The Right Tool

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It’s important to show up with the right tool for the task at hand.  You don’t use a hammer when the job calls for a screwdriver.  A few people always seem to show up with a hammer no matter what the situation, but for the most part we all get the concept.  Let’s explore these tools.

There is so much intelligence in life.  We take it all for granted because it’s so common but just consider how wondrous nature is, and how life is so tenacious that it figures out how to come alive in even the most inhospitable places on the planet.  Our bodies carry this inherent intelligence too.  We may think the brain is the storehouse of this intelligence but that is just one aspect of it.  There is intelligence in every cell but let’s focus on that is which easily accessible to us in our daily life.

Today the conventional thinking is that the engine of cognition is the brain.  One day even this notion will be challenged by new discoveries but for now let’s stick to the familiar.  Yet we already know that is not the only source of intelligence that is available to us.  We also have the heart – the source of love and compassion.  And then we have the gut – the source of instinct and intuition.

The mind is for discernment and calculation.  The mind is used when the situation calls for planning and strategy.  As the contemporary Indian mystic, Sadhguru says, the mind is like a knife.  It is used to cut the situation open and pry into the mechanics.  The mind is where logic lives.  The mind is where likes and dislikes reign.  Language thrives in the mind.  Meanings and definitions, identifications and classifications are assigned by the mind.  If organization and hierarchy is needed, the mind is the right tool.  The mind is by intrinsically dualistic.

The heart is something else entirely.  There is no logic in the heart.  Have you ever fallen in love?  Yes!  And was there an ounce of logic in your behavior?  No!  The heart embraces all.  Emotions pour out of the heart, and there is no rhyme or reason to the exuberance of life throbbing in the heart.  You just have to open it up and wow!  It just flows – pours out with such generosity that it can only be described as divine.  You don’t cry with your mind, you cry with your heart.  Joy sprouts in the heart, and the binds of the egoic mind are broken up by the heart.  It is the source of light and love, which is the balm for any suffering.

The gut has intelligence too, that of instinctual knowing.  You’ve heard it said many times, “this is the right decision, I just feel it in my gut.”  There is no logic here either, it just feels right or it feels wrong.  Somehow you know without engaging the mind.  In fact, many times the gut and mind contradict each other – have you ever had to make a decision, and there seems to be a battle inside about what is the logical decision vs. what feels like the right thing to do?  Even science is discovering the immense neural network of the gut.

We have these fantastic sources of intelligence available to us, and yet we only seem to show up with our default tool.  One of these seems to be dominant in each of us.  The biggest problem for most people is that they tend to solely rely on the head-mind to govern their life.  Most people are addicted to their thoughts, and over-think, over-analyze any given situation.  This is the single biggest stumbling block to living a fulfilled life because the ego resides in the brain and is entrenched in fear.  The holistic approach is to apply the right tool for the circumstance.  You don’t show up to a funeral with a calculating mind, you show up with your heart.  That’s obvious, but the same applies to every moment of life too.  Ask, “what is needed here?” and meet the moment with the right tool.

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