I was recently confronted to a hard experience. There was something physically risky I had to do, and yet, my mind was completely blocking me. I couldn’t visualize the thing, and my mind was producing protective reflexes as soon as I was trying to do it.
The thinking mind is an interesting machine. It allows us to plan, calculate, see things. That is a great asset, because we are then able to process and act upon things that are not within our immediate perception (like a future deadline or an abstract calculation linked to a physical reality). But sometimes, it just doesn’t bring any input. This happens mainly in cases of fear, although it can take many forms. The most global one is a refusal to look at the thing that scares us.
When that happens, when the mind leaves us with a blank field of view or floods us with fear, it doesn’t provide any new information. That’s when it’s time to drop it and go forward without it. When it helps us calculate and plan, it is enriching our understanding of the situation and helping us move forward. But when its input dries up, why keep it around, waiting for an answer ?
It is hard to do, because we are so used to identify with the thinking mind. We take credit for our intelligence, we feel thrilled to have solved a puzzle, but the mind isn’t us. It is only one feature of our nature. When we take a step back and see the mind as one thing serving one purpose, we can better put it aside in the moments we recognize it’s not helping.
So, after a while of battling back and forth with my mind and seeing that it was refusing to let me see what I needed to see in order to do the task, I recognized that I wanted to do that task. I recognized that there wasn’t ever going to be a moment where the mind would be more helpful regarding doing that task. So, I kissed it goodbye, acknowledged that I was jumping blindfolded, and I jumped.
It went poorly, I didn’t do half as good as I was hoping, but I did it. I physically connected the dots my mind wouldn’t. And then the mind caught up. It saw the dots I had passed. Then, it was ready to bring me new inputs again. And the next try was a little better.
When we are facing an actual, serious risk, we can see it very clearly. The mind offers us valuable input. When we can’t picture quite clearly the thing that might happen, it’s a good sign that it’s time to use other tools.