Dr. Goali, Psychologist, Author, Millennial Expert
Dr. Goali, Psychologist, Author, Millennial Expert

Accessing the Wise Mind


Have you ever found yourself stuck trying to make a decision, caught between your head and your heart?

Maybe it was deciding on a new job or moving away from home for the first time. It can be agonizing as we write out “pros and cons” lists or simply feel nagged relentlessly by our emotions. This is where the concept of wise mind comes in. Our wise mind is in essence our intuition, our “gut” feeling. There might be a level of emotion involved in justifying a decision and a level of logic as well. But something deeper and more powerful overtakes us.

Imagine this scenario:

You are on a walk in the middle of a nature trail on a beautiful day. The sun is shining down on the trees and flowers, and you are energized and feeling completely content. Then, you come across an injured bird whose wing appears broken. Meanwhile, you notice a small fox making its way toward its new prey. Without thinking, you jump into action. You untie the sweatshirt that was around your waist, scoop up the bird inside, and start quickly making your way away from the fox and toward your car parked at the trailhead.

In this scenario, you clearly did not have a well-thought-out plan in mind. You weren’t thinking of vets you knew or even of what would happen if the fox started to attack you. You saw a living creature in need (emotions) and took action by rescuing it in your arms so the fox couldn’t get to it (logic). Your wise mind was what helped you to merge the two seamlessly and instantaneously, allowing you to go with your gut rather than thinking about how expensive or difficult finding a vet might be (logic), or worrying about what would happen if you left the bird to become the fox’s prey (emotions). The concept of wise mind is portrayed in the following diagram.

Wise MInd Diagram

You might be thinking, this sounds great and all in theory, but how do I access my wise mind?

Although it may seem simplistic, wise mind is most easily accessed in times of stillness that involve deep breathing from the belly while practicing mindfulness. Throughout this workbook, you have been given a plethora of different tools and strategies to help you increase your mindfulness skills. Some will stand
out and really hit home, and others may feel too unrelatable. That’s okay. As long as you find something that works, you can start accessing your wise mind through mindfulness practices.

Anytime you have had to make a major decision, you likely haven’t made it without careful consideration. You likely thought it over, went to sleep, ruminated, and continued to think about it at the gym, during lunch, and so forth. Perhaps you even prayed about it in a place of worship. Point being, big decisions are made over time and are best made when not rushed. They can be even better and more fulfilling when they’re made from a place of ease and equanimity.

The next time you have a major decision to make, consider taking five minutes at a time just to breathe and empty your mind. (I know, it’s harder than it sounds!) Consider journaling any immediate thoughts that come to mind afterward. Over time, you will become more and more skilled at accessing and practicing your wise mind.

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