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Everyone has one or more character traits that, far more than other traits, seems to rub certain others the wrong way.
(Image: "Child," a digital painting by Lumini Mattia.)
Mine is confidence. That's my term for it at least.
Far more than any other complaint ever leveled against me, those of a certain type accuse me of being "over-confident," "too sure of myself," and cruder variations on that theme.
This accusation has declined over the last seven or so years, as I have learned to recognize and temper what can be perceived as ostentatious aspects of my self-assuredness (though I?m sure I have relapses.)
But my confidence has not waned. On the contrary, during this same last six or seven years it has only increased. Remarkably so.
So just what is it that I am so confident about? And what is it thatmakes me so confident - apparently to a fault for some sour tastes? And why should this even matter to you when you?ve got so much to think about already?
Here's the number one thing you need to know to answer those questions above: when I think about things, I can have just as much fear and doubt as the next person.
And like any adult, I've got major responsibilities, such as two teenaged kids (both now with their driver's permits), my marriage, a house that needs constant attention, a Mother and Grandmother and other close relationships, health issues to improve, and career including a major client who depends on me, several websites I lead, weekly columns and articles to create, and a new book I'm writing with a coming-soon deadline. When I think about any or all of these, I can worry that things won't go right, the worst case scenario will occur, and the sky will fall.
Finally, it is also my nature to ask all the really big questions, and when I think about them I realize I don?t have any proven answers, and that could worry me to the core.
And yet I can with complete conviction say that I am actually quite confident about all these things.
So here's the second thing you need to know: though I still sometimes make the mistake of doing it, I realize that thinking about things without having first felt what is right and true is the biggest mistake I can make. Rationality before, without or despite intuition is deadly. I could fear, I could worry, I coulddoubt, but these days more than ever I let my intuition lead me instead.
To date, and though I have not always followed it (for which I've paid accordingly), my intuition has never misled me.
Since my youth I have been fortunate to retain a strong connection to this intuition. I used to believe the intuition was a special gift I had, one that others lacked. But as Einstein suggests in the quote that starts this piece, we actually all have this same "sacred gift." And all children are especially in touch with it - they have far less rational "facts" (i.e., strong opinions) to muddle their brains and so follow their intuition far more easily, enabling them, for example, to play with children of other races, cultures and religious backgrounds while the adults are busy blaming, hating and bombing the different.
Instead, the gift I have been given is a set of experiences, challenges and tragedies that have enabled me to retain a very strong connectionto the sacred gift of intuition we all own. The experiences have included being raised under the very strong influences of women, particularly my Mother and sister ? for a variety of social, psychological and perhaps biological reasons women typically are more connected to their intuition.
The challenges have included an extensive "paranormal" one that will be the topic of a future book but that might make some of the more ?rational? readers here assume I was crazy if I only cited it in passing.
The point is, through a variety of circumstances and my response to them, I have been given the gift of retaining a rather solid grip on my intuition ("rather solid" means it has certainly slipped at various points); further, through a variety of more intentional and internal experiences in the last six to seven years, I have become both more aware of the power of my intuition and my trust in it.
Meanwhile - intuitively supported by rationally --- I have realized that most adults lose most or all of the connection to their intuition.Encouraged by school and jobs and the mundane to-do's of life, they place too much emphasis on and trust in thinking and rationality to the extent that many become sad, angry, repressed, aimless, and empty, and physically ill as a consequence.
They believe the fears and doubt their rational mind creates - and it has an endless supply ? and cease to trust in themselves.
So trust in yourself. Be confident that intuitively you always have the right answer, and it is just a matter of allowing yourself to feel it. Because when you can clear through all the crust in your brain blocking you from you - not if, but when, because you can - you do have the answers. And these answers will be gracious and positively powerful. And this is the difference between conviction and opinion.
Remember that the only time you don't know something is when you think too much about it. But when you allow yourself to feel it first, you know it. When you know it, you can then allow your rational mind to serve what you already know.
This (and only this) is how human beings have improved their world, and the greater world around them. Gandhi intuitively knew peace was possible before he rationalized how he would go ahead demonstrating that. The Wright brothers intuitively knew human flight in a machine was possible before they rationalized how to make that machine.
From inventions, cures and discoveries to new music, poems and films, the creators first intuit it is possible - often despite what the "rational" thought of the times insists - and then they rationalize how to do it. Finally, they do it.
Now, in these particular times, with a particular very powerful leader who claims (or who has others claiming) that he "leads from the gut," I realize some readers may be thinking, "Intuition before rationalization can also be deadly."
"The only time you don't know something is when you think too much about it. But when you allow yourself to feel it first, you know it. When you know it, you can then allow your rational mind to serve what you already know."
(Image: "Found," a digital painting by Lumini Mattia.)
But whichever way you lean politically, and whichever politicians come to mind for you specifically when I state the following, I'm certain that intuitively you agree: my intuition tells me ? and rational facts support it -- that certain national and world leaders, despite the claims to the contrary, have completely detached from their own intuition. The world they inhabit makes it particularly easy and tempting to confuse a quest for greedy power and pride with "following intuition."
As Einstein said in the quote above, though, rationality is a faithful servant. It is also necessary to follow intuition with rationality. And when the servant called rationality demonstrates that what was assumed to be intuition wasn't true, well, it wasn't actually intuition. The master, that is, was something else ... i.e., a quest for greedy power and pride.
But back to you.
You do have the right answers. The rust and crust in your brain blocking you from you may be thick - from fears and beliefs implanted by others there since your childhood, from experiences, challenges and tragedies you have not yet worked through and whose gifts you therefore have not yet allowed yourself to receive - but the key is to clear through it and learn to (once again, as you did so well when you were young) listen to your intuition.
"Easier said than done!" some of you may be saying at this point. Ironically, that itself is a rational thought blurted out before your intuition had anything to do with it, and therefore it is a demon thought worth letting go. But whether you buy that or not yet, let?s move on by having you, if you will, do the following (and granted this exercise is in condensed mode, but you will get the idea):
Think about some serious problem you are facing, one whose answer you are unsure of or one with a difficult choice between two or more directions you need to make.
Now ask yourself, "What is my heart telling me here?" or "What do I intuitively know is right here?"Don't ask amidst the gaze and pressure of others, and don't rush it, just let yourself really listen to whatever answers surface. If necessary - and for many it is -- use a catalyst to help you listen and focus, such as music, a sunset, a waterfall, or a candle.
Did you hear that, the answer?
If you experience the slightest doubt or fear at the answer you hear yourself give, that is the crust and rust of rational thought you need to work through. There are several advanced ways of working through it that I will be recommending here over time in the free IntenseExperiences.com newsletter, so stay tuned, but for starters here is a simple way: fight fire with fire by questioning the motivation behind the fear and doubt.
I'll use a real-world example to explain this:
Let's say the problem you are facing is your job ... you despise it and you have asked yourself if you should stay in it or leave it.
That voice inside you -- the one that speaks through your heart, your feelings, however you define it -- clearly states you have to leave. But immediately you recoil in fear from that answer, perhaps as if you never even heard it in the first place. Instead you start to rationalize why you should remain in the job, at least for a while, until this happens, or that occurs, or that does.
To avoid these demons from taking over, when you ask yourself the question, teach yourself to slow down and allow yourself -- urge yourself -- to listen and feel deeply. Feel if fear or doubt (or jealousy or other negative emotions) surface with the answer. And if they do, recognize them, challenge them, and then let them go.
I'll repeat this another way since it is so essential: the key is to hear what your intuition tells you, to catch yourself if and when fear and doubt tries to deny what your intuition just said, and to question the motivation behind the fears and doubt. And then to let go of the blocks you discover and follow your intuition.
Perhaps in the case of our example, your parents or your religion when you were growing up stressed the value of hard work, and you have come to equate suffering in your work with hard work and therefore fear offending your parents or God by leaving that suffering.
Or perhaps you were poor growing up and fear being flat-broke again, even at the expense of letting your spirit be trampled. Whatever demons you discover, whatever they?re trying to manipulate you into doing under the veil of rationality, the key is to value your intuition, to listen for it deeply and follow it, and let the scary demons go.
Intend to always listen to your intuition. Allow yourself the time and focus to listen to what you?re your heart is telling you with every important question and choice you confront. And intend to follow the answer, allowing rationality to serve it. You won't succeed every time, rationality will still sometimes strangle your intuition ? forgive yourself when this occurs -- but you will get better at it over time.
You may sometimes let your intuition down, but your intuition won?t let you down. It has the answers. Though words won't always be there to explain what you discover, you do know. I am confident about this, because it?s also what makes me so confident.
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