by Lynn Roulo: The Sufi poet Rumi once wrote, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen…”

Awaken
We are faced with choices everywhere, and the modern world operates at an ever-increasing pace, offering us more and more options while applying more and more pressure to choose well. Did you know you are exposed to more information in a single year than your grandparents were in their entire lifetime?

Decision-making is arguably the most fundamental factor determining the quality of our lives, and from what you eat for breakfast to where you go to work, your choices dictate the direction of your life.

With so many choices and so much pressure, it can be difficult to know when you are making a choice from a place of fear and contraction or a place of awareness and expansion. We all have an inner voice, but it often sends conflicting messages. How do you know when you are hearing the voice of your soul or the voice of your ego?

The Voice of Your Soul

The voice of your soul (also called your Higher Self) is your intuitive knowing. It’s when you know something with complete calm and clarity, but you don’t know how or why you know it. It is like an undeniable instinct that offers you clear direction. This clarity transcends practical logic and comes from a realm of higher vibration.

The Voice of Your Ego

The voice of your ego is also present in your life decisions, and even very self-aware people operating at a high vibrational frequency must contend with the voice of their ego. At a fork in the road, this voice comes from a place of fear and contraction and relies on external factors. It is the voice that urges you to stay in unhappy situations and brings decision-making that is narrow, limited, and fear-based.

Four Tips to Tune Into Your Soul Awareness

How do you know if you are hearing the voice of your soul or the voice of your ego? Here are four tips to help you distinguish between the two.

  • Is the voice’s message calm and consistent, or does it jump around with an emotional charge?

Your Higher Self has a calm, consistent message it sends. The message does not deviate, and there is a gentle and centered nature to the voice. It will feel like a soft, quiet drumbeat. In contrast, the voice of your ego jumps around and can be emotionally charged. It is erratic and sends you many mixed messages about what to do. There is anxiety in the messaging, and there can be a frenetic quality to the direction. It is as though nothing feels right so the ego tries many different paths.

If you hear a calm, consistent message, even if it doesn’t seem based on facts or logic, that is probably the voice of your soul.

  • Is the inner voice soft or harsh?

Beyond the actual instructions your inner voice offers, there is a quality to the sound vibration. The voice of your soul is quiet, soft, and soothing. It isn’t self-deprecating, critical, or aggressive. It offers kind support and a sense of neutrality.

On the other hand, the voice of the ego is shrill, hard, and rigid. It is directive, urgent, and fear-based. It offers criticism, blame, and has an emotionally loaded quality to it.

If your inner voice is soft and supportive, that is probably the voice of your soul.

  • Does the choice feel like “shackles on” or “shackles off?”

Martha Beck’s book “Steering by Starlight” offers a simple exercise when faced with a decision: when you imagine one option, do you feel like you are putting shackles on your body, or does it feel like you are taking shackles off? In other words, does your body contract, do you feel sick to your stomach, do you feel a tightness in your chest? Do you feel like you are on your way to a jail cell? That’s “shackles on”.

Now imagine the opposite. When you think of the opposite choice, how do you feel? Do you sense a surge of energy in your body? Does your body feel relaxed and expansive? Can you breathe deeply? This is “shackles off” and may feel as though you are being freed from jail.

The voice of your soul leads you to a feeling that the shackles have come off, whereas the voice of your ego leads you to a feeling that a set of shackles are going on.  Seeking a “shackles off” decision is a good way to align with the voice of your soul.

  • How much are status, hierarchy, and mental projection part of your decision making criteria?

The soul is very uninterested in status or hierarchy. This is because the soul has no mental image for its journey. It has a unique path it wants to follow and is not overly concerned with how others perceive it. The soul seeks equality, understanding each soul’s journey is unique, and no one is “better” than anyone else.

The ego is very interested in hierarchy and issues of image because this is how the ego understands itself. If you want to do something because you want to be perceived as “that type of person,” check yourself. This is likely the voice of your ego. Your soul  is much more indifferent to these issues.

Choices aligned with your soul often make no sense to the outside world and may look illogical. The soul has its own compass and doesn’t rely on the reflection of others.

Fate versus Destiny

Why is it important to tune into the voice of your soul? Kundalini Yoga teaches that each person has a unique destiny, a mission that they were put here on Planet Earth to accomplish. But without hearing our higher self, most of us will not discover this destiny and instead will live out our fate, the life that is a result of unconscious living and rigid thought patterns. The goal of each soul is to find and fulfill its destiny. And the voice of your soul is the way to decode this message.

About the Author

Lynn Roulo is Kundalini Yoga and Enneagram instructor who teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She’s the author of two books combining the systems, and she blogs about living in Greece and her journey from being a San Francisco CFO to an Athens yoga instructor.