In our two previous newsletters, Ken Manning shared the value and joy of being even-minded as an output of the power of understanding how the mind works. In this month’s newsletter, we look a little deeper at wisdom and how it can lead us to more stable even-mindedness.
Even-mindedness Part 3: The Power of Wisdom
With a little self-awareness, most of us realize, at some point, that we want to live with more calm and clarity. And yet, despite our good intentions, many of us live with an enormous amount of mental noise. This noise can manifest as reactivity, judgment, worry, over-thinking, defensiveness, ego and more, all leading to stress, unhappiness, and inefficiency.
However, there is hope! Underneath the noise is an inexhaustible source of universal intelligence ready to help us with the perspective and insight we need to see to the heart of things and move forward.
We might call this deep intelligence wisdom. Not wisdom gained from outer life experiences, but an inner source common to everyone, regardless of age. Young kids show this innate wisdom all the time, which is why they learn so many things so quickly. If our minds weren’t busy and engrossed in our own movies, we would enjoy the ease and brilliance flowing from within, because it is always there. As our previous newsletters discussed, we tend to find it when we’re feeling even-minded.
Before I learned about insight principles and how the mind works, my wife and I had an argument. Our cat was in the room, and as we took turns arguing, his head turned from one of us to the other like he was watching a tennis match. At one point, we looked down and saw his head volleying back and forth and burst out laughing. Our minds cleared and we saw the truth of the matter – we were tired and hungry. We each needed a nap, some food, or both. Later, from a place of even-mindedness, it was easy for us to understand each other’s points. The thinking we carried into the argument suddenly made sense to each of us. Wisdom helped us find our sense of humor and the insight to understand one another more deeply.
You’ve been using this wisdom since the day you were born. In fact, none of us could make it through life without it, but most don’t recognize it for what it is – an invisible power working in the background. The truly wise are those who have cultivated a mental orientation to look beyond their thinking to this quiet power within.
Here’s an example to help illustrate how this wisdom shows up. We do a lot of executive coaching, and clients often come to our training center for retreats. Our center is in a quiet, wooded area, conducive to letting go of the noise and distractions of daily life.
One of our recent clients was on the verge of burnout, having taken on a new role which required her to move her family from Europe to the U.S. Expert at managing and controlling massive amounts of work and information in her previous roles, her mind was on overdrive as she tried to master and control all the new relationships and responsibilities of the new position. As we shared the simple logic of insight principles, she began to realize how she was creating reality from within and using her intellect to try and run the universe. As she calmed down and relaxed, she also saw that there is a world of intuitive wisdom available. Thanks to this resource, she had an insight about how to prioritize and delegate so that she could lead in a different way – with vision and alignment with her peers and teams instead of trying to make sure everything was always getting done.
As this example shows, when we stop the freight train of intellectual analysis, an incredibly powerful source of new ideas will come to our aid. It really is that simple. In fact, our mentor Syd Banks often told us to look for simplicity. “The spiritual side of you must hear it. Wisdom is what you are seeking. If you hear beyond the words, the words become secondary because you have found the answer, you found wisdom.”
Trusting that you will find solutions in wisdom is personally helpful, but it also works incredibly well in group settings.
For example, we once worked with the senior leadership team of a large agricultural company that needed to find an additional $100M of EBITDA for the coming year. Before we worked with this team, they had met multiple times, but only identified about $30M of ideas. They were in a state of deep stress about what to do. We showed them the power of thought they were using to scare themselves, and oriented them toward the deep intelligence that could flow through them if they relaxed and stopped watching their internally generated scary movies.
The group saw what we were sharing, relaxed, got into a deeply connected warm feeling with each other, and came up with $435M of ideas in the next 24 hours, which ultimately manifested in $92M of the $100M they hoped for. A win for the business, and many more wins for the inner lives of the team.
It is totally possible to avail yourself of this deep intelligence more often. In fact, cultivating an orientation to wisdom can be a lifestyle. We bet you already know where you tend to get your wisest ideas. They might arrive while you’re gardening. Or walking your dog. Or mowing your lawn. Or just enjoying whatever activities you enjoy.
Whatever works for you, do more of it. Cultivating this orientation is one of the most effective ways to ensure a rich and enjoyable life of even-mindedness.There is no end to the efficiency, enjoyment and success it will bring.
Wishing you a life of ease, brilliance and joy,