“There’s a voice that doesn’t use words.” (Anonymous)
Traditionally, we have a strong bias against emotional and intuitive logic in the US. “Don’t trust your feelings,” is a phrase that I’ve heard more times than I can count. Many like to believe that linear logic is the only logic that’s trustworthy. The things we know “intuitively” are supposedly less trustworthy.
I have always had a gut feeling that this was wrong-headed. I just can’t stomach it. And when I think of all of the wise empaths who have been harmed with those words, it breaks my heart. It gets under my skin every time I think about it. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Fighting against this bias can be such a pain in the neck. But I’m going to keep my chin up. Otherwise, my blood will boil with the frustration of it.
For a culture that tries so hard to insist that it doesn’t trust all of our ways of knowing, I’m not exactly sticking my neck out when I say the English language certainly uses a lot of idioms and metaphors that point to the information we get from “intuitive” sources. Could it be that even the strict, so-called “rationalists” unconsciously know there’s something more?
The linear logic of the brains between our ears are phenomenally slow. Have you ever noticed that dreams can feel like they’re going on for hours and hours, when in truth they happen in the span of a few minutes? This is testimony to the slowness of the narrative mind and the quickness of the symbolic mind.
Pictures and symbols, sensory impressions and feelings can come to us all at once and we get it. But when we try to convey it to someone else, or even remember for ourselves, the process of laying it out in a narrative slows the whole thing down to a crawl. It also drops a huge amount of data completely out. It’s likely missing more than it conveys.
And yet we have centuries of western belief that demands linear logic be trusted well above the web-like logic of emotions.
I have used the process of “interoception” with clients since before I knew it had a name. I walk people through identifying the physical sensations firing in their bodies in order to give them a more complete picture of the situation they are managing.
I find that many people dismiss a whole lot of data that doesn’t line up with what they “should” think and feel, according to the schemas and belief systems of that very slow processor between their ears. Phrases like “I don’t know why but…” or “this is dumb but…” “I’m being childish but…” “This is terrible to say but…” or “I know I shouldn’t think this but…” are used as a nod to the knowledge that’s coming up. Then the data from the logical mind gets used like a huge paintbrush, quickly trying to paint over what came right before it.
I hear the ambivalence: If they didn’t think it had any merit at all, the words wouldn’t have even come. Once they’re out there, they have to hurry up and push them away. Instead, I invite them to unpack the non-linear logic that tries to pop through all at once in a hard-to-discern blob of sensory input.
Let’s take an example that comes up quite a lot as we do what I’ve long called “biolocation,” as a process of discerning our interoception: Nausea.
We often have almost instantaneous reactions to people, ideas and so on in our gut, first. This is not surprising as the gut is where all of the neurons in the brain between our ears are created. They are directly parallel. However, the neurons in the gut are arranged in a web-like fashion, not limited to the linear narrative of the other brain. Something taps the web and every experience from the past that was at all familiar, instantly lights up.
That’s a lot of signal all at one time. We often experience it as a tightness, a churning, a sloshiness, an urge to vomit. This is a shorthand message to the rest of our being. Much like when we have a virus or eat something that is toxic, the body says, “Hey! Toss this thing up! It’s going to harm us!”
The gut’s message is an accumulation of lessons learned over all of the years of our existence. Even when the slow brain doesn’t know why, the lightning-fast gut brain knows right away that whatever this thing is – a plan, a situation, a person – something about this is toxic and needs to be tossed up. It is nearly always correct, again, even if we can’t come up with a linearly logical reason why.
Trust. Your. Gut.
Its job is to tell you that there is a threat. Its job is not to tell you how to address that threat. It’s kind of like my lhasapoo, Dante: It’s a watchdog, not a guard dog. The gut barks, “There’s a something! Pay attention!” It’s going to leave the guarding part to your head-brain. If you ignore the threat, your other brain will be making decisions without enough information.
Listen to Your Body
So listen to your body when it barks warnings at you. Use that knowledge in tandem with your neocortex. When the brains make friends and learn how to work together, our decision-making is much finer, and we are able to go through our lives much more effectively. We also don’t have to work so hard to shut the signals from the gut brain up through things like overeating, undereating, using substances, over-exercising or what have you.
This approach can take a little getting used to, but it’s well worth the effort.
If you’d like help learning to listen to all of the wisdom that comes to you, contact Tiffany today. Let’s get started!