“Have you ever figured anything out with this type of thinking before?”
My client was exhausted from a stressful week of work. Like many educators, he is able to get into the zone when working with students and colleagues, but outside those interactions, he sometimes falls into the trap of self-criticism, imposter-syndrome, and other fear-based thought patterns.
When I asked him that question - “Have you ever figured anything out with this type of thinking before?” - he laughed and said no. Yet we try and we try and we try and we try to figure it all out with that frenetic and stressed thinking!
This type of thinking isn’t comfortable. We hang out in it in hopes that it’ll give us clarity, but it never really helps! In fact, what we really want in those moments is peace of mind, and it’s these thought patterns themselves that keep us from experiencing that peace of mind.
In a post from July 5th, Trusting Our Inner Genius, I briefly described our two ways of thinking, focused and diffuse. Insight nearly always arises from the diffuse thinking that comes to us, not the focused thinking that we do.
In those times of high mental energy when we’re desperately searching for insight to help us with a challenge, the best thing for us to do is actually relax our bodies and minds and allow diffuse thinking to handle it; in other words, allow insight to arise.
Our inner wisdom has access to all that we know - the conscious thinking, the unconscious thinking, the conditioned thinking, and the creative thinking. Relaxing our mind allows that inner wisdom to do its job, and it does its job much much better than our focused thinking.
Here’s my favorite part of my conversation with that client this week. Despite his previous clear and valid perspective that he’d had a stressful week and that his state of mind was definitely at the effect of it all, once he saw the insight into the nature of his own thinking, he was able to relax and get his work done more enjoyably. Apparently his stressed state of mind wasn't about the week he'd had at all - it was about the quality of his thinking in the moment.
Now it’s on him and on each of us to discover ways of finding peace of mind in the midst of a thought-storm. Peace of mind is settling into a physical and mental state of well-being that allows that hyper-focused thinking to dissipate. I've got lots of options to offer, but we each have to find the ways that work best for us.
Recommended exercise: explore ways to access peace of mind regardless of the storm seemingly raging around and within us. Pro-tip: it’s nearly always the stories and narratives that we wrap ourselves up in and try to solve that lead to the stress, not the other way around.
The best way to weather the storm is with peace of mind.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️