Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Three I's: Intelligence, Information, and Intuition - a Three Legged Stool of Logic and Decision Making

There are times in our lives when we are tasked to solve and answer complex problems, sometimes pushing us to what feels like wit's end. In this, we engage in a compound process of arriving at the solution. Sometimes this is purely logical, as in simple math (2+2 = 4). Other times, we quickly can solve the quandary in front of us based on experience. Say for example, like today, it is raining AND it is cold - a logical solution, based on information fed to our higher cognition and logical intelligence, is to wear a rain layer with perhaps some insulative pieces for warmth. This, though easy to our adult brains, is not straight forward to necessarily a child, whom in their inexperience has yet to gather and store information about what pairs with what, and how the pieces of life form a more complex, yet logically embraceable conclusion. And of course Intuition, that hard-to-put-your-finger-quite-on-it-answer that arrives somewhere between our higher minds and our information-gathering bodies and beating hearts. It is sometimes described as the subtle whisper that is generated just under the level of our consciousness, so in some ways, we could posture that this is our subconscious - that connection to other realities, other dimensions - call it the Unknown: a place where ceaseless mystery and magic beyond our fathomable grasps lives. It is a positive attribute that we don't have entire access to our subconscious; in the Unknown lives products for personal gain, as well as a great, vast maze of dark forms, dark creatures, and complexities beyond our most intelligent understandings. So, in essence, you could liken our subconscious to the filter on the fish tank - it brings in fresh air bubbles necessary for life, though without it, we can still survive, because there exists the essential chemical compounds already in the water tank, albeit a massively immense tank (think of the world as a giant fish tank).

So, the Three I's: Intelligence, or what is generated at the higher level of our consciousness; Information, or the body's way of gathering input from the natural environment around us; and Intuition - that which arrives between the body and higher mind - call it our subconscious. These Three I's derive how we gather information, make informed decisions, and trust our gut on choices that are seemingly more complex than we can comprehend from our higher mind's viewpoint alone.

Envisioning these in action can be difficult. I would phrase this as a process that has evolved throughout our lives, and that to some individuals, there is a highly functioning pattern of decision making already imbedded into our daily doings. We could say that these individuals possess high levels of complex intelligence; meaning they can utilize a mix of emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual lenses to forge meaning out of what is directly in front of them, or in some cases, looming ahead - like a dark cloud on the horizon threatening rain. Furthermore, this isn't quite so linear - meaning, that while some individuals can frame and focus through these lenses, they aren't always able to, based on non-linear rhythm pulses (read: the seeming randomness in life that throws us curve balls). Though, when it is linear and true, we arrive at conclusions and solutions to complexities without having to blink or falter in our subtle processes. Why and how is that?

You  are sitting inside, looking out at the rain and wind; you feel cold across your skin and without thinking intently know you have some options: put on a layer, turn up the heat, do jumping jacks, light a fire, take a hot shower, etc. These choices might be overwhelming to a child, for example, because of experience. The more experience we gain, the more we make decisions without conscious thought; almost as if we arrived at the answer cognitively near the same time our higher mind recognizes our action physically in process (read: basal ganglia decision making). This would be an example of symbiosis - the body and the mind working together to achieve the end goal - warmth for the being. So, how does this seemingly mundane process translate to say intuition and higher cognition?

Let's fancy a scene, perhaps one you've enacted at some point in your life: it is a busy day about town. You are making the rounds completing your errands and thus engaged in solving somewhat complex problems (which store to stop at first; what side of town should you go to next; what is for dinner; reminder to call your mother, etc.). So, in processing all of these cognitive riddles, your body is almost on autopilot - receiving input from the director (your mind) as you go about completing said errands. You approach a busy intersection and based on experience know that the logical and safer method for crossing is via the pedestrian crosswalk. Responding to a text message from your partner, you enter the crosswalk half-looking at the street ahead of you, beckoned by the yellow box across the street with an illuminated stick man showing white; halfway across, mid-stride in foot and fingers and deep in cognitive thought, you receive a random and subtle whisper to halt! Without thinking further, you adhere to the subtle murmur only to have a car making a right turn on red almost run you over. How was it possible to arrive at such a decision to halt with the body tasked in movement and the cognitive mind encumbered with problem-solving? Enter the mystery and beauty of the subconscious - our Intuition!

This perhaps is the most difficult of the Three I's for our perceiving minds to grasp. It is the unexplainable mystery, the question mark to our most confounding quandaries. And in this, I feel there are things we don't need to necessarily know. Much like the flow of this writing, I can logically move from piece to piece, and then there are parts where I can't exactly postulate; instead, I have to go on intuitive trust - whims, vagaries, inconsistent inconsistencies. And in this I arrive at a smile of complex confusion - though not the type that hurts my mind, like solutions to riddles on the tip of your tongue, but a disposition of contentedness, acceptance. It is not for me to know, and it is for me to discover. This premise is based on continuing forward, linearly or not, to arrive at the next junction in my day or life that may yield information, intelligence, and intuition from the source of mystery - the Unknown. 

Smiling, as I exhale a pursed breath through my nose, I chuckle and shake my head subtly from gentle left to gentle right. I appreciate this colossal puzzle piece in life, with no clear delineation as to where it goes, or to where the puzzle even is at. Forever, I hope, the mystery and magic remains hidden; nodding and smiling again, I realize this to be truth.

To you in your day: complex and yet simply aware; may you experience and recall the Three I's and further the processes of how you arrive at decisions. Giving corresponding consideration to each component of the three legged stool of logic and decision making.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Power to Choose - a swirly morning discourse

The sun, low in the morning sky, begins to illuminate a cold and crisp morning. The dew of evening having turned, through a subtle process of change, to a frozen form upon all the grass and low-lying objects – man-made or otherwise. With each passing minute again a subtle change reversing towards the other end of the spectrum; night becomes day, day becomes warmth, frozen becomes liquid movement. In this, an absence of what feels like direct choice – a process exacting each day, fluctuating with the seasons, though typically consistent and seemingly bereft of individual expression in the matter (they are plants after all; and non-complex and/or nonexistent is their thought).

We, as human beings, however, experience a process each day all together similar, and just as powerful, often seemingly absent from registering on our developed and conscious minds – I speak of the process of choice and the power it contains for highly intelligent life forms, like humans.

To choose – “selecting from a number of possibilities; to prefer or decide; to want, desire.” These are our actions each and every day, many times a day, moment after moment. And yet, is there recognition in the immense power that results from our actions of choice?

My body stirs; it is earlier than I would have anticipated, though late enough that the early morning light begins to shape the surroundings – what were once dark forms without defined edges now are shapes and objects familiar to my conscious mind. It has been a cold night in the van and I am grateful for down sleeping bags and covers in which to cocoon myself for warmth. My choice would be to sleep a little longer, not intensely wishing to arise at this early and chilly hour, though my body communicates another wish – to awaken and commence a bodily processes of elimination. In this, an action based on a choice – to choose from the possibilities and commit to an action; verbs in motion. And, do I even realize how my choice informs the moments throughout my day?

I have heard a spin on the popular phrase the grass is greener that incorporates a perspective on choice: it goes the grass is greener where you water it; meaning to me that a choice exists – it is there for our use, should we acknowledge it. Call it another layer, something that, as we evolve in this life and beyond, we experience because there is no other way to view it without incorporating a new, sequentially elevated experience. Like riding a bike, once we learn something and begin to develop consciousness and understanding around it, we no longer see it from the basis of limited information (i.e., the child that has no concept of how to ride a bike vs., the child that has learned). We now, whether we acknowledge it or not, have come into the presence of new information that we can no longer disregard as foreign – a piece of the unknown becomes known, and we expand and evolve our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

A long-winded way of getting back at choice: this seemingly inconsequential and sometimes disconnected exercise carried out both through conscious and unconscious actions – some resembling practiced responses, others knee-jerk reactions. And to see both the former and the latter as derivatives of choice is to acknowledge the immense power in choosing. Imagine a life where choice is intentional; where such is practiced to exact a higher expectation result of all humanity – what could the world be like then?

The sun continues its rise in the sky, higher with each passing moment, though not necessarily perceptible to my immediate detection. With this ascension, the roof begins to drip – condensation that was once frozen now becoming liquid. Should that condensation have a choice in what form it chooses – frozen, liquid, or gaseous – would the world all together be different, or the same, knowing that there exists a reliance “downstream” from this?

Do actions of a higher consciousness, a greater system of understanding built around choices designed for a higher purpose than the individual parts or beneficiaries, have an impact on those, such as us humans, in our ability to be and evolve? In other words, if all things earthly had choice (plants, animals, inanimate objects, etc.), would we also experience the freedom to choose? Is there order within choice?

So many questions – perhaps too many to grasp with one hand, or even two; though, a perplexing question with perhaps greater clarity than we choose to acknowledge – and my hope would be to engage in consciously choosing and actively engaging in intentionality. It is not that we all are impeccable in our choices, quite far from it; but that we all are capable of impeccability in our decisions – even though we may never reach this ideal before death claims our physical bodies and minds. And that is higher understanding in action.

To a bright day: aware of choices that exercise themselves around us every moment and the power we have in choosing our responses and controlling our reactions – for the greater purpose of all kind, human and otherwise.