Before I start any session with a client, I give myself some time where I sit in silence, focusing on the reasons why they are coming to see me; or about the situation for which they seek my guidance.
Over time, I have come to realise three things:
Firstly, I found that I need this “silence time”.
It is when I mindfully focus on a specific objective in order to distance myself from the details of the situation. It allows my mind to free-flow, seeking inspiration so that I can access the right answers.
Secondly, clarity of vision is only possible when I am emotionally detached from the outcome.
Otherwise, I would only be projecting my own thoughts onto the situation (the biggest problem is in making assumptions, which stem from a pre-set paradigm, or a limited perspective).
If this sounds too practical or logical – try it! Seeking answers in a predetermined manner or according to a familiar methodology can only yield outcomes that are limited to that predetermined context, that way of seeing the world. Seeking the right answers in this context would be like chasing after a ball on the surface of water: the more you swim towards it, the farther it moves away from you. However, sitting and observing in silence is almost like being a magnet, where your stillness (that is your dissociation from preconceptions) enables you to access the right answers.
Thirdly, that those clients, who come and see me, with their specific concerns, follow trends within that person’s life experience.
These trends fall within a cycle: weekly, monthly or even yearly; where they are connected like the wheels of a watch where the smaller weekly trends, drive the larger monthly trends; and where the bigger wheels drive the yearly or longer trends or what I am going to refer to as “universal” trends.
Your Life’s Journey
Were you to contemplate your life’s journey with a bird’s eye view, no experience would seem out of sequence, or irrelevant. Instead, they would be seen as a learning curve, composed of a series of experiences in adapting, responding to life’s changes and challenges appropriately. In other words, our experiences are about becoming resilient, learning how to survive and thrive, and not about being victimized.
Moreover, I realised over the years having met with numerous clients, that personal learning curves are also connected to the overall learning curve of what it is to be human.
Your personal issues are part of “the collective” issues
In other words, the personal issues of a client are not just personal to him, or her; they also reflect the trends that we all experience, but in a personal way, which makes learning relevant to us as individuals.
Why is this so? I believe this process is meant to help each of us to expand our awareness, by learning from a personal experience or a situation. In turn, this helps us to overcome and deal with the overall changes in our world.
If you like, the wisdom gained by experiencing “universal” trends, is only possible when the experiences are contextual. That is, when they are demonstrated within our personal life experiences.
I have also come to realise that a client’s personal journey cannot go wrong– there is no wrong journey. The journey will always be what it needs to be in order for that client to grow and enjoy living.
I used the word “joy” because I personally believe that the purpose of our experiences is to allow us to learn, unlearn, or adjust something about our perspective, which would allow us freedom of action beyond personal beliefs and limitations. We’re here to learn and grow; learn how to play, and not suffer.
Are in the flow?
Yet when we are not in the flow, we believe we are stuck, or blocked, and we usually don’t question if there is another reason, or cause, for the situation we are experiencing. This means we have a limited perspective on our situation or tunnel vision. While in this tunnel, we are stagnant, this makes us inflexible, less resilient, and therefore less able to move forward.
Tunnel vision perpetuates being stuck because the answers lie in a fresh perspective which is just outside the periphery of the usual field of perception. The usual, restricted perspective, dictates our unsuccessful dynamic in dealing with a situation, the reason why experiences repeat themselves. Sometime, we refuse to move forward simply because we believe there is no way forward beyond what we believe to be “the only way out”. The way forward is then limited to our point of view.
One practical example of how our minds can become struck on a solution is how, when we are lost in the mountains, and have misread the map, we become fixated on following a particular route off the mountain, whereas this may be completely wrong and leads us away from safety. We force an interpretation on the actual situation which is wrong, and ignore indications which should tell us that we are on the wrong path, for example by ignoring compass bearings.
How to act in a crisis
In crisis, the safest thing to do might be to stick to what you already know, what is familiar, in order to minimise risk. But, be careful that can be a recipe for a disastrous or tragic outcome. A classic example of the failure of the human mind to look for correct solutions to a problem was the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 on the 1st June 2009 in the South Atlantic.
The official report said, “In the first minute after the autopilot disconnection, the failure of the attempt to understand the situation and the disruption of crew cooperation had a multiplying effect, inducing total loss of cognitive control of the situation.” As a result of this loss of control of the situation a perfectly airworthy aircraft plunged into the ocean, and 228 people died as a result. It is said that just before the aircraft crashed into the sea one of the pilots cried, “F*** we’re dead!”
However, if our perception shifts from our familiar point of view, we might begin to see how being stuck is like being in an incubation tank; a cocoon of sorts, to help us discover or learn a new dynamic in dealing with recurring problems, or in deed, with new situations.
I also believe, that the answer may lie in applying what you already know, skills which you may already have, in a new combination and in a new direction. The latter, is the trend I realised from the sessions I gave during the past few months.
New situations demand new tools
Imagine for a moment that a master painter came to visit us from the renaissance era and that he was faced with using digital media, an iPad or a 3D pen. Initially, he might seem unable to draw or paint. Not because he can’t, but because he needs to apply his knowledge, skills he already has, by using NEW TOOLS and in a new manner to produce a new form art; in other words, an outcome different from what he initially expected. Imagination, would be his greatest asset!
Once you realise this, the situation changes, and you will begin to perceive answers which were previously out of sight. So be still, detach, be curious and allow your mind to wonder. You might just surprise yourself by learn something new!
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