Intuitive wisdom

Acting in the present moment to make the most of your time on Earth

Ethical long term thriving

Truth and compassion

Life consists of a long series of present moments.  The present moment is where we actually live, and also where we [help to] create the future.  So it follows that we should: 1) enjoy it; 2) act wisely.  

The way to achieve compassion, the mechanics of making living beings flourish, is to put the right conditions in place, like when we tend and nurture a plant in our garden.  

This is a very different way of doing things from the one we may be used to: the intellectual, ego-driven, calculating way of trying to control results and outcomes.  The problems with this are that the mind is intimately tied up with the emotions and self-interest and is part of the ego in general, so we cannot rely on it to be objective in a long-term sense when it comes to thinking about what is best for others as well as oneself.  The ego, since it is heavily influenced by the emotions, will tend to want what feels good for "you" right now.  

We cannot control the consequences of our actions, and we just cannot micro-manage the future to the extent to which the mind, and ego, would like.  

But to put the right conditions in place for flourishing to happen places all the emphasis on our actions in the present moment; promotes stillness, and a meditative, here-and-now attitude; promotes virtue (the quality of our actions); promotes joy and optimism and cheerfulness and reduces stress (because we are building a better future for ourselves and others).  

Activity becomes a patient unfolding of events.  We trust in the wisdom of the deep intuitive process.  

 

 

Intuition

 

The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing.

Shunryu Suzuki

 

Intuition may be said to be a form of deep physical knowledge.  If, say, we are learning to play tennis, at first we have to be told what to do and to consciously follow the right moves.  But in time, and after much practice, thanks to neuroplasticity, this knowledge becomes hard-wired into the brain and we can effortlessly do it well without thinking.  In fact, if we think about it, this ruins our playing technique.  

Truth and compassion are both intuitive – we can intuitively feel them as well as know them intellectually.  Both are part of our physical reality as living beings.  Compassion, the universal pressure to flourish, the Healing Principle, is part of the fabric of nature.  Observation, awareness, is intuitive too.  

This contemplative approach to action forces the ego to take a back seat.  We can “feel” what is the right thing to do – this is the “still small voice of God”.   

Actions take place in the here and now, so therefore can be part of mindful meditation.  

 

 

Striving and non-striving

 

You can’t always cure, but you can always care.  

Ajahn Brahm

 

Striving means to focus only on the end goal.  Non-striving means to take notice of every step in the journey and to make it of good quality.  This way, if we aim high and fall short, we have still got somewhere.  

 

 

Diligence

Relax, slow down, and be diligent.  Diligence means to carry out every step of a task mindfully and properly.  If you slow down, you should find that you work faster overall, in a more relaxed and comfortable way.  

It has also been found that carrying out actions mindfully makes us more aware that we have caused them, thereby leading us to take more responsibility for them.  

 

 

How to access intuitive wisdom

There are certain strategies we can use to access intuitive wisdom and to promote flourishing in a long term ethical way.  We cannot control the consequences of our actions, only the actions themselves.  

 

 

For every ripple you push away, you'll create a thousand more

and the ripples will turn to waves

that will swell and break and overwhelm you.

Steve Taylor – from “The Harmony of Things”

 

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Jesus – Matthew 6:33-34

 

 

 

 

Objectivity

Perception, relevance, goals, discrimination, rationality

We attend to what is relevant to our goals.  In Gestalt therapy, there is the concept of figure/ground formation.  From moment to moment, what is relevant (to fitness) stands out in the foreground of our consciousness (the "figure"), and the rest is ignored as irrelevant ("ground").  This makes good evolutionary sense.  It also means that our effective perception is somewhat narrow and laser-like: we are just not aware of most of what is going on, because it is irrelevant to our needs or goals.

There are two aspects to perception:

  1. the raw data
  2. our reaction to the data –   

what it means to us – is it relevant, i.e. does it represent an opportunity or a threat?

if it is relevant, what are we going to do about it?  

This means that, inevitably and biologically, perception is subjective: we only notice things that interest or threaten "me".  

Rationality is a separate faculty from perception.  Rationality means logical reasoning, and if it is to be successful, it has to be objective rather than subjective: to not be influenced by what we like or dislike.  We can reason logically and objectively about our subjective perceptions and reactions.  If our reasoning is not influenced by our subjective likes and dislikes, then whether something is personally relevant to us becomes irrelevant, and we able to widen our view, to see more of what is in front of us: the bigger picture.  

This is particularly important when dealing with people, as it facilitates empathy.  

Objectivity can also be gained by seeing a situation from multiple viewpoints, rather than just one.  

Fixed opinions, final judgements, and complacency, are enemies of rationality.  Instead, accept the reality that you can never be sure of your knowledge, which implies the need to keep on asking questions.  

We see that everything has multiple causes and influencing factors.  Powerful situations have powerful causes and influencing factors.  Everything, subjectively, has a mixture of positive and negative attributes.  

Try looking at your situation from a “bird’s eye view” or from the viewpoint of a disinterested third party.  Talk it over with friends.  Research has shown that we are often wiser about our friends’ problems than we are about our own.  

 

 

Truth and compassion

When in doubt, be true, and compassionate.  Truth and compassion, these fundamental aspects of being human, may be accessed through the fundamental sense of intuition.  

Deception, or manipulation, or unkindness, will eventually come back to bite you, and your clever plan will be undone.  

 

 

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