“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking
we used when we created them.” ~ Einstein
Dave and I taught a daylong on the Law of Three, a deeply embedded teaching of the Enneagram, for our Minnesota Enneagram community this past Saturday.
The more I work with this teaching in my own life, the more I experience this truth—
When I’m stuck trying to solve something with my thinking, I don’t solve it by chewing over the same thoughts…
When I’m stuck in my feelings, re-experiencing them over and over again, they do not release…
There’s actually something valuable about that funny and famous cartoon (I paraphrase):
- Patient: Doctor, when I move my leg like this, it hurts.
- Doctor: Then don’t move it like that! 🙂
If we’re not running our habitual patterns to find an answer—overthinking, overfeeling, avoiding, denying, repressing, all of which cause us pain—what DO we do?
We apply what the Buddhists call skillful means.
Monday morning after my run, aware of a problem my mind and heart had not solved from the day before, I was practicing one of my favorite walking meditations from Thich Nhat Hanh:
The mind goes in a thousand directions.
The beautiful path is the path of peace.
With each step, a gentle wind blows.
With each step, a flower blooms.
This is an example of using skillful means—
When you’re stuck in your mind or heart, running the same old tapes…
Try coming back to the body.
As I walked this meditation, my senses came alive–with each step:
- the gentle, cool breeze was blowing and kissing my face,
- the flowers in yards and boulevards were blooming,
- the trees were standing solid, tall, rooted, their leaves waving to me as I passed,
- the sun filtered through the canopy, lighting up all it touched,
- the moon, moving to half-waning, holding watch in the sky.
And my body came online, her intelligence sparkling, softening, supporting all that was trying to work itself out in my mind and heart.
No big “AHA,” but now, where there wasn’t before, there is space for something new to arise.
It can be this simple.
We can trust the intelligence of the body to support the heart and mind.
What body practices do you have in place to help you open to more spaciousness when you are stuck?
In my upcoming workshop on forgiveness, we’ll be exploring many types of skillful means of body, heart, and mind to find our way home. It starts next Wednesday here in St. Paul, MN, and I’d LOVE to have you join me!