Intuitive wisdom

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

Life consists of a long series of present moments.  The present moment is where we actually live, and also where we 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.  





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.  




Slow down and be diligent.  This means to carry out every step of a task mindfully and properly.  If you slow down, you should 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






Judging introduces subjectivity – how you personally feel about something – but, important as this is, it is a separate issue, and is not part of the objective reality of how something really is.  Observe and acknowledge your emotions as a part of the overall reality of the situation.  

You know how you feel about something, what it means to you, but can you see it as it really is?  Our perceptions tend to be tinged with meaning, coloured by our beliefs, and by our emotions, reflecting our hopes (about opportunities) and fears (about threats).  

Judging means to make a final decision that something is a certain way.  

If you’re only seeing things from one angle, that excludes all the other angles. Therefore you are not seeing the situation in the round; you are not seeing the whole picture.  

Everything has multiple causes.  

Everything has multiple aspects or facets – some “good”, some “bad”, some you like, some you don’t.  

Every situation has multiple influences acting upon it.  The more and bigger the influences acting on a situation, the more significant the situation is likely to be.  

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.  



Lateral thinking and perfect compassion



When you act, each person affected by your action, including yourself, is to receive the maximum benefit and least harm available to them.  

Perfect compassion



We could define “lateral thinking” as being able to see a problem, question or situation from a number of different angles, and then use this knowledge to find an elegant solution to a question.   

When our actions affect others, some of those other angles will belong to each of the people involved.  To understand the points of view of others is known as perspective taking.  

As our knowledge deepens, through observation followed by illumination and more observation, perhaps in a back and forth of theory and experience, we integrate the viewpoints together, trying to understand the structure, and the elements and the relationships between them, of the whole situation.  Perceiving it in the round.  We can see that our emotions and own personal self-interest are a part of the situation along with all the other parts.  

We may say that this process brings us towards objectivity.  



Martin Seligman’s 24 signature strengths

Forbes: 15 Surprising Things Productive People Do Differently

(for women and men) Monk Mode: stronger, smarter, more refined