Inner Compass

Align With Your True Self

 

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Watch “How the Compass Unlocked the World” (3-min video) from TED. It explains the basics of the compass and where the idea came from.

Discuss:

  • How would you answer this question — “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

From the video: “The compass is everywhere because it’s literally how we find our way across the face of the earth. You can go off and explore and find out what is over that next hill or that next horizon, but you can also reliably find your way home.”

In other words, a compass helps you explore new terrain, and it also can help you find your way back to where you came from.

Optional Activity: If you have a compass handy (likely on your phone), you might demonstrate how you can always use it to find North no matter where you are.

The Inner Compass

Explain that just as a physical compass shows the way to go so we don’t get lost, we all have access to an inner compass, which is similar to the word conscience: an inner feeling or voice that guides you toward what is right for you and others.

Wisdom traditions from around the world have spoken about the inner compass:

  • Judaism talks about a “still, small voice” that guides us.
  • Hinduism talks about “the golden city of the heart.”
  • Christianity talks about a “Kingdom of God” that is “within you.”
  • The Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius writes that you should, “Dig within. Within is the wellspring of good, and it is always ready to bubble up if you just dig.”
  • Sikhism says, “God dwells inside everything; Seek the divine, therefore, in your heart.”
  • Islam talks about God being nearer than your jugular vein.

In each case, there’s a belief that you can access inner guidance that will point you in the right direction. The concept is real, but it is impossible to fully convey in words. We each have to experience it for ourselves.

Discuss:

  • What names could you use for this inner guidance?

A few possibilities:

  • Inner compass
  • Your true self
  • Your best self
  • Intuition
  • Conscience
  • Heart knowing
  • Love
  • Spirit
  • God
  • Inner light
  • Inspiration
  • Revelation
  • Pure awareness

Share that there are some outside voices worth listening to — trusted adults, friends, and siblings. But none of them should eclipse our inner knowing of what is most generous and loving.

What Do You Want?

What does the best version of yourself want?

What does your heart know is right?

What does your inner compass point to?

Asking yourself these questions can help you find peace. For instance, if you’ve been watching TV or playing a video game, your inner compass can help you know when it would be best to take a break. Or your inner compass might nudge you to be with someone who seems lonely at school. Or it might help you discover what you love to do in life.

To find your inner compass, take a moment to tune into your heart and reflect on what the best version of yourself would do in a situation.

Try this:

  • Breathe out slowly three times.
  • Put your hand on your heart.
  • Let your mind become still.
  • Notice how you feel in your body.
  • Ask yourself what you feel in your heart about what would be a good thing to do right now.

Sometimes the answer is to not change anything. (Keep doing what you’re doing!)

And sometimes the answer is to change what you’re doing and do something brave, kind, or difficult — something that helps you grow inside.

And sometimes there’s no answer at all. That’s fine too.

Just like a physical compass shows the way to go so you don’t get lost, you always have access to your inner compass. It guides you toward what is right for you and others.

Reflect:

  • What are the things we can do to be still and listen to our inner compass or inner voice?

Ideas may include:

  • Create times of quiet and stillness
  • Set aside some time to be away from technology
  • Be in nature
  • Express gratitude to each other
  • Say one kind thing (from the heart!) to each other
  • Pray or meditate
  • Read wisdom literature or poetry
  • Watch inspiring films
  • Openly share experiences you’ve had following your inner compass

Optional Activity: Chant

Sing “Listen, Listen, Listen” (6-min video), which is a chant that can help you center on your heart.

“Listen, listen, listen to my heart’s song.
Listen, listen, listen to my heart’s song.
I will never never forget you.
I will never forsake you.”

This simple chant can be repeated until a break feels natural.

“Your first task is to find the place where your soul is at home.”