Right Mind

Can I be in my right mind and engage and avoid conflict?

This is the question that ended my last post. As you might guess, my answer to my own question is


The next question, of course, is


Here’s the first step, according to me:

Turn your attention inward.

Other words for this step: self-reflect. Practice mindfulness. Meditate. Introspect. (I did not know that was a verb, but the dictionary says it is. Lovely.)

Turning your attention inward means noticing your feelings — physical, emotional, intellectual. (What, you might ask, is an intellectual feeling? Consider felt sense.)

As you pay attention to your internal experience, label what you find. Anger, frustration, confusion, fear. Sometimes labeling is hard to do because what you notice is inchoate or overwhelming or just too mushed together to separate into words. When that happens, just sit. And notice. And observe. Let your body’s knowledge emerge.

When I do this, I am often amazed. Sometimes an image emerges that has great meaning for me. Sometimes a clarifying memory. Sometimes it’s tears that emerge. Sometimes — quite often, in fact — it’s compassion.

Importantly, whatever emerges tells me something I need to know about myself and about others.

And I need that information if I am to engage effectively with people I might otherwise conflict with.

The point here is to tap into what your body knows, often well before your mind knows it, and to give your mind a chance to catch up.

Makes sense that the first step to the right mind needed to manage difficult relationships is to align your mind with your body. Two “heads” are better than one — and one’s body is an extremely sensitive and brilliant head. Don’t leave it out.

But this is just the first step. Stay tuned. There are more steps to come.

Betsy BurrisComment