As it is commonly used, the term “out of your mind” is generally taken as a bad thing. The unvoiced assumption or belief about how things are holds that there are only two possibilities. Either you are firmly in control of your faculties or you are not.
In this view, being in control is not unlike being in the driver’s seat of a car or truck. The power and speed of the vehicle are either inert or dangerous unless a skilled and alert driver is in control. Without the driver, the vehicle will either sit parked and inert or careen dangerously into a tree or off a bridge or into a crowd.
Unfortunately this is also how many people conceptualize their relationships with themselves and their bodies. They believe that they must be in control – in “their right minds” – in order for the vehicles of their bodies or even their intellects and imaginations to be used safely and constructively.
In this view, the only alternative to not being in their “right minds” is to be insane to some degree. In fact, the term “out of your mind” is synonymous in colloquial usage with “insane.”
However, this is not necessarily a complete picture. As an illustration, once after attending a weekend workshop, I drove with fellow workshop attendees to get some dinner at a local restaurant before our departing flights left. After the meal, I proceeded to calculate the tip and divide it by three.
I am not a mathematician, but I have been doing simple math like this for many years. So I was puzzled by the looks of confusion on my friends’ faces when I told them what I’d calculated. I did it again and a third time and got the same answer each time.
Finally. they did their own math and announced a different figure, which I acquiesced to. We paid and left, the mystery rolling around in my awareness.
It wasn’t until a day or two later that I realized how my math was incorrect. I had temporarily lost the ability to do simple mental math because I had gone out of my mind. The workshop had emphasized being open to and aware of connections, energy, and even wisdom as a felt experience in the body. I had gone so far into body centered (what some might called heart-centered) connection, that I had begun to operate without going through my intellect.
This was a major shift for me. As many who grew up in this culture, I had focused on sharpening and using my intellect for much of my life. I had the attitude that I led through my head first. Even in matters of heart or what I understood at the time as intuition, I insisted on working out a logical rationale in my head first and following with my heart and gut after.
Of course, this was an illusion of my ego. The intellect is one of the greatest tools of the ego. It is a supremely supple and facile problem solving device. As with all such tools of the ego, it tends to cast whatever it is turned to in terms it is well suited to handle. The intellect sees everything as a problem to be solved. By the same token, a war machine might be expected to cast everything as an enemy to be vanquished and a sales organization would view everything in terms of prices and exchange (“everyone has a price”).
However, as much as the mind might object, experience and understanding precede logical explanation. The mind is a marvelous problem-solving tool, but life is not a problem. Any attempt to force it into a problem-shaped mold will unavoidably distort things and leave other things out altogether.
One of the most powerful things that the mind tends to leave out or try to explain away is intuition. This is not the sole province of women, as the cliché suggests. It is not magical or mysterious. It is available to everyone and forms the basis for creative insights and breakthroughs in every major field of endeavor. Inspiration moves the artist to create a new masterpiece just as it illuminates the scientist’s quest for understanding. It characterizes the champion athlete as well as the loving parent.
Dare to go out of your mind. Put logic and the problem-solving perspective aside for a time. Simply be present to whatever you have inside you and be patient with yourself and whatever you are thinking or feeling. Be aware of and honor the wisdom and insight that intuition and inspiration bring. Notice how intuition is always there, waiting to come into the stillness. It waits only to be welcomed with an open heart and a quiet mind.
© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.
“Get Out of Your Mind” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.