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Q. Lewis, I have a friend who seems to consistently make poor choices and then insists that he followed his intuition? Do you have any thought on this behavior?
A. To begin with, intuition is the ability to immediately access and apprehend knowledge without the use of logic, or reason. Intuition is generally experienced as a; Physical sensation (a ‘gut’ feeling), an Emotion, or a mental symbol or image to which one gives meaning.
Do you feel disconnected from ordinary life, as if you are an outsider in any group of people? As if you weren’t made for this world? Do you at times contemplate living a monk’s life – thinking that becoming a monastic will solve your problems? One of the key elements in my Work, is that a core element in living the “spiritual life,” is learning to be in the world even if not of the world.
When you fully engage the world, you must do so while living a proactive life of clarity and effectiveness. You will constantly be presented with so-called “truths” that may have little or no evidence to support them. As part of this practice, you will need to seek the support of other extraordinary people, and a have a willingness to consider ideas that do not fit your personal agenda. We are all most susceptible to the influence of memes and negative “group think” in times of uncertainty, confusion, and turmoil when much of what we all consider to be “normal” comes under question. This is why the individual seeking to develop productive ways of living is calm and focused even in the most difficult and challenging times.
This is of great value when one decides to create, join or support a community of extraordinary people. Such groups often include unconventional artistic subcultures, political activist organizations, or others interested in meaningfulness. Our work can free an individual from being a rebel without a cause while offering them clarity on what is really going on. With the advent of digitally-based social networking tools like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other sources it is easier than ever to live a life of mindfulness and clarity while living in the material world.
The intellect helps us in making sense of the world. However, it does have its limitations. Intellectual knowledge implies the knowing subject and the known object. As much as modern, Western society values the intellect, and the accumulation of intellectual knowledge, the fact is that the intellect is not effective in action. Most of us act not out of knowledge but rather out of reaction to circumstance. As brilliant as a person may be when it comes down to applying this knowledge in everyday life few people are up to the task. And it is a task. Life is not a collection of intellectual ideas. It is not a process of the knowing and the known. We all have beliefs about things that are a mixture of cultural idiosyncrasies, religious beliefs, gender, chronological age, emotional maturity, media influence, sensory input, and many other factors. The intellect is incapable of defining and categorizing this vast range of experience for it is itself a part of that experience of phenomena. Intellect attempts to be objective and yet it never achieves this. Intellect is a subjective source that always seeks to ask the objective question. If the questioner is subjective, how can the answer be any more than subjective? How can the intellect grasp the intuitive nature of inner wisdom, which transcends the knower and the known? All philosophical theories are simply assumptions and guesses.
Chuang Tzu says:
“People who commit excess in arguments, like piling up bricks and tying knots, analyzing and inquiring into distinctions of hard and white, identities and differences, wear themselves out over vain useless terms…All these are superfluous and devious growths of knowledge and are not the correct guide for the world.”
The mind is always seeking the truth. Yet for thousands of years, great thinkers and writers have pointed out that truth cannot be put into words. Some of the basic laws of physics like the concept of love or truth are not easily inexpressible in words.
The writings of many great thinkers indicate they realized that the farther a person’s desires went outward into the external activities – the achieving of great intellectual knowledge, gathering great wealth or achieving fame – the more entangled one would become in the material world. They also knew that such external entanglement and emotional chaos would inhibit accessing inner knowledge.
There is an inner wisdom that we all possess and often this wisdom will contradict what seems logical at the moment. How can this be? One explanation is that the laws of logic, no matter how objective they seem to be are still about the subjective, for thought is subject and logic comes from thought. In the mind, everything is theoretical, and reality is simply a special case of the theoretical. Our common reality makes perfect intellectual sense if not looked at too closely, but in time, we soon learn that it is impossible to live in any intellectual concept of reality when there are so many contradictions arising. Eventually, our minds and our emotions will declare war on each other. This is not intuition, this is lack of clarity.
Are you looking for the key that will open the door to your next to get you to the next level?
Consider Personalized Coaching with me. Send me an email at LewisCoaches@gmailcom and schedule a free session.
On June 15, I will be offering my first public learning program in over ten years. This online course on Critical Thinking A-Z will give you the essential tools you will need to recognize the biases and logical fallacies that will to lead you down the wrong path and away from Mindfulness.
This is a perfect time to refocus on what is really important in your life.