(Part of a series on How to Awaken.)
Without rational certainty or faith in a particular belief system, how do you live your life? Intuitively!
Intentions for spiritual practice:
- Learn to access non-rational ways of knowing via dreams, intuition, and more. Reason isn’t the only way (or even the best way) to make sense of life! It’s precise, but it’s slow—and we often forget that it’s limited by the accuracy of its premises. Non-rational ways of knowing can integrate vast expanses of conscious and unconscious phenomena to quickly create an overall “hit” (that is, an intuitive knowing). Transcend reason, but don’t reject it—it gets included again below.
- Learn to sense imbalance. View life as a balancing act. Imbalance makes itself known as an unintegrated emotional experience—an uneasy feeling that “something’s off.”
- Creatively address imbalance. When you sense an imbalance, mindfully expand your field of attention to include relevant experiences. Integrate these experiences via compassionate discernment (which is where reason gets re-included) and insight (which addresses the fears that arise when you consider acting in ways that challenge your reactive patterns). Eventually, through a mysterious creative process, a way will become clear—you will intuitively know what to do. Do it! This is compassionate action—your best attempt to address the imbalance. After you act, you eventually become aware of additional imbalances—and the cycle continues.
This way of life is like standing on one foot—you’re constantly in motion, you’re never completely in balance, and your attempts to address imbalance sometimes create more problems. Nothing is certain, and there are no guarantees.
- To learn to access non-rational ways of knowing, see The Shaman’s Body: A New Shamanism for Transforming Health, Relationships, and the Community by Arnold Mindell; and The Archetypal Imagination by James Hollis (also available online).
- Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention by Ken McLeod (Chapter 10: No Separation; see the section “Cut the Web of Existence: Be Absolute on One Point”).
In Other Frameworks
The published work of Buddhist teacher Ken McLeod has informed several ideas in this article, including the cycle of addressing imbalance.
(This is the last article in a series on How to Awaken.)