Maybe you’re brand new to The Three Principles. Maybe you discovered the Principles not long ago and have already felt their powerful, life-changing impact in your own life. Maybe you’ve been living the Principles for years or decades and are even sharing them as a coach.
Wherever you are on that journey, I bet you recognize this line of thought:
If I really get the principles, if I really get that my experience is created from the inside-out not from the outside-in, then I should be able to handle anything.
I shouldn’t be tired or overwhelmed by my work. It’s just thought.
I don’t need time for myself or time to recharge. That’s a story I’m telling myself.
I can handle my extended family for visiting for three whole weeks. I should be able to stay grounded and loving around anyone.
I can take on yet another client or project. If I have access to infinite energy and wisdom, I should be able to handle it.
If I’m grounded enough and “get” it enough, I should be able to do anything, right?
The idea that we should be able to handle or do anything just because our experience of life is created from the inside-out is a simple, innocent misunderstanding. It’s a misunderstanding of one of the most impactful, beautiful implications of the Principles: our innate wisdom.
Every one of us is powered by an infinite inner wisdom. This wisdom has nothing to do with our intellect. It’s a much deeper, wordless intelligence, a deeper knowing that is hard to describe in words.
Here’s an analogy that might help make sense of it:
Think about how a tree “knows” just what to do and when to do it. It “knows” just when to put out shoots, flowers or cones. It “knows” when it’s time to shed leaves, or when it needs to sink deeper roots to find water. It “knows” to communicate with other trees when there’s a threat of pests or disease. It even “knows” when and how to share nutrients with a nearby tree that needs help (see “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben).
If something blocks the light it needs, it “knows” how to twist and turn and find its way back to getting enough light, to getting just what it needs to thrive. Just like every other living thing on this earth, it’s designed to thrive.
And yet, it has no brain and it has no conscious thought. “All” it has is a deeper, wordless, universal intelligence that powers it and knows just what it needs and when it needs it. It’s totally mind-boggling when you stop to think about it.
The coolest part is that we humans are no different than the tree. We too are powered by that same wordless, deeper wisdom. What is different is that we have the intellect, the ego and the free will to get in its way, to ignore it, to override what it’s telling us about what we need.
Our innate wisdom doesn’t peddle in “shoulds.” It springs from who we truly are in the moment, completely alive to our current level of understanding and what we can actually handle right now. Our ego and thinking mind might like to think about what our level of understanding “should” be, but not so our innate wisdom. No “should,” just what actually is.
Which is why it can be frustrating to hear the whisper of our inner wisdom saying “stop,” “enough” “too much.” That whisper often butts up against our ego’s idea of what our level of understanding, or consciousness, should be. It’s a mirror of what it actually is, and that can bruise our ego.
Our innate wisdom protects us, keeps us thriving, keeps us healthy and full so we can keep gaining new insights and sharing with others. Our ego’s “shoulds” set us up for over-commitment and self-judgment.
If we feel exhausted or overwhelmed, it’s not “just thought.” It’s our wisdom saying “REST!”
When we start to feel sucked into the vortex of others’ negativity, it’s not “just a story,” it’s our wisdom saying “ENOUGH! You’re about to go down the rabbit hole!”
If we feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking on one more client, project, engagement, conference (fill in the blank here!), it’s not weakness, it’s our wisdom saying: “TOO MUCH! You’ll burn out!”
And we ignore our innate wisdom at our own peril.
When we ignore it, we flirt with overwhelm, burnout, and even physical illness. Our work suffers, our relationships suffer, our sense of fulfillment and well-being suffers.
I’ve come to see that it makes no sense at all to ignore the alarm bells that our wisdom so beautifully offers us. Even when those alarm bells shatter our ego-driven idea of who we are and what we can handle.
There’s no way to predict what your wisdom might point you to. If you’re exhausted and overwhelmed, it might guide you to curl up on the couch with Netflix, take a long bubble bath or chill out watching your favorite ball game. It might even inspire you cancel some commitments, take a few days off, or plan a weekend away.
On the other hand, if you’re doing less that you can actually handle, you might hear the whisper of wisdom as a persistent “go,” “move” “do.” You might hear a clear invitation to get off the couch (actually or metaphorically!), take a walk, go for a run, launch that new project, try something new.
Our innate wisdom is surprising and unexpected. It can be mundane and practical and give us direction about the little stuff. Or it can be “blow-your-socks-off” mystical and earth-shattering, showing us the way towards the really big stuff.
Either way, it’s never wrong and it will never let us down. If we’re willing to listen.