seeing all things as light.

It's about having a sense of humor and seeing beyond the dogma and the so-called proper decorum of how to be.

Later that evening I told the group of women who I was on retreat with about my experience and they all laughed. One lady who had spent years of her life devout to the Buddhist tradition remarked, "If only I had known that back then."

Because ultimately -- that is the teaching:

Relinquish worshiping anything outside yourself.

Turn inwards to the teacher and guidance counselor inside of you: your inner guidance, your soul, and your spirit.

It is always speaking to you if you dare to take the time to listen.

Instead of looking without,

Look within.

This right here is the secret to being your own best adviser:

Take time for silence -- in a quiet room or out in nature. Practice listening by consciously doing nothing. Give yourself a timeout so that you can hear above the daily noise.

Then, as you practice listening, begin trusting yourself and listening to the guidance inside of you.

When you do this: Every decision in business, work, and life will be clearer.

I hope sharing this story inspires you to trust yourself and listen more intently to the voice within you.

Tova Payne is a writer and coach to soulful entrepreneurs and seekers who want to create meaningful work with integrity, inner-power and creativity. For a free guide on starting and finishing your projects and a meditation audio to gain clarity sign up at www.tovapayne.com.