At my most recent therapy appointment, my therapist and I were talking about the benefits of mindfulness and why she begins each session with a mindfulness practice. For her, the practice allows us to take a few minutes to connect with ourselves and to see what comes up as something that we might want to explore in our session.
I shared with her that for me, mindfulness is the practice that allows me to connect my logical and rational mind with my intuitive mind.
Often, especially in times of stress or overwhelm, I find myself connecting mostly with my thoughts. I can easily get wrapped up in thinking about how to fix a situation or all the possible outcomes or making a pros and cons list. When I do this, connecting with my logical brain, what I am really doing is attempting to manage the outside world, to control what is happening around me so I can feel more comfortable or so I can adapt the situation to better align with what I feel I need. It really is the part of me that manages well.
But when I am in a place of calm and rest, I am able to connect more with my intuitive mind, the emotional side of me that invites me to change me to adapt to the situation as it is, without changing or controlling it, because, really, all I can change and control is me. When I am connected with intuition, I trust my choices.
Mindfulness is the doorway that connects them both.
Mindfulness is a practice that involves bringing our full attention and focus to the present moment, without judgment. This is really hard for me. I tend to want to judge the present moment…how am I doing? Where did I miss the mark in this situation? How did I cause this thing to happen? I shouldn’t be having these thoughts etc. In recent years, mindfulness has become increasingly popular as a way to manage stress and improve overall well-being, as I shared in my previous post. But one of the greatest gifts I have found to come out of my mindfulness practice is connecting the logical mind with the intuitive mind?
The logical mind is responsible for rational thinking, problem-solving, and decision making, whereas the intuitive mind is more associated with emotions, instincts, and gut feelings. While both play an important role in our lives, they can sometimes be in conflict, causing stress and confusion. To truly lead, and to do it well, we need to be able to access both.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to bridge the gap between these two very distinct ways of knowing, leading to a greater sense of balance and harmony in our lives. When we focus our attention on the present moment, and quiet the chatter of the logical mind, we can better understand our emotions and instincts, which in turn can inform our logical decision making.
In this way, mindfulness allows us to use the logical mind to process information and make informed decisions, while also tapping into our intuition and emotions to better understand ourself and others. When I can connect with all the parts of myself: mind, body, intuition, I am also able to access creativity and courage, allowing myself to be vulnerable and access a sense of calm which helps me make better decisions or approach conflicts in a much more holistic manner. When I connect to the logical and the intuitive, I guide my children to try new things, helping them to navigate relationships and install in them a sense of fierce pride as they discover new strengths.
When I connect to the logical and the intuitive, I teach my logical brain, which is often loud and restless, to trust my intuition and to allow it to inform my choices. I no longer have to choose one over the other.
Mindfulness also helps me become more aware of the types of thoughts and emotions I experience and when I experience them allowing me to make more intentional choices about how I react to them. If I feel myself becoming overwhelmed with stress, for example, mindfulness can help me recognize these thoughts and feelings and make a conscious choice to relax, rather than becoming caught up in negative thought patterns.
One of the most difficult parts of practicing mindfulness is, as I mentioned earlier, to simply observe thoughts and emotions without judgement. With practice, however, we can begin to notice each thought and emotion as it arises, but not engage with them. Instead, I can simply observe them and watch them pass by. With regular practice, I am able to decide which thoughts and emotions to engage with, and when the thoughts and emotions align, to make decisions that more align with my authentic values and sense of Self.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help connect our logical mind with our intuitive mind, leading to a greater sense of balance and well-being. By practicing mindfulness regularly, we can tap into the full potential of our mind, using both logic and intuition to make informed decisions and enhance our overall quality of life.
As you go through your day today, take a few minutes to stop and notice how many thoughts and feelings you have. More importantly, note how often we judge whether the thoughts and feelings are “good” or “bad” or things we “should” and “shouldn’t” be thinking or feeling. Can we remove those judgements and simply observe those thoughts and feelings? What might they be trying to tell us? What information might they hold that we fail to see because we are judging them?
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