Have you ever experienced the following scenario? You’ve been struggling really hard to figure something out but the answer is still as elusive as ever and you hit overload - hard.You could easily imagine sparks shooting out of your head and smoke coming out of your ears. And then there’s that smell of something burning…..
Maybe you haven’t physically had this happen but chances are you’ve felt it, and it’s a sure sign you’re thinking way too hard and those poor synapses in your brain are suffering. It’s exhausting to try to live your life this way. Instead of reaching clarity, you get confusion. Most of us call this getting stuck and we end up not taking action on the things that are important to us.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. From the time we are wee folk we’re taught to rely on our capacity to think to solve almost every problem in life. Don’t get me wrong: the amazing things humans have thought up and created are truly astonishing. But when we rely predominantly on our analytical skills, our ability to measure, compare, judge, use logic - we forget about one of our most valuable skills - our ability to tune into that inner knowing, that gut sense of what’s needed, what wants to emerge. It’s a funny thing about what’s often referred to as our “left brain” functioning: we assume that we’re processing millions of bits of data all at once as we search for answers, yet that analytical process is actually a linear, sequential one. Which means it’s a much slower, more laborious effort. It’s as though each bit of information is coming to us along a conveyor belt, one bit at a time.
Compare that to a more holistic, integrated perception which allows ideas to come to us in a flash, to see the big picture, and the next step. Ever wonder why scientists and creative types have their best ideas in the shower or after waking from a nap? They did all the mental calculations and then took the pressure off themselves by putting those calculations aside, which made the space inside them available to the solution they were looking for. You can do that, too.
Whatever you call this second way of relating to life - whether you call it using the right side of your brain or tapping into the energy of your heart or listening to that still, small voice within - doesn’t really matter. Those are just labels. What does matter is to recognize that you always have access to an innate, creative wisdom with every breath you take, and when you’re able to drop the chronic overthinking we’re all so good at, the wisdom, the creative potential, the answer you’ve been struggling to find will be obvious.
Some people refer to this innate wisdom as an inner guidance system, or GPS. It’s a kind of knowing that doesn’t require effort - in fact, it requires dropping the effort. We’ve all had this experience at some point in our lives; somehow we know without having to think about it, we’re in the flow and everything makes sense and is effortless. What’s so wonderful is that this “feature” is included with all the other already amazing capacities that are built-in when we arrive on the planet. Yet we forget about it the more we add on the bells and whistles of education, training, expert advice, to-do lists, reminders, reading best sellers in the personal development category or whatever else we think we need to be, do or have to successfully do our jobs and live our lives.
So how do we begin to drop out of our busy minds and into this infinite ground of creativity and wisdom? Here are a few ways to get us there. The most important step is to recognize when we’re caught up in a tangle of thought. Sometimes that’s not so easy to see - there’s often a lot of drama to this tangle: it often feels like our very lives are at stake. But when we do see what's going on, it opens the door to a major perceptual shift.
The second step is to let ourselves get quiet. I recently heard a wonderful speaker at a TEDx talk who created a mantra for himself by reciting the first four lines of Silent Night. By the time he’d gotten to the end of the fourth line, his thoughts had settled and he was ready for his own inner wisdom to speak to him. I have clients who take a few moments to breath mindfully, or put their attention on their heart or their hands til the proverbial dust settles.
The third step we can take is to simply listen: what comes into our awareness? Contrary to what our busy minds may want to convince us is true, the answer is always available to us. It may not conform to any preconceived ideas of what we think we should do. It may seem too simple. But we can always trust the feeling that comes with it - a sense of lightness, a recognition, an “aha” that will take us to our next step, whatever that may be.
If you'd like to continue the conversation about shifting into this "other" way of knowing, contact me here. I look forward to sharing thoughts together!