Thursday, September 29, 2011
Sister of Instinct
I could keep writing about Reiki, but it seems that what I wish I could say becomes more distorted with each post. Reiki is hard to write about, but it is extraordinary. Make an appointment for an hour-long session - you'll see. Then maybe you can describe it.
On to a topic that's equally difficult to explain.
TRUST YOUR INTUITION. The teachers said that to us over and over again in massage school. It sounds right, but what does it mean? Why are we supposed to trust something that is hit or miss, that can not be quantified or "proved" by scientific methods? How are we to connect with something that has been boo-hoo'd by teachers, elders, and our society's "wise" people all our lives? It's not easily accessible after about age 7 or 8. How can we find our way back to where we can trust our intuitions? Well? What good questions!
I'm sure you've heard people say, I wish I had listened to my gut. Maybe you've said it yourself - I certainly have. That phrase refers to a flash of intuition that perhaps was not in alignment with your rational function, hence was dismissed. Later, the gut feeling proves to be a more accurate pointer to right action, right decision making, than anything you could come up with. In other words, because you dismissed the intuition, you made a mistake and now you're annoyed with yourself because you knew, in your gut. You knew. Hmmm.
But sometimes intuition is completely off the mark; why wouldn't we dismiss it? How can we learn the difference between what will steer us in the right direction, and what is fantasy or imagination?
It's all in the translation. Gut feelings often occur literally in the gut, a sinking feeling or heaviness, a mild, passing unease or queasiness. Or a lightness, a sensation of pleasure, warmth, coolness, softness, something lovely. At other times, intuition is palpable in the head by way of aches or the sudden recovery from a headache, stiff necks that come out of the nowhere, light sensitivity or other visual changes. Sometimes the heartbeat quickens or slows, becomes more steady or less so.
The point is, intuition arrives in non-verbal form which makes sense as it is not a rational function. Intuition is sensate. When we become conscious of the intuition, the rational function kicks in, supplying a story to explain the sensation. It is the job of human consciousness to choose the best possible story for what's going on. Your consciousness is full of filters based on your values and assumptions. It will create the story that seems most likely, whether or not it's true, based on what has happened in the past, according to foundational values and assumptions.
During the earthquake last month, people who had never experienced an earthquake created some pretty interesting interpretations of what was going on in the first few seconds of shaking. Lots of people jumped to the conclusion that we were being bombed - you wouldn't believe how many! Some thought there were structural problems taking place in the buildings they were in, a water heater getting ready to blow, or construction people suddenly walking around on the roof. One of best I heard was from a woman who thought at first her large dog was running around boisterously, but then she realized it must be a larger animal - perhaps a moose. Within a nanosecond she realized it was more likely that an earthquake was striking than that a moose had entered her Capitol Hill home. But her rational function contemplated the moose idea since she grew up in Maine. Wow.
When learning to work with intuition, the very most important thing is to Know Thyself. If you have a conscious sense of your values and assumptions, if you've spent some time reflecting on how you grew up and the world view you inherited from those experiences, also if you pay attention to what you're trying to accomplish at the moment when an insight arrives in gut or head or heart, then you'll be a lot closer to an accurate interpretation of the event.
I'll write about this again tomorrow, offer a few exercises and techniques for interpretation that I've found extremely helpful.
Listen to that small or not so small sensation in the body that does not correspond to sickness or injury. OK? You won't regret it. Shalom.