Manipal Monk: Follow your mind

How was your week? Mine was middling, with elements of meddling. And during the past few days I was forced to marvel at the fact that one can become so mired in the struggle for sanity and survival that it becomes very easy to ignore the facets of our nature that impart a spiritual and empowering dimension to our living.

Remember the last time you got a strange feeling about someone, or sensed that something was just not right? Over time the old folks have sagely exhorted us to follow our minds, but we have a tendency to ignore this advice, often to our own detriment. Today, I can ruefully testify to this fact. If I had followed my mind I could have avoided a calamity. Discussing the matter with a friend, she postulated that with so many other voices clamouring for attention on a daily basis one hardly has the time, or even the inclination to listen to ones self. Tell me Mr. Monk, she challenged, Do you really believe in that still small voice? Dont you think it only existed in a gentler space and time? Interestingly enough, the ancient seers regarded intuition, or following ones mind, as a higher form of the mind than rational thinking. They preached that the mind, body and spirit working in cohesion endow us with a wider and wiser sense of awareness and understanding. Intuition, these wise men revealed, is the inner voice that alerts us to danger, urges us to travel a different path, literally or figuratively, and propels us into the highest vision we can conceive of ourselves.

This theory was supported by celebrated anthropologist Margaret Mead who steadfastly maintained that this sixth sense was predominately a female trait. She deemed female intuition ageless training in human relations. However, some of the worlds great thinkers, artists, scientists and inventors refuted the notion of this super-sensory truth being gender specific, insisting that it is the province of both women and men with opened minds.

Rousseau wrote of a sovereign intelligence which sees in the twinkle of an eye the truth of all things, in contradiction to vain deceptive knowledge, while Greek philosopher Plato labelled this phenomenon, divine madness. The once vilified Italian astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei, who in modern times has been elevated as a martyr for scientific truth, affirmed the validity of intuitive wisdom, observing I do not believe the same God who endowed us with sense, reason and intellect had intended us to forego their use. Some modern day scientists contend that native wisdom, as intuition is often termed, has no grounding in reality, while others argue that it has a neurological foundation.

The proponents believe that the right hemisphere of the brain processes an intuitive thought as an image, somewhat like if one is seeing a vision, and the left hemisphere processes it verbally creating a response.

Folk wisdom says that an intuition reaction can come to us in surprising and ingenious ways. Most often, it manifests as a gut feeling that activates sensations in the body such as trembling or tightness in the chest, the precursor for a creative discovery or a signal of impending danger that could result from a particular course of action.

Revelations or unexplained coincidences that lead us to a goal or important decision are also said to emanate from intuitive insight. This experience is described as being in the right place at the right time. Other manifestations can be bursts of joy, or calm, which herald the end of a dark night of the soul, or a period of pain or confusion. Intuition, the ancients counsel, is about valuing our thoughts, emotions and body sensations and living at a conscious level.

Whatever you do this weekend, take some time out to listen to yourself. Following your mind could mean the difference between laughter and tears.

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