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different languages

Posted Nov 22 2010 4:24pm

I was trying to get someone to stop using her intellect for everything in her life.

Like so many people who suffer from eating disorders (ok, really, like all of you guys that suffer from them, if I can be so blunt!), she relies on her mind/brain/intellect to know or assess virtually everything for her. She uses it to ascertain what she's "feeling" both physically and emotionally, to "know" if she's hungry or full or tired or happy or has a cramp in her left big toe. She also uses her intellect to balance her checkbook and get very good grades in college.

I was complaining that her intellect (while it's a totally awesome intellect, as far as intellects go!) was overworked, exhausted, and taking on things WAY out of its jurisdiction. We were having a healthy argument about it- which, to her annoyance, I pointed out, was also being run by her intellect.

She asked how anyone was supposed to know anything different than using their intellect. I told her one of the ways she can begin to allocate tasks to appropriate aspects of herself was to think of the different languages that varying aspects of herself use to communicate with her.

I suggested we take a piece of paper and draw three circles on it. One circle is labeled "intellect," another is labeled "body" and the final one is named "psyche" (which is the emotional/psychological aspect of each of us). I count these as the three most basic aspects- some people would want a fourth circle that denotes "spiritual" and that's cool to add if you want to.

So, the project is to stop yourself randomly and ask yourself "what am I doing right this second and which aspect/s (circle/s) of myself am I using?"

For most of you, the initial answer will be "the intellect, of course! sheesh!"

But then I want you to ask yourself if the intellect is really the aspect of yourself that's best suited for what you are up to at the moment. I bet what you'll find is that much of the time what you're doing is better attended to and managed by aspects other than your intellect.

This is how it might look: you're at a movie and you're watching a very funny part. Is this primarily an intellect thing, a body thing, or a psyche thing, or some combination of them?

You'll say, "well, it's an intellect thing" and in part you're right- I mean, we do need our brains to help us understand the words used in the movie. But mostly its a psyche thing- because whether something's funny to us is primarily an emotional phenomenon not an intellectual one. You can then add "knowing if I think something's funny" to the circle labelled "psyche" and if you want you can add "understanding words" to the intellect circle.

How do we tell which aspect of ourselves is suited to which tasks? And how do we know what the aspect is trying to communicate? How do we know any of this is we can't have words and thoughts like our intellect provides us?

The language of the intellect is thoughts. We can tell when we're using our intellect when communication from ourselves comes to us in the form words and sentences and thoughts. You guys feel comfortable in this language: it feels clear, in control, predictable, concrete...

The language of the body and of the psyche don't amuse you so much. You're wary of how these aspects communicate. Neither of these aspects uses words or thoughts. In fact, much of the time it's very difficult to fully and accurately describe physical or emotion experiences in words- the words keep falling short of the ability to truly describe; they can't capture the whole picture (which is a lot of the reason music was invented, and art- these mediums FAR better capture our emotional experience than any amount of words can- and its not that words are bad- not at all- just that they are the limited in what they are designed to do- just like the intellect is limited in what it is designed to do).

The language of the psyche is emotions. The language of the body is physical experiences (see, I can't even find the truly accurate words to describe the body's language! That's because its language isn't expressed in words!).

If we can get used to how each of these aspects communicate to us, and learn that each aspect of us knows exactly how to manage its domain, we will, in truth, be a lot more prepared and powerful and in charge of our lives than we are when rely solely on our intellect to run our lives.

It turns out that having these different aspects of ourselves is something to be really thankful for!

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