Instinct, Intuition, and Intellect

moon in water Winfrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests.” – Oprah Winfrey

I’ve always found it fascinating to ponder the difference between instinct, intuition, and intellect. For me, intellect is about thinking and brain function. It’s linear and logical, and the results obtain by the intellect can be defended based on known fact. It’s a very important human tool that resides in the masculine principle toolbox.

Intuition, on the other hand, seems to be much more about trusting an inner guidance. Intuitive truth is often described as a deep knowing that is unshakable, and sometimes impossible to defend. Welcome to the realm of the feminine principle.

And what about instinct? Animals have neither intellect nor intuition, but they still have instinct. It’s almost a visceral part of their internal wiring that transcends cognition. Instinct can be a matter of survival and demands obedience at the cost of death.

So where does instinct fall in the balance between masculine and feminine principles? I believe it falls right in the middle! Instinct can be explained with intellect and reason. Instinct almost always “makes sense.” And yet, instinct can also transcend known reason and looks a great deal like intuition. It’s defendable by the very survival it guarantees.

This makes Oprah all the more brilliant for recommending that we trust our instincts as the true place where wisdom manifests. Instincts may well be the perfect balance between intellect and intuition, and trusting it a perfect way to reclaim balance.
Seek Balance: Can you tell instincts from intellect and intuition in yourself?

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Two Sides of Love

aqua bridge Rumi

The actions of the feminine and masculine principles both manifest love. The masculine principle will protect and defend in the name of love. The feminine principle will nurture and connect in the name of love. Together they weave the whole of love, but their mechanisms differ greatly. The masculine principle will push away anything threatening in order to protect those it loves. The feminine principle will pull the desirable toward itself to connect. Both are needed, both make up the whole of love.

And yet, as always, Rumi is wise in what he offers us. He speaks to us of love, but does so in the language of the feminine principle. Clearly he knows our patriarchal culture does not need more of the love that separates to protect. Our well-honed ability to fight and defend in the outer world may soon take us to the brink of extinction. We do not need more walls or division.

Instead, our world needs more of the love that reaches out to build bridges of connection, which sits in the feminine principle. For our world to reclaim balance, as Rumi wisely states, we need more of the love that bridges us to everything else: nature, our world, and each other. That connecting could be humanity’s salvation. May it be soon.

Seek Balance: Do you feel the love in your heart? Does that love want to reach out to others? Can you let it?

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Wake Up People: We Are One!

circle hands Atwood L

“I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one race – the human race –

and we are all members of it.” – Margaret Atwood

This is an important quote from Margaret Atwood. It’s timely, too, because wherever we look these days we see division and fear. In one sense, that’s sadly normal. We’re a world full of patriarchal cultures and an important hallmark of the masculine principle is separateness.

What’s missing? The feminine principle we all have in us. It speaks to our connectedness and oneness. We’ve lost this sense of connection because, for millennia, the feminine principle has been dismissed or even demonized. The end result is an out of balance culture that glorifies personal accomplishment and success and diminishes the importance of acting for the greater good. When this happens, separateness and fear of the “other” are the logical results.

But biologically, there’s only one species of human being alive on our planet. Our bodies function identically; our hearts beat the same. Yet we have lost our sense of being in this together, our sense of connection. And this has to change if we are ever going to reclaim balance for our world and survive as a species.

We are all one people, one race. And the feminine principle knows that. Do you?

Seek Balance: What creates a sense of separateness between people? What can you do to help create a sense of oneness?

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Happy International Woman’s Day!

Graduation Young 2

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

– Brigham Young

One reason our world is so out of balance these days is because the values, ideas, and wisdom that woman bring have been suppressed for thousands of years. And a key reason we are missing what women bring is because in patriarchal cultures, women aren’t given the same opportunities as men.

This can begin with the opportunity to live: There are still places where female babies are killed because they are considered “worthless.” After that, the biggest opportunity that women around the world lack is education. Strict patriarchies see no value in educating women, are threatened by woman’s education, or even think women too stupid to be educated. If we are going to reclaim balance on our planet, that has to change!

On this special day, this day dedicated to woman all over the globe, let’s make a commitment to help women step into their rightful, and necessary, place alongside men as equally important to our world. Whether we help a young woman find a path to a safe education, an older woman see value in what she does, or every global citizen understand that our world faces extinction because feminine principles aren’t being embraced, let’s all do something today. Happy International Woman’s Day!

Seek Balance: What act can you take today to help one woman or girl access education?

Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box. And please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends. Thank you!

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Dreaming with John L.

dreamer Lennon

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us.

And the world will live as one.” – John Lennon 

Almost everyone is familiar with the iconic song, Imagine, by John Lennon. Often described as the ultimate ballad for peace, it’s a poignant suggestion that we imagine a world without war. But it also asks that we imagine a world without countries, a world where we all live as one. I think that makes it the ultimate ballad for reclaiming balance!

A focus on oneness, on the greater good, is one of the hallmarks of the feminine principle. The masculine principle focuses on separateness and the “rights” of the individual person, or individual country. Of course, individual rights are truly necessary in our world for both people and nations. But because almost all of our cultures are patriarchies, we swing more toward individual rights and less toward working together for a common cause, be that environmental sustainability or peace.

In fact, while the masculine principle might define peace as an absence of war, I think the feminine principle would define peace as a state of harmony where all parts come together as a beautiful and beneficial whole. It’s a wonderful dream. I hope we can make it more than a dream; I hope we can make it a reality by reclaiming the balance our cultures lack. Care to join us?

Seek Balance: Is it easy for you to focus on the greater good instead of your individual needs? 

Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box. Thank you!

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Love: Touching Eternity

bleeding heart pink St. Augustine

“Love is the beauty of the soul.” – St. Augustine

I believe we all have a soul. I also believe that our soul transcends time and space, so can be considered eternal. And finally, I believe that St. Augustine spoke wisely in equating love with a desirable aspect of our soul. What is more perfect than love as the manifestation of eternity? We’d all sigh up for an eternity filled with love, right?

But what kind of love? Important, because love has many sides. One is intentional separation (“them” vs. “us,” sometimes done violently) in the name of protection or idealized devotion. This is one of the masculine principle’s concepts of love. Another example is unconditional acceptance and connection, which is in keeping with how the feminine principle looks at love.

All forms of love are good in their right time and place. And in balance. But lately, say the last few millennia or so, we’ve been less willing to glorify the feminine principle expression of love because it doesn’t fit in well with the values of a patriarchy. Separateness, individual accomplishment, strength, and material ownership are highly valued in a patriarchy. Compromise and tenderness are usually seen as weak.

The irony of it all is that we’re really only separate while in physical form, which may be the reason the masculine principle so values individualization; it’s a hallmark of the physical. Yet as we all know, physical manifestation isn’t eternal. I suspect it’s the feminine principle perspective of love that comes closest to that soul expression of love. We all have a soul, and we all have the feminine principle in us, we just don’t use or value either that much in a patriarchy.

But maybe that can change. Maybe this will be the year that we take a giant step toward reclaiming balance by using the eternal aspects of love and the beauty of the soul to bring balance, joy, and healing to everyone and everything on our planet. That would be a really wonderful new way to approach 2016. Ready?

Seek Balance: How might you manifest the feminine principle aspects of love more frequently in your life?

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Happy New Year!

red bridgeAnd may we take the giant steps toward reclaiming balance that our world so desperately needs!

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Peace on Earth

Christmas tree Miller

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With Love filling our hearts, connected all are we.

May we walk with each other in perfect harmony.

 

Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now.

With ev’ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow;

To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!

 

Based on a song by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson

 Seek Balance: May you find peace in all you do!

 Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box at the top of your screen. And please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends.

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Shakespeare Nails It!

peach rock arch Shakespeare

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. – Shakespeare

 I love the idea of the whole world being related, being kin. I guess that’s because I do think we’re all related. Not genetically, although scientists have gotten pretty good at tracing our lineage back to species-specific beginnings. Interesting, sure, but in my book the primary way we’re all related is through our hearts and souls. That’s where we’re all connected. That’s where we’re all kin.

For humans, the physical arena of the masculine principle is where we learn many necessary lessons and make our way in life. The arena of love and mystery embraced by the feminine principle is about connection. And when both individualization and connection are in balance, the human experience can soar.

But there’s more to it than that. It turns out that Shakespeare was a pretty wise dude, whoever he really was, because time in nature is one of the easiest ways to connect with our hearts and souls, which then makes it easier to connect with everyone else. So he’s right, we can feel our kinship with everyone through nature. Even better, though, is that if we let ourselves, we will feel our kinship with everything through nature, too.

The truth is that we’re connected to the trees, the oceans, the ants, the rocks. Everything. And whether that connection is just based on the fact that the totality of the world has a physical component, or there’s a deeper reality to it, well, that’s up to each individual to decide. But no one can argue against the interconnectivity of our planet anymore, regardless of the level.

In this day and age, to reclaim balance it seems extremely important to acknowledge that nature is a major doorway through which connection can occur. And then, of course, we need to spend time with her and make sure she stays healthy. No planet, no life, no us.

Seek Balance: Do you feel connected to nature? How does that manifest for you?

 Thank you for stopping by. If you like what you read here, please consider following my Reclaiming Balance blog by clicking the + follow box at the bottom right of your screen. And please help spread the word by sharing this blog with your friends.

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Thanksgiving Shapes Our World

harvest sunset Cicero

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. – Cicero

Thanksgiving always reminds me of the proverbial question regarding the glass being half full or half empty. I think the person that sees the glass as half full is likely to be an optimist who is probably grateful for that half glass of water (although I guess it could be beer, wine, or chocolate milk for that matter). The one who sees the glass as half empty will probably bemoan the missing liquid and worry how to get more. The truth is that a grateful heart sees abundance.

It’s interesting that Cicero (a Roman philosopher and orator who lived from 106 to 43 BC) thought gratitude so important he called it the parent of all other virtues. Not chief of all other virtues, not even king, but parent. It’s a subtle distinction, but I don’t think Cicero was one to be sloppy with his words. He used “parent” for a reason. Parents contribute to and shape their offspring. Children absolutely take on the tendencies of their parents. For better or worse, the lineage that springs from specific parents will bear their mark for eternity.

So it seems to me Cicero is suggesting that if we lead with gratitude, if we allow thankfulness to parent all other aspect of our lives, everything will take on an optimist tone. When this happens, we will see the world through the eyes of abundance and help to create that for all.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving Day in whatever manner is yours, please take a moment to ponder the possibility that if we make every day a time of thanksgiving, we will be stepping away from the constant patriarchal need for bigger, better, more. Instead, we will be creating the harmonizing reality of abundance all around us. And that will be a huge step toward reclaiming balance. Plus, we will always have at least a half glass full of something!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Seek Balance: Which is easier for you: to see the glass half full or half empty?

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