Have you ever had an experience where you felt like you were chasing yourself round in circles in your mind?
Should I do it, or shouldn’t I?
Is this job for me, or not?
Shall I stay with this person, or not?
Do you remember the feeling of intellectual ping pong that was going on in your mind? Maybe accompanied by feelings of tension or stress. The intellect desperately trying to “fix” this situation so that it will “fix” these stressful feelings.
It’s doing its best but it has no idea.
Because do you also remember having a moment of clarity? You had a new idea or you were suddenly compelled into action or into making a decision. There was an obviousness of what to do. It felt right — without it needing to conform with anything that had gone before.
The former is an activity of a mind that is desperately trying to find the “right” answer. Lost in the belief that what’s gone before must have the answers for now, and that what others are already doing must be a route to safety. Frantically looking through the same old filing cabinet again and again and again. Hoping that if it looks this time the “right” answer will be found and all will be OK.
The latter is the natural design of the system. It’s wired for fresh insight and realisation. The moment we stop the frantic search it’s like we’ve connected to the wifi and opened up an infinite well of possibilities and fresh ways forward. From there the concern for things like “what will others think” or “is this allowed” disappear and action just happens.
The intellect, the one searching the filing cabinets, was desperately trying to find the “right” answer to fix this stressful feeling of not knowing what to do. And all the while, its very activity of desperately trying to find the “right” answer was, in fact, both creating the stressful feeling AND covering up the capacity for insight, realisation and the fresh, perfect answers for this moment, now.
The intellect has no idea. From its limited perspective it thinks its scurrying will find an answer when all it’s actually doing is keeping the current experience in play, and clogging the pipe for the source of real answers to flow through.
The intellect imagines that “right” is a real, tangible, definite thing. There is no such thing as “right”. Not as a rule that can be followed over and over. What’s “right” for this moment and with this person now, is different to what’s right for that very similar but slightly nuanced moment tomorrow, or next week.
The intellect is like trying to use a great big hammer when the natural design provides a finely tuned chisel.
Notice where this is happening for you. Notice where you’re caught up. Notice how, the instant you ease off the pedal of intellectual analysis, something fresh comes to mind, or an activity is done which feels relaxing and head-clearing — which then enables a fresh idea.
We really don’t need to work so hard. There’s nothing to fix. The system knows what it’s doing.
Test it and see.
With love, Helen
Thank you so much for the reminder that answers often don’t exist in the swirl of the monkey mind chasing its tail round and round. I’ve learned that much wisdom lives in the body. When we drop into our bodies–all the way down to our feet, ideas, inspiration, solutions emerge from our guts and hearts in the quiet of the breathing in and out, the deeper place inside. Meditation continues to provide a window to the calm place, the quiet witness within, the inner fly on the wall that holds the wheel of our internal GPS.
I love this Laura “the calm place, the quiet witness within, the inner fly on the wall that holds the wheel of our internal GPS”. Meditation is definitely a great way to access our innate brilliance and was part of my journey into seeing I was more than my head! The work I do now enables people to live in a meditative state rather than needing a practice of meditation – not that practicing it is off limits if that looks like something to do. People just tend to find they don’t need it because they see how that calm place is ever-present. The ground of all experience.
Yes I have had those serious intellectual battles and your last line is what came to mind: try it.
You will know soon enough what is right for you and I would say, trust your intellect and no one else’s. During a very serious time in my life I had a very good friend listening to my problems. It was key at that moment for my side to be heard and trusted and she helped me out a great deal by trusting what I was feeling and saying. Crucial to trust yourself and sometimes very crucial to trust what others are telling you-even though you might think it is just their ‘stress’ talking.
Thanks Laurie, yes we have definitely been trained away from trusting ourselves and instead been told to listen to others for advice of what to do – we’ve just been gathering more intellectual data to give us the ‘right’ answer when in fact our innate briliance beyond the intellect is designed to come up with the perfect thing to do now, for this situation – and all the easier the less we try to intellectually figure it out.
That’s why so many are struggling with coronavirus, because it’s coming into stark reality that there is no ‘right’, and there never was, and their existing intellectual databases don’t have answers.
The intellect has a role to play but it’s in serving the fresh thoughts that appear. Until now we’ve had the intellect promoted to the role of captain when it’s perfectly suited to implementation of ideas, after the real captain – our innate brilliance – has set the course or given the inspiration. Hmm there might be a post to write with that metaphor 🙂
I love the self talk that makes me think Helen. I like this article too. Thank you 🙏🙏🙏
Copied here from LinkedIn – not sure where you’ll go first 🙂
Thanks Paula. Could you help me understand what you mean by loving the ‘self talk that makes me think’. I’m pointing to how we get stuck in that self talk with no visibility or clarity of how to move forward. Most people don’t love that bit. Apart from loving it when they realise it’s not who they are, because then they love it from a compassionate standpoint, knowing it’s all that could ever be happening and that there’s nothing to change in it.
There is an inner wise voice within…that wants the best for you and loves you…self talk and self love….Without belief in self… how does one manage?
This is Helen, I just forgot to log in!
Ah ok! Thank you. So that self – the true self – yes, full of love. There is nothing else. We don’t need to believe in that self. It just is. And it’s at the heart of all experience. Whereas the idea of self, the one that thinks it needs to be believed in, that’s the source of limitation and fear and is the one which veils the true self.
Inherent within an idea of needing to ‘believe in myself’ is the inherent risk that at some point I might not, or I might forget. And then what?? That’s how the fear and limitation arises because that activity of thought tries to get us to walk an exhausting tightrope of keeping on believing in ourselves and not falling off on the “wrong” side off the line.