In Seventeenth Century France Descartes wrote je pense donc je suis - I think therefore I am. Essentially he is saying that he exists because he is able to think.
For Descartes philosophical proof of existence is based on the fact that someone capable of thought necessarily exists.
Descartes’ brand of rationalism believes that truth is intellectual, that our brains can deduce fact through a logically structured reality. In his philosophy there is no room for the sensory; for feelings, urges or vulnerability.
THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS
I think therefore I am is so entrenched in the modern collective consciousness that we see comedic variants almost daily; I drink therefore I am, I speak therefore I am or I shop therefore I am.
We place such a high value on thinking that we take the truth of Descartes’ philosophy as a given. We praise our children for thinking, we encourage them to learn by memorising the rational truth of the real world, of History and of Geography, or the universal facts of Maths. The intellectual takes precedence over the visceral.
We teach our children to use their heads, rather than their guts, to guide them through their lives. We encourage them to ignore their intuition and to listen to their intellect instead. In turn our intuition is left undeveloped.
Intuition is like a muscle, and left untrained it becomes flabby and untoned. Left unused we never learn how to fully trust our intuition. Leaning into our gut feeling is so alien to most of us that we can’t always recognise the signs our bodies are so obviously spoon feeding us.
THIS WAY MADNESS LIES
My father was mentally ill. Although I didn’t know this as fact when I was growing up (my brother and I were told when we were adults and because it could no longer be hidden) I sensed the madness in our family. My intuition would alert me to the unspoken atmosphere at home.
My parents praised me for my academic achievements, teaching me to use my intellect to succeed, but the visceral learning was to listen to my gut feelings. Thinking pleased my parents but feeling kept me safe.
This tension often made me a cautious child, eager to please but desperate to survive. Eventually I used my head to escape the insanity, and I went to university.
My fate was sealed. I had proof that brain trumped gut and so I used my head and aimed high on the corporate ladder, measuring success in how much or how big. My head served me well, for a while at least.
GROWTH IS GOOD, RIGHT?
Right! We’ve just been concentrating our efforts in the wrong place. We have been growing our brains at the expense of our intuition. We have replaced our big hearts for big heads.
We should be growing our brains alongside our intuition, always present to both and listening to the visceral wisdom our bodies have to offer.
I invite you to follow where your gut is leading you. Lean into what your body intuitively knows. Start listening to that feeling and just blurt your intuitions. Strengthen that muscle, through constant use, until you not only hear it but listen to it with ease and without fear.
We feel, that is why we are.
OVER TO YOU
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I coach people who struggle with anxiety, who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads so that they can experience a calmer more purposeful life. If this sounds like you, get in touch here.