The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sixth Chakra--Intellect

I might as well have called this one: negotiating the reality map.  The usefulness of a map, however accurate, lies in two presuppositions:
1) that you know where you are going.
2) that you know where you are.
The second is, of course, incredibly more important (since you can look at a map to DECIDE where you want to go.)  Not knowing where you are in the process of your life, not understanding your true resources and limitations, being unable to judge your actions and reactions or evaluate the worth of your allies...all of these things will inhibit your ability to leverage your intelligence and skills to accomplish your goals.  But how do you do this?  How do you prevent yourself from becoming one of the vast legion of smart, educated people who are downright miserable and unfulfilled?
Remember: any creature, from a worm to a college professor, will attempt to move away from pain and toward pleasure.  Whereever you are in your life right now, your subconscious mind has done its level best to minimize the pain.  In other words, it literally couldn't see greater pleasure for you out there.  If you are stuck, then all it sees is different painful options.
The truth is that there are ALWAYS more options than we see.  Always.  We are limited by our blinders, preconceptions, cultural filters, fears, beliefs, and emotional damage.  Oftimes, the cost of clarity is admitting that we are in pain.  As savage as that can be, at least it allows us to set out in the direction of goals.  If those goals seem impossibly far away, we can lose steam.  This is why our daily activities must have joy and fulfillment as an integral part of the process.  If the rewards seem impossibly far away, the "short term pleasure" part of our personality will kick in, and we'll jump back into a box of Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
BALANCED GOALS.  I keep saying this, because there is no other way I know to zero in on where you actually are.  Once you have done this, the intellect can begin to calibrate. If you are in denial, directing your attention to some arena in which you have mastery and ignoring the vast areas in which you suck, you can run your engines at full blast, and get nowhere.

MEDITATION.  Going inward until you find a place of peace, a place that is its own reward.  I would suggest making contact with your younger self, because this metaphor will allow you to converse with the part of you that remembers what makes you happy.  This connection can sustain and inform you through and beyond any external circumstance.
Study the Hero's Journey.  In each major arena, where are you on the journey?  Still accepting the challenge?  On the Road of Trials?  if you are slogging, look at hte quality of your allies, and your resources.  Do you need to improve either?  Are you in the Dark Night of the Soul?  In that case, what types of Faith do you need to increase?  If you have had a victory in one or another arena, have you given away your knowledge to the world, to make room for new discoveries?
We'll play with Intellect for a while, because it is vital to understand the proper use of the mind.  CAVEAT--I come as close as I can to speaking the truth, as I see it, in this blog.  Of course, I'm going to be limited by my humanity, and my personal "edges".  I engage in these discussions as much to encourage you to clarify your thinking as to convince you that I am "right."  ENGAGE.  Think.  Look at your life and see how you have succeeded and failed in these three vital arenas.  Share your thoughts.  Let's grow together.

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