How to Find the Wisdom Inside to Mend Your Life
In the beginning of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (March 1, 2010), Bob Stahl and I cite Mary Oliver's infamous poem "The Journey" saying:
One day you finally knew
What you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice -
thought the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
Each voice cried.
The poem beautifully continues to relay the story of how even with this deep cry; we continue falling in the same traps over and over again. And then, over time, "as you left their voices behind," a new voice emerged which "you recognized as your own." With this voice came a determination to do what needed to be done to break through the dark clouds and "save the only life you could save."
How often have you or someone you loved felt that "old tug" to mend your life? We began the book with this poem because it speaks to an almost universal experience in us. Each one of us has had the experience of suffering and each one of us has had the voices that keep shouting their "bad advice."
There's another thing that each one of us has that this poem speaks to.
Each one of us has an inner wisdom inside, call it a wise self. This wise self is a voice inside that may be subtle and faint, but in the quiet of the storm we might be able to access it, feel it, and hear it.
This wise self knows what needs to be done and has the courage to do it. This wise self is within each and every one of us, but each and every one of us does not know how to access this vital part of ourselves.
So how do we do it? Here are two things to consider:
- I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't note that the workbook provides a step by step program (along with audio guidance) with 30 years of research with people who have suffered with stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and much more. The information and practices allow us a way to cultivate deeper and sustained insights to mend our lives.
- For a more momentary way to access this inner wisdom, imagine someone who you consider to be a wise person. This person may be living or dead and imagine them taking over your body for a bit of time and showing you how they would handle the situation. It may be that they do nothing, but sit with a sense of compassion and kindness toward their own suffering (rather than entertain the voices with "bad advice.") Or, maybe they recognize the need to actually do some things and show you that. Everyone's experience is unique to them.
Try this out and feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Expect Good practical Advice - Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. - Mar 1st 2010
You will absolutely get a step by step guide for this program. I hope you enjoy it and please spread the word,
My MBSR Workbook Arrives Tuesday! - Steven L. Carr, Cincinnati, OH, USA - Feb 28th 2010
And I cannot wait to get started. I am hoping for some very practical advice on integrated mindfulness into my life. Thank you Elisha and Bob for writing it, I'm greatly expectant.
Best Regards ~ Steve