Using Intuition To Still The Mind
By Abraham Thomas
Intuition was a wonderful gift. It was also an awful curse. By instantly recognizing patterns, intuition was nature's vital tool for survival. Life ceaselessly faced a train of unlimited choices and, often, baffling problems. These demanded instant decisions. An animal could not remain undecided, whether to drink water, or to eat grass. Should it be aggressive and fight, run away, or relax and accept the situation? It was intuition, which interpreted events to trigger emotions. Anger made them aggressive. Fear made them retreat. And familiarity supported relaxation. Each emotion eliminated groups of thoughts. If fighting was the option, amicable thoughts did not fit. If the decision was to cut and run, it was useless to marshal one's militant strengths. The intuitive process eliminated mental activity, which did not fit the chosen course of action. Sadly, this elimination process was also the biggest weakness of the system.
Each emotion set off a focused drive seeking solutions. Anger, fear, or friendliness triggered competing drives. Intuition focused each drive by eliminating views that did not fit its compulsive focus. Anger eliminated amicable memories. Fear lost sight of fighting strengths. As any situation evolved, the emotional strengths of these partisan drives varied. Opposing emotions competed for control. Intuition acted in the emotional center, the limbic system, to select the most powerful emotion, which then ruled. If it was anger, it pulled the trigger. When the choice was made, the process inhibited competing drives, with contrary feelings. Opposing views were largely lost to consciousness.
Across species, fear dictated an escape drive, which sought safety. A deer bounded away. A bird took flight. A fish swam off. While the activities of running, flying and swimming differed, it was the drive, which achieved the objective of escaping. Each drive evaluated experience and the environment. Escape was hardly possible by heading into the predator. Getting away demanded evaluation of many escape routes, including slipping into a safe sanctuary, inaccessible to the predator. Like the underside of a rock. Drives involved a search of multiple contexts to uncover the right answer. While intuitive drives usually delivered the answer instantly, some drives failed to uncover solutions.
Modern life offered few speedy answers. Senior positions had added problems. The higher the position, more the solutions needed for the myriad problems faced by a venture. Intuition, driven by emotions, was the creative force, which delivered answers. Hidden from view, drives constantly sought solutions. While one problem was consciously evaluated, subconscious drives continued search processes to solve other issues. Since, anger, fear or jealousy powered such searches, they often sought to achieve conflicting objectives. These hidden emotions troubled the mind, creating distressing internal conflicts. Sadly, this was the negative face of intuition, standing in the way of achieving peace of mind.
Conflicting viewpoints surged in the subconscious. How could they be integrated? In a harsh and unforgiving world, how could a multitude of clashing drives be graciously focused? How could the mind be stilled? Across the ages, many solutions were offered to focus the mind and still conflicts. Meditation, chanting and breathing routines were found to be beneficial. But, those practices treated the symptom, not the problem. The long term solution was to quiet the internal battles of these competing drives. All knowledge and experience lived within. These same drives were powerful search processes, which could delve deep, to deliver answers. Unique new insights and solutions waited to be discovered.
Drives provided windows into the mind. It was a drive, which assisted in the preparation of a simple shopping list. It searched memory and current context to deliver, line by line, a list of all the items you needed to buy. By contextually searching the mind, drives could be made to play a valuable, creative role. When particularly burdened by a problem, drives could draw out a list of one's deepest concerns. With its sort facility, a spreadsheet could be used to list and comprehend the turmoils of the mind.
The routine could begin by listing, line by line, different aspects of a problem, as it came to mind. Each, a short entry in a single cell of the spread sheet. It may have just begun with, say, "Feel awful" and gone on down. That was the first thought. Many conflicting emotions surged in the background. Each line would sum up a single feeling and its concern. It could be "Negative departmental report Or, it could be just a hunch. "David will support me." The worst fears were noted down. "Mortgage payments." And the common sense thoughts. "This too will pass."
Writing a list was a calming process. The questioning drive helped still the mind. Differing viewpoints were noted down. These views would arrive in conspicuous sequence. Each entry brought one viewpoint into consciousness - into the general view of isolated and competing drives. Sensible viewpoints would normally have been eliminated from view by angry emotions. Typically, about 60 odd entries would empty the mind of every related thought. Entering opposing viewpoints usually brought balance. The inquiry process stilled background turmoil. The most critical part of this process came next.
A label was entered for each line in an adjacent cell on the spreadsheet. "Fear, "Opportunity", or even "Unlikely could be the labels. With every aspect already considered, it was easier to label an entry. Each label fitted a few more entries. The picture slowly cleared. Underground fears surfaced. Solutions emerged. The closing of one door usually opened another. Those 60 entries would fit a dozen or so categories. A "sort" of the labels column would arrange similar ones together, in alphabetic order. Listing similarly labeled ideas together would bring clarity. They became groups of consistent, allied thoughts. The sorted spreadsheet list integrated the mind.
Isolated drives were forced into the open and a balanced view emerged. Viewed together, "Unlikely put a label on needless worries. The less likely outcomes could be ignored. The inevitable ones had to be accepted. That left you with the actions you could take. "Opportunities formed the basis for a future plan. The rest of the list just climbed off your chest. Another threatening issue would have been acknowledged, accepted and foreseen. The spreadsheet evaluation balanced the mind and stilled hidden anxieties and conflicts. Lifted burdens. Anger and fear, love and altruism cooperated to search for solutions which met all the concerns of the mind. With the power of intuition, an integrated mind became the most creative force in the world.
About the author:
Abraham Thomas is the author of The Intuitive Algorithm, a book which suggests that intuition is a pattern recognition algorithm.