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Wednesday
Oct222014

Thinking in patterns

As Idries Shah wrote in The Sufis, 'the average person thinks in patterns'. Different cultures have different patterns, travel between cultures and the patterns begin to emerge. Whenever we react without taking a step back, whenever we attempt to think sequentially or !in the correct way' we are usually thinking in some age old pattern, or even a new one. Such patterns reflect no doubt well worn circuits in the brain, rat runs of thought worn in through repetition and rewards, social and material. But the real thing is to evade these thought rails and live intuitively. 

We know that 'masters, such as aikido masters and wine experts use fewer brain cells to perform similar tasks over time. This frees up neural space for greater and greater appreciations of subtlety. At some point a mysterious flipping point is reached when they suddenly 'know' what to do without having to reason it out. You might argue that the patterns have simply become so internalised they aren't noticed anymore, but I think tHat is a side point. As a writer I know the feeling of using my intuition rather than logic as a guide, but it only came after many years of grafting away and relying on rules and reasonable procedures. The point comes when you decide to trust your intuition. It's really as simple as that. Faced by having to navigate a canoe down powerful Rapids I had no time to dither. Instant decisions were required and I was certainly no master of paddling. But I found that necessity forced me to trust myself and the river was descended safely.

Greed, distraction, fear, expectation, all these things cripple intuition. Necessity, meaning situations where only intuition works (and not mere guesswork) is not so easy to engineer in routine life. Get out of the routine then, but also start running less important areas of your life on intuition. Get used to feeling a strange reluctance to do certain things, which can only be sharpened by spending some time doing stuff you hate and comparing strange reluctance with laziness. Often there is no warning bell, just a clean transparent feeling that one course of action is Mildly better Than another. But in the end you have to trust.

Trust your intuition, it's as simple as that. I find it's useful to lose the idea that intuition delivers 'hole in one' results, spot on every time. Well we don't live in a perfect world. Broadbrush success is all you should need or expect. But play enough good golf and you can expect the odd hole in one, a byproduct rather than an aim of the enterprise.

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