Would you want to go into any challenging contest with only one third of your ability and assets in play? That is often what we do in life.
Have you ever heard the phrase (or something like it), “Let me get my head on straight, and then I’ll be ready to go.” Having our “head on straight” is critically important….no doubt. But, it is only one third of the equation.
The reality is that our mind is not our only intelligence center. We also have our heart and body.
- The mind is our mental intelligence center
- The “heart” is our emotional intelligence center
- The body is our instinctual and kinesthetic (felt sensations) intelligence center
All three are critically important to effective living.
In western culture, our historical heritage includes a huge emphasis on the mental intelligence center. Most of the time, the assumption is that if I have the concept down, then I “have it.” But, the reality is that having the concept “down” is no predictor of whether the reality of the concept is in me such that I live it.
How we live is what determines the quality of life we have.
Not what we know (or think we know).
In our culture, we often tend to diminish the essential nature of being consciously in touch with our emotions and instincts.
It is all about what you think. But, anyone in marketing and sales can tell you that the two primary drivers in getting someone to make a decision to buy your product or service is their emotional and instinctual connection to it.
Sales 101 is to lead with benefit oriented language that:
- Provides an emotional connection to the potential customer. (Buy our toothpaste and you will have sex appeal. Buy our car and you will be exciting. Take our vitamin supplement and you won’t get sick.)
- And appeals to their survival instincts because the product or service helps them avoid some scenario they fear, or to avoid a loss or get a gain or to improve their image. Fear, loss, gain, and image are four primary instinctual motivators. And all four of these lie deep in our psyche as survival instincts.
People make “buying” decisions based on instinct and emotion and then justify the decision with logic. But, they take the plunge primarily based on emotion and instinct. This is very often the case in all parts of life—relationships, major life decisions, choices—you name it.
Yet, we normally are not consciously aware of our current emotional state. We are just in it. Normally, it has us. We don’t have it. And, our instinctual center normally is even further removed from our conscious awareness.
This is one of the reasons why meditative and contemplative mindfulness practices are so essential. They help you diminish the endless chatter of mental thought so that you can start noticing what is going on with your emotional center and instinctual center.
Every time you practice silence, solitude and quieting your mind by attending to your breathing, you can hone your inner observer to notice in the present moment what is going on for you emotional, instinctually, and with your bodily sensations—where you hold stress, pain, or tension, or relaxation.
There is no need to resolve anything. Simply notice it and be with it. This practice enables your brain to start integrating all aspects of your intelligence—your thoughts, emotions, instinct and bodily sensations.
Being present includes being present in all three of your intelligence centers. When that happens, it creates a sense of connection to the reality of what is so for you in that moment. Knowing where you are is the first step to getting where you want to go.