Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Overrated Mind

I’m a thinker—I admit it. I think, not because I am, but because I like to think. Thought fascinates me. Mine and that of others.

Since I turned 50 though, my thought has been systematically heading south. What do I mean by that? I’m learning to think with my heart. I think it’s a natural aspect of getting older. Consider this:

As we age, life tends to become simpler, more clear. We know what we want and we know what we’re willing to do to get it. Many years ago, I decided that the Prime Directive of my life would be Peace. This means that I measure every choice I make by this question: Does this (whatever this is) contribute to or diminish Peace? It makes my choices simple.

We all need a Prime Directive. It doesn’t really matter what it is. I have a client whose primary value (same as Prime Directive) is Love. He measures every choice as to whether it’s loving or not. A friend of mine uses Compassion as his standard. I know someone who is all fired up for Justice; another who values Freedom above all.

Do you see a pattern here? I sure do. All of these primary value notions are intangibles. If you think about it, they almost have to be in order to be big enough to encompass any circumstance. These sorts of ideas are umbrellas.

The thing is, one’s Prime Directive isn’t available in the mind. It’s not something we can decide upon and implement like a goal or a strategy. Nope, a Prime Directive has to come from the heart. Has to. Because that’s where individual prime directives live.

I laughed this week at a Google quote from Joss Whedon (the creator of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer) and friends, “It’s not enough to bash in heads. You’ve got to bash in minds.” Well, maybe not bash. That definitely doesn’t contribute to peace.

But we do have to question our minds. The mind is a wholly overrated commodity in our logic-addicted civilization. And, if you think about, you probably can’t even say where the mind is. The brain? Sure, we all know that brains live in our skulls. But minds? Where do they live?

Here’s a secret: the best aspects of our minds live in our hearts. That’s why my thinking has gone south. When I feel peace in my heart, I know I’m making the right choices. When I don’t, I know I’m stuck in that elusive mind-space that wants results based on intellect. Intellectual results get caught in polarity, and don’t give me a peaceful heart.

Try an experiment with me. Spend a whole day thinking with your heart. The process is: have your thought, then check in with your heart. Does that particular thought support the ideals that you hold most dear? If so, good. If not, think again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This wonderful entry reminds me quite a bit of a conversation a certain two people had last week. Thanks for putting it on the page! Now I can print and reference.

Mr. Working Towards Compassion