Here’s a drawing of how the principles behind the human experience work together with our brain to create our experience of life:
At a limited view, we are only aware of our own thinking, and it appears to us as objective truth, even though it only exists in our own thoughts. Then, as we expand into another level of consciousness, we become aware of the subjective nature of our thoughts, which are often different to other people’s thoughts. Expand further, and we become aware of two different kinds of thoughts – the ones that come from our brain (i.e. memory and received knowledge) and the ones that seem to download into our brain (i.e. inspiration, intuition, and wisdom).
An even deeper understanding reveals that we live in a world of Thought – that in fact, we’re not designed to experience anything else. This is the first real recognition of “the human matrix” – that things are definitely not what they seem, no matter how real they look, taste, smell, sound, and feel. Beyond the human matrix is the deeper or “Universal Mind” – the intelligence and energy behind life.
After 25 years of coaching individuals and groups from nearly every walk of life, I can say with confidence that the people who do really well over time are often not the smartest, or most well-read. They can be introvert or extrovert; seemingly self-assured or apparently neurotic and insecure.
What they all have in common is that they have somehow stumbled across the secret of operating in harmony with that universal mind. They’ve learned to switch off their personal thinking just enough to open up the space for a deeper wisdom to come through. It happens spontaneously in the shower, at the gym, or driving in to work; on walks in nature or sipping coffee in a cafe. For some, it’s a more formal ritual – a meditation practice in a darkened room, or a prayer to a higher power and a surrender of individual will in favor of divine guidance.
In short, whether they describe it as intuition, insight, common sense, or the voice of God, they have a deep relationship with and abiding faith in the wisdom within.
To use an analogy, our minds have two modes – receptive and active. When our personal mind is in “receptive mode”, our thinking settles down and we gain access to a kind of an inner genius – an intelligence that comes from somewhere beyond our personal database which will guide us through even the most difficult of circumstances. When our “personal mind” is in active mode, we access our intellect – a kind of a processing capacity to quickly sift through available information in support of a specific result.
Both modes of mind are useful, but most of us use the processing capacity of the intellect as our primary means of navigating life and the guiding wisdom of our genius intelligence only when we “really need to”.
The benefits of reversing this pattern are immediate and universal. As your intellect settles down and your intelligence kicks in more and more, you will:
- feel more at peace
- have insightsmore often, both simple and profound
- get “philosophical” about life and take things less personally
- connect more deeply with others
These are not goals to be achieved – they are the natural result of using our minds more in line with their design. Your intellect will still be there when you need it but it will no longer try so hard to run the show on its own.
Here’s a metaphor I sometimes use with clients:
You wake up in a completely darkened room. At first you remain completely still, too afraid to even move, but soon you realize you are not alone. There are others there with you in the dark, and they have learned to function relatively effectively.
Many of them have simply memorized their way around a relatively small area so they can navigate it with confidence as long as nothing out of the ordinary comes to pass. Others have maps, carrying the accumulated wisdom of others but difficult to read in the dark and easy to misinterpret.
There are some who act as a light in the darkness, filled with the flame of their own wisdom and casting enough light to both draw others to them and guide them forward.
But the secret that so few teach because so few know is this:
The divine spark of wisdom is alive and well in all of us, just waiting for the gift of our own attention to help it burst into flame.
How this inner wisdom helps us in the outer world is the subject of the next two sections…