I wanted to follow up on the Critical Thinking post yesterday. At the end I added heart and I wanted to say more about that today and also about intuition as a key component of this kind of expanded thinking.
You have to have heart in all your critical thinking or you can make rational decision about things that are wrong. Wrong in that the heart or compassion is missing so things like going to war, creating more nuclear weapons or profits at any cost can be ok from a thought process but totally lack any thinking about what is good for humanity. Heartless rational decisions are made every day and they miss the mark to the detriment of us humans and the planet. Critical thinking without heart is just a mental exercise.
With heart and compassion the bigger picture is involved in your thinking. Any thoughts that don’t consider what is good for all the people and future generations lack a depth and perspective that is necessary. Critical thinking with heart can explore, ideas, decisions, plans, beliefs, points of view and truths with greater depth more fully utilizing your full range of thinking. Did you know the heart is full of thinking cells? So the heart is a thinking and sensing part of you and without it things get out of balance. Critical compassionate thinking is key to keeping things in balance.
The intuition is another powerful attribute of expanded thinking. If you really are going to make important decisions then you will be best served by listening inward for guidance. The mind is a great tool for thinking and figuring but it can miss the bigger picture, it can miss out on the inner knowing you and I have inside. Many believe that being objective and rational is all you need. That would be ok if you were a computer but you are not. You have within you such innate wisdom. In the cells of your body you have the collective history, memory and consciousness of all of humankind. To not tap into your inner wisdom is to ignore a vast knowing that is so needed today.
Let me try to tie these ramblings together. Critical thinking is so needed today in your lives, in government, in the corporate world, in organizations and everywhere decision-making takes place. Critical decisions that lack heart too often are missing a key ingredient to a successful outcome for all involved. The heart brings an expansive point of view that guides for the greater good. Consulting the inner knowing makes your decisions making even more powerful because then you have a depth of understanding that is all-inclusive.
My hope is that somehow together we can think ourselves out of the messes we are in nationally and globally. To do that you and I have to have our hearts engaged and need to raise our thinking to a level higher than which created the problems. Einstein said something like, “ We cannot resolve problems from the same level of thinking that created them.” I would venture to guess that most of our major problems were created at a level where the heart was not involved and the intuition not consulted. Do that that makes sense to you?
Maybe I have gone beyond the typical definitions of critical thinking? If so, I am glad to stretch the paradigm. I have this very strong inner sense that you and I and everyone has to do more expansive thinking if we are to resolve the issues key to our survival and success. To not do so would cause much more suffering. You know what I am talking about, you can feel it and sense it. Keep asking questions, exploring options, consulting your heart and listening inward. You and I at our best are truly needed.
I still am feeling stirred up so I thought I would stir you and your thinking up today. I was reading an article on critical thinking in an Education magazine and they were saying critical thinking was a challenge to teach. I guess a number of programs have been developed to teach this subject in schools but none have been very successful. I was thinking how did I learn to question things, to think on my own, to look at things from other viewpoints? I am not sure, so I thought I would explore this topic by inviting you and I to ask some questions and do some exploring.
I was thinking of some areas that are worth exploring from the angle of critical thinking. What I thought of was: religion, politics, war, corporate influence, news media, and your own belief system. I will ask you questions on each topic to invite your critical thinking.
Religion is a powerful topic today and there are many who claim to know the real truths. Here are a few questions that come to my mind about religion. Isn’t religion a human invention full of human ideas, understandings, structures and controls? There are so many that say their truth is the right truth but isn’t that more up individual interpretation? Are heaven and hell really places? Aren’t all paths of religion equally a speculation and no better than an other path? Why do many Americans actually believe a book (the Bible) written and edited by many men (only men) in different traditions all are the direct words of God?
Politics is another subject that would benefit from some critical thinking. Those that are elected need lots of money and that money buys influence. How could those elected officials not represent the money that helps them get elected? Shouldn’t we eliminate this money influence? Are the oil industry, Halliburton and other corporations benefiting from their influence money? How could they not be? What about the needs of the people vs the needs of those who pay for campaigns, who looses out if there is conflict of interest? Why are we still in Iraq when the people want us out of there?
The war is Iraq was has been reasoned from a number of different explanations. Do you doubt what you are being told here or is it ok to keep on changing the reasons we went to war and are still in it? How come war is still even an option for intelligent thinking people? Does war ever make rational sense? How come we the people go along with an idea to invade another country for reasons that beg critical thinking? How come we give our leaders so much power and claim so little for ourselves?
Corporate influence seems to be growing more and more powerful. Does your critical thinking mind have questions about the benefits and problems of this growing corporate influence. Shouldn’t companies have values about their people, their communities and their planet that are weigh into the profit motive? Is it ok for profits to rationalize any and all behavior by a company? Were not corporations set up for the benefit of the people and now people are more for the benefit of the corporation? How did that get so turned around and what should we do about it?
News media has moved more and more toward sensationalism and entertainment and away from objective reporting. Does that concern you? Do you believe all that you here on the news or do you question what is being presented to you especially the opinion barrage? Does it seem that major corporate News Agencies might lack objectivity as profits drive them and points of view run them. Why is 90% of talk radio focused on the conservative point of view? One side says the liberal press but in fact the press is more represented by corporate influence, which tends to run conservative? Notice who says and what and ask why? Is Fox news fair and balanced or actually very biased?
Now you and I have our own ideas and beliefs that need to be questioned. Many of our beliefs we got growing up. These all need to be looked at with a critical eye to see if they are truly what you believe? You may find you have many beliefs and values you want to keep. Acknowledge that you are deciding to keep the ones you are keeping. Look at the ones in need of revision and find out what your truth is? Most school systems and families teach us to not really believe in ourselves. Fitting in and seeking approval is more valued their individual expression and uniqueness. Should we not look at all those self-worth and self-expression beliefs?
I hope these questions have stirred you up and activated your critical thinking. There are so many more questions to be asked in each of these areas. The times you and I live in need us thinking clearly; questioning what is going on; and looking at our lives and the concerns of the world with objectivity and heart. I know I just through heart in this discussion and I did so for a reason. Objectivity and critical thinking matched with our hearts sensitivity and compassion unlocks great potential in all of us.
The last two days I have noticed that there is a lot stirred up inside of me. When I feel stuff going on inside it usually centers in my stomach. My stomach is the place where I feel the most emotional impact. I decided I needed to explore what was going on inside so I took some quiet time to listen inward. What I got was there is some kind of shift happening in me and I am both excited about it and fearful of the unknown. I don’t know what is going to happen so the fear is there. I am excited about my expansive inner movement because I trust it will be for my good.
I then decided I need to ask myself what do I need to do with what is going on inside. The inner message was very clear. I was to take time to focus on relaxation and allow my body to let go of the fear. I was also to tune into my intuition for further insight and guidance. The last advice was to trust that this would all work out well. Relaxation, intuition and trust are what I am to do with this inner shifting that is going on inside of me. Sounds like good advice so I plan on following it.
I am sharing with you this method of tuning in, listening, and paying attention to what is going on inside because you can do the very same thing when you have emotions and reactions going on inside. You can tune in for insight and awareness. You can request understanding as to what is going on with you. You can then ask for guidance as to what to do and listen because it will come if you are receptive. This is all simple to do and to be receptive is just a willingness to hear your higher guidance and follow through on what you are shown. The follow through is important to keep the guidance flowing.
Here are the steps:
• Find a quiet place and get comfortable.
• Listen inward.
• Be patient and give yourself time to tune in.
• Be aware when the guidance comes it may be in the form of images, thoughts, words, feelings or sensations.
• Be open and receive the insights and intuitions as they are presented to you.
• Note what you are guided to do and then make a plan to follow through.
• Be grateful for the new understand and direction.
• Integrate the new awareness and live the guidance.
I hope you find this clear enough so you can use these ides today. Please feel free to ask me questions by sending me a note through the comment section below or emailing me at email@example.com
Last night was a very interesting evening for me for two very different reasons: one profound and one of little significance unless your interested. I start with the one of little significance to most people. I have to admit to being a big basketball fan. I grew up in the Portland area and have been a Blazer fan most of my life. It was a big night for us Blazers fans. If you know why then I don’t have to say much more. If you don’t, you haven’t missed out on much other then one really tall guy. Yes!!!
Now to the more profound part of my evening, a teacher of deeper wisdom was in town. John Sherman at RiverGanga.org is one of my favorite people to listen to because of how he teaches self-inquiry. His consciousness filled the room and his smile warmed everyone’s heart last night here in Boulder. He talks about how to find out who you are at your essence beyond the personality and life drama. He is very good at taking your deeper in your understanding. After he talked he asked if there are any questions and I raised my hand, came up and sat next to him and asked him some questions I had. There is something so powerful about sitting close to someone who is radiating this glow of self-realization. It was like I was listening to his words but felt like I was getting much more understanding from sitting there next to him. All this grace coming my direction was a wonderful experience to have.
I still feel the vibrations of last night flowing through me now as I write this. Take a moment and allow yourself to tap into this energy as you read along. You are not limited by either time or space limits from doing this. That energy from John through me is already in us at the level of consciousness where you and I are one. I know this may sound a bit out there but the truth of it can be discovered by you if you inquire into who you are.
Let me ask you a few questions and then you explore and let me know. There is in you an awareness/consciousness of you that existed before this birth and will continue after this life, who is that? Who are you that knows yourself beyond all that defines you in this life? Look into the mirror and see deeply into your eyes, who is it that is the sparkle of life and knowing inside? Words may not capture the inquiry very well but there is a part of you that knows beyond words. Can you feel or sense that?
I hope you have a little greater sense of what this self-inquiry is about? Check out John’s site for more at www.riverganga.org. and go Blazers.
Self-inquiry will not make you anything that you are not already, but it will, over time destroy the false belief that you are this body, this mind, this story, this life. That false belief is the root cause of all human suffering whatsoever.
You are an amazing human being and as part of the symphony of life you must play your note as fully as you can so we can all live in the beauty of our expression together.