Where is my wise mind? The easy and obvious answer–within me. But where? Many people I meet in my practice as a psychotherapist have either lost touch or never known the presence of their own wise mind. They have come to a dead end–a lack of faith in their own life. They are pushed around by painful feelings and trapped in circles of irrational thought. They may be facing terrible dilemmas. Life seems to have created a perfect situation for their emotional mind and rational mind to feel like mortal enemies. The best thinking they can muster stands in direct contradiction to their most passionate feelings, and resistance to their feelings only makes them more intense. And for many, if the wise mind is present, it feels like it is at a bottom of a well, and the well is boarded up, abandoned and forgotten, maybe even scary.
How do you find that connection that can release the healthful energy of your own wise mind into your conscious awareness? For the next several entries I will be exploring the qualities of mindful awareness, which is a practice that opens access to the wise mind.
Mindful awareness starts in the observer self. If you start observing your own life, you will notice that there is an inner and an outer life–what is inside me and what is outside me, pretty basic. We tend to call the inner our self and the outer our world, but if we carefully observe, it may not be so. For in our inner life there are many things that we can observe–the flow of thoughts, the steady surf of changing emotion, bodily sensation, states like tired, hungry, excited, or relaxed. If we observe carefully, pretty soon we realize that the self observing is different and deeper than the changing realities observed.
Observing my changing emotions, I discover that I am not my emotions–I get a little unstuck. This takes me to a place within myself that is deeper than the current feeling and I am a little more free. Observing my thoughts, I discover that I am not my thoughts. I can begin to see my thoughts and test their truth, and thought becomes more flexible and creative–more of a choice. Observing my changing states, I discover that there is an awareness that moves through all of these changing states like the sun moves unchanged through different skies.
I experience the first hint of the wise mind.