23 May, 2016
Tapping into your inner wisdom
What if you could tap into your inner wisdom more often? What if we could be more creative, compassionate and courageous? I have been guilty of being over analytical at times. I have been guilty of being too emotional at times. I have been guilty of ignoring my gut and intuition at times. At these times my ability to make the best decisions and choices has been impaired.
Marvin Oka and Grant Soosalu in their book mBraining using your multiple brains to do cool stuff provide us with evidence based models of the wisdom of aligning our cephalic brain (head), cardiac brain (heart) and enteric brain (gut). Their model integrates neuroscience, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) cognitive linguistics and behavior modeling. When I first read their book a couple of years ago I got an amazing ‘Aha’ feeling. All these years I have been espousing and practicing the importance of EQ and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and Oka and Soosalu have neatly wrapped it up into a Head-Heart-Gut intelligences model.
I know personally when I can’t stomach something – my gut feels very unwell. In the early part of my career I was working in a lobbying role and would travel each month to a nation-wide committee focused on improving the quality of Australian healthcare. I would arrive hopeful and would leave feeling sick to my stomach. After 12 months the committee recommended creating another committee. My gut was highlighting the committee’s inaction and the fear of change. Have you ever felt this way? Nearly 20 years later I am so mindful of my gut reaction to situations it has become like an amazing filter. My gut instinct is a valid intelligence - remember the old saying “no guts, no glory.” Courage comes from our gut.
Sometimes when you are right you can also be wrong. Recently in a business agreement one of the stakeholders was contractually right about the terms and agreement but lacked the compassion (heart) to understand how that term would impact the people it was aimed to protect. Over use of the head brain is very common in Australian business, we can become cold and translate everything back to a number and a fact. We need to remember that we still are human beings and most of what we do is through people or impacts people. Peter Senge’s ladder of inference reminds us how important it is to have facts and data to support sound decisions. Our head enables us to think, solve problems, invent and analyse. Creativity comes from our head.
Being an EQ accredited Facilitator and having an Italian heritage has been interesting for me. In my household there was no emotional filter, emotions were over expressed and lacked a lot of control. There was a lot of yelling and drama. My parents would refer to me as the ‘l’avocatto’ which means lawyer or adviser. I would play the logic card and rationalize my best possible head based arguments and thinking to dampen their overly emotional states. Our heart intelligence enables us to trust, love and care. Compassion comes from our heart.
The head sees words and numbers and the heart and gut sees pictures and metaphors. It is important to use a combination of words, numbers, pictures and metaphors to activate all our intelligences. Our ability to align our creativity, compassion and courage is when true wisdom arises.
The link between mindfulness and utilizing our 3 brains is interesting. Oka and Soosalu have a number of techniques to activate our wisdom state. The easiest technique is deep breathing. Breathing from the gut, through the chest, throat and nose triggers the connections between our brilliant intelligences. Next time you are faced with a decision try the breathing technique and notice what happens.
Each Monday I do slow flow Yoga, it frames my week. In Yoga my breathing and physical movements allow for my head, heart and gut to realign. I feel centred, energized and strong and there are moments when I feel tapped into a wise intelligence beyond my physical self.
Become aware of your head, heart and gut intelligences for 1 week. Notice what happens to your state when making decisions. Tap into your own authentic wisdom and the wisdom all around.