Tap into your inner wisdom

One of the things I like the most about being a counsellor is seeing clients find clarity and make choices based on what they already know. While I never know what the client’s answer might be, I am always confident that the client can find it. I believe that clients are the experts on themselves…my role is to help them shift perspective, see things differently and uncover their innate wisdom.

As humans we are restricted in what we can see. Our eyes are pointing in the wrong direction to see ourselves and our lives clearly and completely.  In active addiction, clarity is almost impossible. The substance or behaviour on which the client is dependent numbs them and prevents clarity from surfacing. It blocks the ability to see what’s really happening – a state some refer to as denial.

Sometimes it helps to work with someone else who can support us in examining what’s really happening and make changes so that we can tap into our wise brain.

In Buddhist terms, this is called uncovering the jewel in the mud. Some folks would refer to the jewel as the divine spark. Others would call it intuition, that still small voice within.  An innate guidance system that we can hear when we slow down and become quiet. As clients move into early recovery, their ability to get in touch with their inner genius is gradually restored.

Love the questions

Love the questions

Sometimes a powerful question will shift us into a new perspective, reframe a situation or help to uncover an answer to a vexing problem. Sample questions:

  • If you were 95 years old looking back on your life, what advice would you give yourself in 2013? What do you need to consider in order to make a wise decision?
  • Think back to a time when you had a tough choice to make. How did you do it? What strengths and inner resources did you use? What did you learn then that would serve you now?
  • Who are your heroines and heroes? What advice would they have for you to consider right now?
  • If you knew that you couldn’t fail, what would you do right now?
  • What inklings do you have about this situation?

When that wisdom is slow to materialize, see if you can to live into the question and let go of the desire to have an answer right now.

give your mind a rest

give your mind a rest

Another way to tap into your wise brain is by giving your conscious, kooky, monkey-mind a rest. A favourite saying in the recovery community:

Your mind is a dangerous neighbourhood, don’t go in there alone.

A common experience during active addiction and into early recovery is the tendency to perseverate or ruminate: persistent, usually negative thinking about events in the past or worrying about the future. For some, the substance or behaviour is a way to escape these relentless thoughts. In early recovery, you need something to replace the substance or behaviour.

poochA powerful strategy to take a break from your thinking is to shift gears by getting into your body. Take a walk. Have a nap. Do something creative. Meditate. Get into the forest, onto the lake, out on the trail. Paddle, walk, ride, swim. Listen to music. Dance. Doodle. Anything that takes you out of your thinking mind, to allow wisdom to bubble up from deeper consciousness. This is a bit like what happens when you “sleep on it”. Sometimes you wake up with a solution or fresh perspective that had eluded you.

Mind:  a beautiful servant, a dangerous master. Osho. 

Rumi was very wise

Rumi was very wise

Tapping into your inner wisdom requires a certain letting go, loosening up and receptivity to unexpected answers and support from surprising sources.  It can’t be forced, it doesn’t happen on any particular schedule, it just shows up.  Sometimes it slams into us like an epiphany. Other times it tiptoes quietly into our consciousness.

When wisdom blooms, do what you can to recognize, embrace and trust it. It’s all yours.