Inner Compass

Find Direction in Life



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.

As the video says, a compass helps you explore new terrain, and it also can help you find your way back to where you came from.

Use a Compass: If you have a compass handy (such as on a phone app), explore what it’s like to use one. Can you tell which way north is?

The Inner Compass

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 our conscience: an inner feeling or voice that guides you toward what is right for you.

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 Heaven” 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 to “seek the divine … in your heart.”
  • Islam talks about it 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.


  • 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

What Do You Truly Want?

  • What do you truly 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 too much, your inner compass can help you know 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 there’s no answer at all. That’s fine too.


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

Try this:

  • 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 movies
  • Share experiences you’ve had following your inner compass

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly."

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.

Little’s Corner

What does your heart say about how to treat others? What helps you feel peace inside? Color the compasses pictures below. Then draw something helps you feel peaceful.

Optional Activity: Make a Compass

If you’re looking for something even more hands-on, consider making your own compass craft.

Materials needed:

  • Paper plate
  • Push pin or metal brad pin
  • Pipe cleaner


  • Write North (top), East (right), South (bottom), West (left)
  • Push the pin through the middle of the plate
  • Attach the pipe cleaner to the push pin, so you can point it to the directions on the plate
  • You can now move the “needle” to different directions like a compass.

For a more scientifically accurate home-made compass, see “How to Make a Compass” on WikiHow.