You Know More Than You ‘Think.’
Usually, what keeps us from knowing is thinking.
People who regularly practice meditation are at first surprised to realize they can slow down their thoughts. On the outset it’s a totally foreign idea. They think: “Where will I be if I am not thinking? Won’t I get bored?”
With continued practice thought begins to slow and stop, and meditators experience the peace and insight that comes in, between the thoughts.
The thinking mind is only one source of intelligence. Our bodies, emotions and unconscious minds also have intelligence to offer, but these more subtle cues might easily be overlooked.
Think about eating a perfect, tasty meal. Now, imagine savoring that same meal in the dark, or blindfolded. Without the dominant visual cues, your senses of taste, touch and smell increase. You might taste and smell the meal like never before. At first, though, as you took the blindfolded bites, it would be strange.
In the same way, softening our mental domination through mindfulness or meditation creates space for emotions, physical cues, intuition, and inner knowing to get more attention.
Our cultural default is not a meditative mind — a mind like a clear sky peacefully witnessing thought clouds as they pass through — quite the opposite. Today’s cultural norm is to know as much as possible about everything. We trust our thinking so much, we start to identify with our thoughts. As Descartes said: “I think, therefore I am!”
A more modern understanding shows that all of our chronic, repeated thoughts are really programs put into our minds at one point by ourselves or someone else, or in reaction to an experience…. Since most of us aren’t conscious of this natural process, we, the programmer, get stuck in the program.
This blocks our deeper knowing.
For many of us our minds dictate how and when we are supposed to do things. A mind can force the body to exercise, or it can indulge itself at the body’s expense. We can use our minds to minimize our emotions and justify actions we ‘think’ are right with or without inner alignment. Sometimes, we let our minds berate or belittle us. This is a normal power given way too much authority (Dictator). Letting the mind dictate is like letting a computer you programmed run your life… forever… with almost no future upgrades or adjustments!
To balance this, mindfulness and meditation develop our inner witness, sometimes also described as ‘pure ego-less consciousness that exists beyond the senses and the mind’ or ‘the guide.’ Your awareness is already there sometimes whether or not you know it. Mindfulness and meditation develop your conscious connection with an already natural process.
Developing the inner witness opens us up to the magic of synchronicity and the resources of the collective unconscious.
One of Carl Jung’s well known ideas is the “collective unconscious.”
“Collective unconscious… that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware… common to mankind as a whole and originating in the inherited structure of the brain.
It is distinct from the personal unconscious, which arises from the experience of the individual.
According to Jung, the collective unconscious contains archetypes, or universal primordial images and ideas.” ~ Britannica.com
Jung discovered we have access in our minds to a deeper wisdom than we can learn in a single lifetime.
It is a collection of what mankind has learned, stored deep in our own unconscious. Sometimes, our inspirations, gut instincts and inner warnings come from here.
Interestingly, synchronicity is also a concept attributed to Carl Jung:
“Jung described synchronicity as an “acausal connecting principle” in which events, both large and small, in the external world might align to the experience of the individual.”
A common example: you think about your friend and in that moment they call you.
My favorite thing about traveling during and after college were those unexpected and delightful moments I did not see coming. It was often an energizing conversation with a stranger, or the perfect cafe for me appearing at an ideal moment, or wandering into a shop where I purchased something still with me today.
Later as I began studying meditation I realized it was easier to come across those remarkable moments while traveling because I was alert to intuition and all senses, and because I did not already know what to expect.
Mindfulness helps us have that aliveness even in our daily routine. So, if there is a deeper wisdom knocking, or a mind-blowing experience waiting, we are awake enough to notice.
Ready to develop your intuition? I offer a free download here: “5 Essential Tips to Develop Intuition.”