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Feeling Our Way
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Everyone has an agenda. Everyone has something they want and are attempting to get. Desire fuels motivation on this planet of ours; it's the human condition. Buddhism speaks to that craving for satisfaction and achievement by offering up a philosophy based on becoming aware of this basic human drive and taming it. The Dalai Lama is perplexingly patient, for instance, and head-scratchingly cheerful in his displacement from his kingdom; that is the Buddhist way, the Middle Path. It will all come out in the wash.

Not all of us are so passive. Tearing up the headlines around the world, it appears that a large fish tried to swallow a little fish and a giant fish came along and swallowed both. That would be, in turn, Georgia, South Ossetia and Russia.

Georgia, a post-Soviet satellite state, has been a personal project of George W. Bush's in the last years, its leader a favorite of his and its future pushed forward by our eager president who has been trying to legitimize it with NATO membership. It has been important to him to groom an ally in close proximity to our old Cold War enemy. The Russian Bear has long looked across those invisible lines we call borders with grumpy interest.

In the last few days, Georgia has inexplicably attempted to absorb Russian-sympathetic South Ossetia and had the Bear land on it with both paws; this has put the international community on high alert, and reminded the world how dicey international affairs can be. John McCain is taking the opportunity to sound like John Wayne and Barack Obama, on a brief vacation, is urging stern diplomacy.

There is more than a tad of logic in considering that we are probably having a well-timed Republican moment; a Wag The Dog event of tragic stagecraft and political purpose. Buzz is that it began in the crafty but morally-unhinged mind of the Vice President of the United States; that's the Russian point of view and there appears to be a sturdy thread of connection between this event, Cheney and John McCain's Neoconservative advisors to further its credibility.
Military might is the preoccupation of both Cheney and McCain. Far-right pundit Pat Buchanan, who is in a position to know, has said that, "McCain makes Cheney look like Gandhi." I urge you to view two YouTube's -- here and here -- and pass them around; they are stilted, of course, but they say a good deal about the Republican candidate. There is no inclination toward peace in this man, who too often appears incompetent.

Everybody wants something. John McCain wants to reclaim Republican rule and extend their proposed thirty-year reign of this nation by another four, or perhaps eight, years. Frankly, I don't know what would be left after another few years of Republican leadership; to those of us who value the Constitution, the role of Congressional oversight, and the protections of ethical public policy the nation is barely recognizable as it stands today. At the very least, McCain would reconstitute the Cold War; warring and militarism are how he defines himself.

How we define ourselves tells us a good deal about what drives us; that's why our goal of authenticity is so important. It's not that we so often plunge ahead aggressively to achieve those things that underpin our psyches; not many of us are self-starters. More often we are simply opportunistic in grabbing what presents itself and turning it toward our goals.

Politics, of course, is usually defined as a game of chess, so there is a longer view in political opportunism; in our individual lives, we're more playing Chinese Checkers, leaping over obstacles and trudging toward our long-range desires. Carefully choosing our next play is the art of the game -- but the art of consciousness is in choosing only the moves that are ethical and meet our soul's purpose.

We are creatures of both instinct and intuition; instinct comes from our mammalian DNA, while intuition is a faculty of Spirit. Both of them are working overtime but most of us choose not to notice. If we had no news, no government, no neighborhood organizations or tribal families to inform and police us, we would still be successful as a species following our instinct and intuition; perhaps more than we are now. The more removed from these vital capacities we remain, the less aware we are of our authentic personhood.

The more we are in touch with our intuitive gifts, the more we will know which game board moves are appropriate for us and which to avoid. Developing our intuition is a matter of trusting Higher Self to float up the information that we need at any given point.

For the purposes of this discussion, let's differentiate between emotions and feelings. Emotion is that highly charged state that comes upon us, described in the East as the restless tiger pacing the jungle of our minds; we are advised to simply watch it pass, uninterrupted. Feeling is more in tune with our intuitive capacity in that it sends a signal advising us of the energy we are dealing with.

Feelings are like signposts; they function to inform us of the terrain ahead. We cannot, in actuality, get our feelings hurt -- that's our ego that's yelping. But we can get painful feelings from another person who does not seek our well-being; more likely than not, they are more mindlessly focused on their own desires than on anything we might need from them.

That doesn't make them evil people; that makes them asleep to themselves and others. Our intuition can spot that weakness and wave us off well in advance of damage. We will come to depend on our intuitive sense in the coming months and years, so here are a few hints on how to develop this skill.

Developing the capacity to accurately define the message your intuition is sending you is a critical tool we must not overlook. While some of these instinctive feelings we experience may not match the outward appearance of our situation, my rule of thumb has been to carefully scrutinize the totality of a circumstance when I get an intuitive flash.

If there is a weak point in a situation -- a point in which we will be called upon to bend our ethics or our personal moral code, where we may get in over our head and come to conflict -- our intuition can wave us off well before it happens.
If we factor in that piece of intuitive information as logical instead of speculative, we can sidestep situations that will challenge us unnecessarily. Susanna K. Langer bridged that gap when she said, "The wide discrepancy between reason and feeling may be unreal; it is not improbable that intellect is a high form of feeling -- a specialized, intensive feeling about intuitions."

If we will sit quietly and connect our attention to the area of our solar plexus, we will find that there is energy there we may not have noticed before. People speak about their gut feelings; they're talking about this intuitive center. Learning to involve this energy receptor in our decision-making requires us to trust that it has something viable to tell us. We trust our minds to inform us, we trust our feelings to connect us to our hearts; why shouldn't we trust our bodies to give us vital information?
Take some baby steps in exploring this capacity. Next time you are in the presence of someone you do not trust, put your attention on your solar plexus. What is it telling you? Is your stomach tense or jumpy? Now, check with your solar plexus when you're in the company of friends and loved ones. Feel the difference: honor the information.

If you learn to gauge this vibratory language, it will give you enough accurate information to allow you to trust what you are sensing; once you begin to factor it into your daily life, you will never be without an early warning system. In every situation in these next days, go to your gut. Learn its subtle language. Then you will be able to extend that skill into decision-making.
For instance, what if you are thinking about a job change? Can you imagine yourself in that position? You can? Now get quiet, close your eyes and project yourself into the seat behind the desk; visualize yourself doing the work you want. How does that feel? What is your gut telling you? You may be surprised to find yourself less than comfortable.
At minimum, our intuition can show us where we will be challenged and get us in touch with the psychic spots we're overlooking. We tend to get unrealistic about what we think good might be, as well as overly anxious about what bad looks like. While, given the nuances of life, there is essentially neither good nor bad, there is certainly another option: what works. Your gut will tell you what works, if you will pay attention.

Planet Waves
Red light, clear road. By Danielle Voirin.
You may wonder if you can trust what you're receiving. Once you have learned to interpret the messages your intuition is sending, in my experience you certainly can. After years of working with this energy, my gut has three basic modes and they are effortless to decode. When things are fine in any given situation or with any person, I feel a green light. When there is something I haven't seen, or energy that is less than productive, I get a flashing yellow in my mid-section, telling me to take it slow. When there is danger of any sort, there is red; a stop sign. Simple to sort out.

And there's another signal my solar plexus lends me, rarely but potently; I haven't felt it in years, but early in my learning curve it informed me. I call it "the smiling bear in the cave."

When I was less than attentive to what my gut told me, when I charged ahead into peril of some sort which ultimately fell apart and sent me spiraling downward emotionally, that damned bear that lives in my solar plexus would start to smile. It wasn't an "I told you so," kind of smile; it was a "There! Do you see? Can we move on now?" grin that both annoyed me and gave me hope.
The first time I felt it, I was shocked to discover I was carrying around some smart-ass entity in my stomach; after a while, I learned to call it a friend: a dear, dear friend. If you are ignoring the wisdom of your gut, you are missing a link to Spirit that you need more than you know.

Rabbi Yehuda Berg of the Kabbalah Centre referenced this connection to Spirit when he wrote:
"A human being in its inactive state is naturally connected to the Lightforce of the Creator. Imagine a line extending from you and reaching up to the Upper Worlds. If we sat still and did nothing from the day we were born, we'd still be connected. But the moment we opt for the desire to receive for the self alone over sharing, we sever the line, if only for a split second. On a very basic level, we need to understand that if we want to be connected to an infinite, unending source of happiness, then our thoughts need to be the Creator's thoughts. And the Creator has a one-track mind: how can I help?"
Everybody wants something. Our desires push us forward but they also push others aside; if we are to be true to ourselves, we must tap the potential of our intuitive mind, reaching into higher thought to keep balance in a dense world. If we've been taught anything in the last 8 years, it's that life is NOT black and white.

On the surface, Russia looks like an aggressor today. Peel a layer and perhaps there is more to the story than we imagined. Peel another, and we may find the situation has been manipulated for reasons we might never have dreamed.
Nothing is as it appears, and we must come at life with all of our intuitive skills engaged. Our ability to behave authentically and appropriately will require all the nuanced information that our heart, mind AND body have to give us. Trust me on this; or better yet, trust your gut.

CORRECTION: In last week's piece, I identified Lammas as also called Imbolc; rather, Llamas is sometimes called Lughnasadh. Imbolc, also called Candlemas or Ground Hog Day, comes in early February as the precursor to Spring, much as Llamas is the precursor to Fall. Apologies for the mixup.

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