Archives For analytical mind

The day dawned and I saw the tasks before me. My heart wasn’t in it. My mind was busy trying to figure out how to return to peace.  I was in an existential crisis. All felt meaningless. Not knowing what else to do I resorted to the reboot button. I went out into my backyard and lay in the grass on the earth, staring up at the sky allowing Earth to absorb the suffering of all humanity held in my bones.

Slowly the solid slightly damp ground beneath my body started breathing with me. Earth  is so deeply wise in its transformation of what falls upon it into loam. My mind’s attachment dissolved, disillusion. Earth absorbing all of my need to find meaning, explanations, understanding, belief, disbelief, purpose. In the presence of such vast, enduring simplicity my yearnings are a pinprick.

I let it go. Not even claiming to know what “it” I’m letting go. Human suffering? Grief for all the suffering my psychic eyes see? All that cannot and will not be healed, fixed, resolved in this lifetime? Everything that is in-between me and Being-ness.  So that I can walk back to the world of, this-equals-that: time-equals-pay, money-equals-options, healing-equals-happiness. For a moment I’m not sure what I believe. Believing seems like a way to make myself feel safe when truthfully the entirety of existence is unfathomably complex.

On this patch of dirt and grass, looking up at the sky crisscrossed with power lines above my backyard, contemplating life’s mystery.  I know this much, I need nature. Earth is my lifeline. It does more than ground me. It heals me. It allows the unknown to be unknowable. It allows my mind to stop. It opens my heart. It dissolves all attempts to avoid The Divine  Mystery’s call.

I’m listening. Listening means feeling. I’m feeling. Feeling sucks sometimes. I am so glad that I feel.

I danced the night before this existential crisis at Rhythm Sanctuary. I felt discomfort, my body wanted to loosen. I was impatient with the sounds. They felt too slow and jolting. I wanted to dive in to the fire, but it was only sticks, then a spark of flint. The wood was wet and taking time to ignite. When the fire caught, my body felt rhythmic and alive. I trusted my body and it moved in all the worshipful, tribal, ecstatic ways it wanted. But my brain was still engaged. It was only when my brain stopped noticing my dance that I enjoyed how I felt.

My underlying problem is that I spend too much time in the place where my brain is noticing.  The brain noticing is critical and comparative, it wants an answer. It wants to know what to do to get to pleasure. The brain can’t get to pleasure. The brain has to lay on Earth and recognize it is simply a different form of dust. Match vibrations with eternity.

The brain must surrender its role as the keeper of the human body. It is CEO, it has enough information to lead but not the capacity that the heart has to feel, the womb has to surrender and merge, the belly has to propel. The brain wants to figure it out. It doesn’t do well with what can’t be measured and decided.  Its job is to decide, to analyze.

All misery comes from my brain yet it is my best ally. I want to train my brain to recognize when it’s trying to fix or solve something that is out of its expertise. I want it to advise me to take council with the heart, to check in with my pleasure center, to ask the skin, the womb, the voice what they have to say. The brain struggles to find pleasure.  It’s not able to manifest pleasure, only measure it. Its job is to reflect on the other aspects of me that are creating sensations through life experiences. Then select the best option.

In an existential crisis my brain has nothing to work with. All the facts aren’t facts. They are feelings, sensations, knowingness that comes from the body. There is no decision to be made. No action to take. It is a time to stop, listen and feel. Reboot. To follow the rest of my soul’s experiences back to pleasure.

The mind does an excellent job of balancing our bank account and other logical tasks. But when it looks to translate our emotional experiences or the more mystical intuitive “knowing”, it gets stuck.  Over analyzing is the number one block to our intuition. We mentally stack the bits of and pieces of our experiences next to each other looking for an answer.

There’s no winning when the mind tries to figure out what we “sense” intuitively using evidence, logic and proof. Or if it tries to figure out what we can’t know, what hasn’t happened yet or is not ready to be revealed.

The monkey mind’s searching, busy; spinning in circles on the same unanswerable thought is merely a distraction from listening. Our inner guidance can only be accessed when we stop trying to figure it out and listen.

I’m never at peace when my mind is stuck thinking and rethinking on a topic, trying to figure out what it means and how that meaning applies to my life or what I need to do in response. The mental effort gets in the way of listening and trusting the inner-knowing.

Recently I’ve been practicing “living in the question” by asking my inner-guidance a question with a commitment to not “think” about the answer.  I simply set the intention that I’m listening for an answer and put it into the universal flow to percolate.

Using this practice, I find that answers to my deepest questions don’t jump into my mind like a thought. They come through experiences life offers me that I feel a “yes” to.  And as I say yes, I realize, “Hey, this is the answer to the question I sent out to the universe.”

The wonderful thing about the mind is that we get to both benefit from its skill and direct it. To turn off the monkey mind we need to remind ourselves when there is no answer we can “think up.” The answer exists but it’s not one the analytical mind is responsible for deriving.

Here’s an experiement to practice release of the monkey mind, write down whatever your mind is churning on and if you have any possible answers already milling in your head, tell yourself that there are possibilities you can’t even imagine.  Then ask your inner-guidance to show you and set the question aside while you go about your life. This is where the magic comes. By releasing the attachment to “figuring it out” with your mind you are allowing your intuition to inform you.

Please comment and let me know what happens!

Even the best of us can be fooled sometimes, believing what we are told by someone who is being dishonest. We lean toward accepting what someone says as the truth until it strays outside of believable or we have an experience with them where we discover a lie and become skeptical.

As we cultivate our intuitive awareness, we start to notice when we receive indicators that a person isn’t being forthcoming, a gut feeling. Our belly (third chakra) tightens when we sense dishonesty. Deception is one way people use to maintain power in a situation. That may simply be due to the person’s need to feel in-control, invulnerable or to keep us seeing them in a certain light.

Recognizing dishonesty becomes trickier when the person truly believes what they are saying or feels justified in their actions. For example, a person believes that something should be theirs and steals it but then doesn’t admit it is stolen when confronted. It’s harder to “read” their dishonesty as they are sold on their own entitlement.

Or someone you go on a date with tells you they are a snowboarder and mountain biker but hasn’t actually done either for many years.  They don’t see this as a lie because they see themselves as who they were ten years ago and believe it to be their identity.  When it emerges that they aren’t actively doing these things, they may still adamantly define themselves as that person who they were in the past, rather than being honest with themselves about who they are in the present.

Being lied to and not realizing it until we’ve felt the impact of the betrayal brings up a full gamut of emotions, shame at not recognizing it sooner, feeling foolish, self-doubt, anger, a loss of our innocence in trust for others, disappointment, grief, heartbreak and confusion.

When our intuition signals to us that we aren’t getting a straight story or the person’s actions aren’t lining up with their words, it activates our analyzer. The part of our mind that tries to make sense of the difference between what we intuit and what we are being told.

Our brain wants alignment between what we perceive and what we hear. Incongruity keeps it activated, trying to make sense of the nonsense.  In this way, doubting our intuition when we perceive dishonesty, consumes a lot of our energy. Or as my spiritual mentor says, “Secrets, lies and withholds are toxic.”

To get clear on the truth, we start by noticing our body’s response. Where do we feel tense? If the belly is clenched it is telling us something’s awry. Then we take a few deep breaths to get centered and ask our higher Self some questions, listening deeply for the answers:

  • Has this person lied to me or are they acting without integrity?
  • Do they believe what they are telling me is true?
  • What does this person need me to believe about them and why?
  • Is my own unrelated fear triggering doubt for this situation or person?

Ultimately our peace comes from acknowledging the incongruence within analytical and intuitive aspects of our mind and directly addressing the person whose actions we sense are not following their words.  Encountering dishonesty can be disheartening, feel like betrayal and drain our energy. The more we listen to our intuitive indicators and trust our Self to see the situation clearly by using more than the physical senses, the less energy we will lose in the dance between analyzer and intuitive mind.

The Sizzle vs the Steak

Natalie —  March 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was talking to my brother recently about how much energy can be spent on possibilities that never come to fruition. He used a phrase that hit home when he said, “I don’t want to waste my time being sold on the sizzle. I want to be eating the steak.” Meaning, I want to spend my energy on what is real in the present, rather than chasing a future promise.

We’ve been sold on the sizzle of having our life purpose magically bestowed on us before birth. Once we figure out what our purpose is life will be a breeze.  But there’s a catch, we have to figure it out or we’ve failed.

This looks so easy for those in the limelight (athletes, actors, musicians, politicians). We’ve given them the power of our interest because they seem to have figured out their life purpose, as they are succeeding in making money doing what they enjoy, or so it seems.  Yet we also love to watch their failures to reassure ourselves that even the famous aren’t perfect and have to suffer.

The truth is that we get to choose our purpose (the steak). It’s not pre-destined.  When we struggle to “figure it out,” it’s because we believe the lie of the sizzle. We are looking for an answer outside of our Self. Seeking a sense of fulfillment from a source out in the future depletes our energy. The analytical-mind has kicked-in to drive us to find an answer when we need to be listening to our intuitive-mind for guidance.

The analytical-mind references past information and data to help us make decisions. Our intuitive-mind allows us to read the present and see what we are a “yes” to or a “no” to.  Our intuitive mind has access to our entire Being’s wisdom and assists us in recognizing the steak versus chasing the sizzle.

We’ve often defined purpose as having a passion for something.  For me writing is a passion, it gives my life meaning and yet it’s not my career nor is it my only pleasure. In fact, often I find it hard to write, to find the words to express what I feel inside that I want to share with others.  But once I do, it is such a wonderful sensation of alignment with my Self.  The dance between me and words is not a handshake that results in a book deal and assignment to complete a task that I get paid for, defining some measure of success. It’s a bridge that connects the islands of my heart, head, body and soul; then extends that connection to invite others to self-reflect or gain a deeper understanding.

I used to hold tight to words that I’d written, if they didn’t fit in the piece I was crafting, I felt I needed to save them for later lest I not be able to create them again. Now I take pleasure in deleting a sentence that doesn’t work. I trust that I’ll find a new way to express the sentiment in the right context when the time comes. I’m not hanging on to the sizzle of possibility but taking a bite out of the steak in front of me. Saying what needs to be said right now!

Creating anything in our life requires taking steps that are not an end in and of them self.  Maybe that seems like chasing the sizzle, but when we are truly present for the moment rather than putting our energy out in the future, we are eating the steak every day while we create our lives.

It all comes back to trust. When I went through my divorce at age 27 one of the big lessons I learned was that intimate love isn’t sustainable without trust. If you don’t trust your partner to consider your needs when they make choices that impact you, it disrupts the flow of love.  Yet the root of trust is in our relationship with our Self.  Recently one of my teachers put it to me this way, “You have to trust yourself to face and work through whatever life presents.”

It is not about the trustworthiness of another so much as trusting ourselves to make a good choice and to handle whatever life brings. An unspoken pain we feel when someone we trust betrays us is Self-doubt. Why didn’t I see that coming?  We may experience love and trust most measurably in our response to others but we first have to trust our Self.  Trusting our Self is an expression of Self-love.

To cultivate awareness and understanding of our intuition we have to start with trust.  It takes trust to listen to the messages from our heart, soul and body, the gut feeling or sense of what is our correct path regardless of outside validation.  We often over-analyze our intuitive insights by stacking the information up next to what we consider as facts; the provable data.

That provable data comes from past experiences, information the world tells us is reliable, evidence bent on helping us feel safe and in control of the outcome.  This logic first approach is a natural survival response, assessing the potential outcome of a choice and our safety in the situation.  Yet it undermines our inner-guidance.

Most of us can reference times in our life where we discounted our intuitive voice and continued down a path that had a less than desirable outcome.  In retrospect we acknowledged that we knew that the path wasn’t in alignment with our truth but something stopped from listening to that voice. We let the facts create doubt, or made a comfortable choice rather than one that was a bit uncomfortable which would have offered us greater ease and less pain in the long run.

Another facet of learning to trust our Self is being able to decipher when we are projecting onto a situation our desired outcome, rather than seeing it clearly. I truly believe that we have aspects of destiny at play in our lives and to meet our soul’s mission we can either do so with ease and grace by listening to our inner-guidance or we can struggle through it resisting the less comfortable path.  We’ll still get there but the journey through the lessons of our soul’s mission is more tiresome and painful when we don’t trust or inner-guidance.

Learning to trust our Self is as simple as listening to our intuitive nudges. Most often our intuition speaks gently to us and we have to slow down and intentionally listen to hear it.  It is not a drill sergeant demanding we pay attention and act in accordance to its directive.  Rather our intuitive-guidance is a resource we can choose to open up to. A partner in the path of life whom we can cultivate trust with just as with any relationship, through experience.

Recently I found myself resisting asking the universe for what I wanted.  As if outside of my life looking in, I knew that taking time to get clear on what I really wanted would benefit me. It would help me be more present and stay aligned with my truth. While self-reflecting on my resistance, I realized my inner-judgment toward asking for what I want.

Why was I hesitating?  My analytical mind argued, “What if what I think I want isn’t in my highest good?”  Or it took the position that I shouldn’t be as specific in my request, leaving it more open to the divine plan.  But by avoiding getting clear I was undermining my power to manifest and subsequently my inner-peace.

Another aspect of my resistance was fear that God would see me as greedy for wanting more than what was needed for survival.  I also worried that my desires would somehow unconsciously impact others in a negative or manipulative way.  Overshadowing all of these judgmental thoughts was my fear of being disappointed. It felt risky to get my hopes up by asking for what I wanted.

Part of me could see the fallacy in all of these beliefs.  But they felt real due to my social and religious programming. They were unconsciously blocking me.

Once I recognized them as false beliefs, I spent time in meditation looking at myself to identify, heal and release them.  I noticed that I felt the tension of these beliefs in my body just below the belly button in my second chakra, the creation energy zone.  Taking action to free myself of these blocks to creation, I visualized a bubble outside of my body, like a salve, drawing out the energies of judgment, control, fear, disappointment and unworthiness.  When the bubble was full of these outdated beliefs, I imagined it floating to a faraway mountain top and popping.  The energy was released to be recycled in the universe.  Practicing meditations that clean-out false beliefs help us create space and remove resistance.

Here are a few of the benefits of setting intentions by visualizing what we would like to create in our life:

  • Focusing on areas in our life (relationship, career, home, money, health) long enough to get clear on what it is we are seeking to experience, aligns our energy with this vision, increasing our odds of attracting it!
  • Knowing what we want and need allows us to see more clearly when we are making choices, or feeling obligated to do things that aren’t in alignment with our values.
  • Being open to the form that our desires are fulfilled keeps us in gratitude.
  • The present moment is the only one where we have power to influence our larger life experience.

Manifestation is all about the feelings we want to experience in our life. When we get clear on what we want to feel in a relationship, in our home or at work, the form those experiences take or “how” things manifest isn’t as important. Removing resistance, those beliefs that we allow to block us from having what we want, gives us more clarity. Life flows, it takes less effort, when we are clear and in alignment with our needs and wants.

Lake Austin Dock

I was at a local watering hole on the shore of Lake Austin last week, with a co-worker and some of his friends.  The topic of my hearts work, clairvoyant reading, came up in conversation. As has happened many times in my life, my colleagues curiosity set off a peppering of questions, doubts and a challenge. How is it possible to do that?  Prove it!

I was in my last two days of taking a month off from seeing clairvoyant clients to allow spiritual renewal for myself.  Austin was icing on the cake, full of inspiration, a city after my own heart, where you can take a “sweaty yoga” class from 10:30 pm till midnight on Friday night.  It was perfect timing to have my soul’s vocation questioned.

When my commitment to intuitive seeing and healing was affronted with a demand “read me now!” it was tempting to put a wall up, resist the intrusion, just say NO. But I found myself closing my eyes in a packed open-air bar asking my colleague to say his name three times, and then ask me a question.

Explaining the way I see doesn’t energetically answer the question of what it means to be a psychic who doesn’t read the future, rather reads what is blocking people at a soul level from creating what they want in life to help them heal.  Understanding it is more experiential than analytical. When I opened my eyes after 10 minutes of witnessing his soul, moving energy and being in the meditative state, I felt great.  I looked at my colleague and his entire countenance had shifted.  He was softer, had opened-up and no longer doubted. He was still curious but not demanding.

One of the root lessons in my spiritual path has been learning to have healthy boundaries around my sense of intuitive awareness.  Healthy boundaries includes taking time off to renew, saying “no” when we need to, not violating a person’s boundaries by psychically reading them without their consent.  It also means learning to not automatically empathically feel everyone around you and avoiding the temptation heal people who haven’t asked for it.  It means, distinguishing what energy is me and my experience, and what is yours and your experience.

As an intuitive our nature is to sense what is beyond the five senses in the environment around us.  It can be tricky not to take that sense of awareness too far by taking the information personally when it has nothing to do with us.  Or by matching it so deeply we mistake the emotional energy or physical pain as our own.

I responded to my colleagues demand to “prove it” because I felt relaxed, spontaneous and willing to share this part of myself with someone authentically curious.  I also wanted to observe myself reading with permission in the cacophony of a crowded bar and feel safe doing it.  As a younger woman I did not have the trust in spiritual protection to hold my space in that environment.

We all experience intuition in slightly different forms.  Some see images, some hear the voice of guidance, others feel sensations in the physical body, or prophetically see a specific future potential as destined.  Regardless of how we know what we know, there is not a need to prove it to anyone.  Our intuition is a gift of Divine guidance to help us through our personal experiences.

When we share that information with others as a professional we will occasionally be challenged by clients or strangers.  This challenge comes to strengthen our seniority in what we know. The less we doubt the validity of what we see, the more we can smile and be amused when others challenge us with their doubts.

Image thanks to http://performance-rules.com

Last week I was at my osteopath’s Dr. B, who had a student in training assisting the appointment.  As she was examining my back, he instructed her, “Listen to your right brain.  It knows where the spine is out of alignment. See how you’re hand has gone back to the same spot three times. You’ve got to turn off your left brain. It is making you question what your right brain knows.” In my world Dr. B was asking his student to listen to her intuition, to turn off her analytical minds interruptions and validate her sixth-sense awareness.

What was curious to me is that this medical doctor adamantly stated that the disrupted flow of spinal fluid could be felt without any equipment, simply touching the body and listening to the right brain.  He is very good at his work, and yet explaining how he knows what he knows to a student, was challenging in medical terms.

All good healers, whether they are doctors, dentists, psychiatrists or massage therapists actively use their intuition whether they acknowledge it or not.  My osteopath doesn’t think his awareness is of an intuitive nature.  His form of intuitive knowing is innate and he’s spent significant time cultivating it.  He doesn’t realize that it’s any different than the way his student might read a patient’s body.

We all experience intuitive data differently. While the information is the same, the way it comes to us can be a feeling a sensation in our own body, seeing a mental image, hearing a voice that provides direction or simply knowing without an indicator from one of the other five senses.

Dr. B impatiently instructed his student, “Your right brain will give you the yes. Turn off your left brain!” To cultivate confidence in our intuition, we also have to set aside the left brain analytical mind and listen for the yes.  When we are aligned with the intuitive yes, there is a sense of peace that comes even if the information is difficult.

Our sixth chakra (center of head) is where we hold both our intuitive knowing (right brain) and our analyzer (left brain).  The analyzer is trained to process facts, calculate evidence and derive answers.  The analyzer does not do well with information that has no correct answer such as emotions, bodily sensations and spiritual awareness.  That’s not its job.

Yet we try to force our left brain to process all of our experiences because we are taught that logic, science, having firm unchanging answers is the most valued in our society.  Many of the best insights into non-linear challenges come when we focus our attention away from the question and let our intuitive mind, in parallel, process the emotions and senses around it.

Repetitive, creative activities stimulate this, such as jigsaw puzzles, knitting and working in the garden.  We are present yet our left brain is distracted, giving our right brain room to breathe.  It takes practice to follow the doctors’ orders, set aside our left brain and listen to the right. It feels awkward at first, vulnerable.  Yet the more we do it, the more clearly we hear the yes, and the more our intuition informs our every experience.

Work energy is great to access at the appropriate times but it puts a damper on warm connections with loved ones and can override our personal needs, the true juice of a joyful life.  Shifting our lead energy vibration between work and non-work time can be difficult. There is pleasure derived from certain aspects of the work and it takes our focus off of other aspects of life we have less control over. Our focused, productive analytical Self is “on” and were getting things done but how do we change the tone when the work day is done?

Today I was reminded of the unspoken lesson that Mister Rogers reinforced at the beginning of each TV program.  He walked in the door of his home, took off his suit jacket and put on a cardigan.  Then he changed out of his professional shoes and into sneakers.  All while singing!  He ritualistically shifted gears as soon as he got home, to a focus on relaxation, connection and playfulness.

In addition to changing our clothes or moving into a new environment, we can consciously change the volume of certain vibrations of energy in our space.  Visualizing an imaginary gauge in front of us to make adjustments, like a fuel gauge reads empty to full, the needle can show us how full our space is of a specific energy.  Is our analyzer on 75%, decision maker at 50%, income earner and task oriented Self at 100%? What about our creative energy, curiosity, sensuality, adventurousness?

At the start of a work day we turn up those energies that will be helpful to in getting our work done.  At the end of the day imagine turning them down and turning up the volume of the vibrations you want to experience while not working.  You may also want to visualize the energy from all of your work encounters and activities moving out of your space into a balloon and either tie the string holding that energy balloon somewhere to retrieve later when needed or set it free to move out of your aura field, leaving a cleaner space for your next focus.

I’m applying the Mister Rogers principle to consciously shift my energy from work to personal time… won’t you join me?  Turn down the analytical, achievement oriented business vibration and turning up the creative, nurturing, permission to relax vibration at the end of your work day.

Photo by Patrick Yuen

Heeding the direction of our intuition sounds wise and like a no-brainer but what happens when our intuition doesn’t give us the answer we want to hear?  We all have subtle agendas behind the questions we ask ourselves. These conscious or unconscious hopes and desires create bias or resistance to the direction we receive and may cause us to negotiate with our inner-guidance.

When we don’t get the answers we want from our intuition we are tempted to change the truth by looking at it from a different angle. Being pragmatic we ratchet up the volume of our analytical mind to overpower the subtler intuitive messages. We cajole, bargain and try to talk ourselves out of what we know, or we outright rebel, doing what we want, only to suffer the consequences.

All of these inner conversations are forms of manipulation or attempts to get what we want even if it’s not the best thing for us.  Crazy yes, but we all do it.  Sometimes not getting the answer we want is simply getting no answer, and having to live in the unknown for longer than we are comfortable.  The inner-critic and task master doesn’t like not having an answer so we pressure the inner-guide to give us what we want and NOW.

The internal conversation that occurs in this standoff can be frustrating and keep our minds spinning in circles.  The worst part is that these negotiations tend to hit is in our blind spots.  We don’t even notice them happening until we’ve missed an opportunity or made a poor decision, based on our agenda rather than our intuition.

When we notice ourselves in a circular conversation that undermines our inner-guidance, it’s an opportunity to step back and take a look at the source of our resistance.  What belief is in our space blocking us from accepting a path that is for our highest good?  Is it fear that we won’t get our needs met, fear that we’ll take a certain path and fail or is someone else’s agenda in our space influencing our choice? It may even be a global or cultural fear influencing us.

Meditation, being grounded and clearing our energy space of outside influence brings us closer to our truth. Examples of these practices can be found in my other blog posts such as The Meditative Path to Clarity, Own Your Space and A Dream Come True, Can You Have What You’ve Always Wanted.  Resistance to guidance from our intuition can be seen as a reminder to align our body, mind, emotions and spirit. To reclaim our energetic space and examine what inside us would prefer to stick with a predetermined agenda rather than take a path that is for our higher good.