Friday, 7 December 2018

We often think we need practical answers when what we really need is to discharge

Today, I just want to share a reflection.

Often, when people reach out to a coach or a therapist, they think what they need is practical techniques to answer questions like these:

"I need to stop over-thinking, but how do I actually do that?"

"How do I stop criticising myself?"

"How do I make myself have more positive thoughts?"

Well, I'm not saying there aren't practical techniques that can be applied, but often, what we really need is not what we think we need and in my experience, practical techniques for things like these are rarely satisfactory. They often just set up more frustration later, when it looks like it didn't work.

"How do I take on my mind and win?"

That's what such questions start to sound like. How can I answer that and know at the same time that we are not really separate from our mind?

What if it's not about taking on your mind and winning anyway? What if the path to a more peaceful life is something more tangential?

Let me share what actually happens in a well facilitated session. I need to speak metaphorically to express this.

It's like we walk into such sessions like a battery charged up with negative energy. We come in wanting to know the secret of taking on our minds and winning. We're ready to apply all our negative energy into that venture.

Frustratingly, the coach or therapist doesn't tell us how to take on our minds and win. Instead, they hold a hypnotic thinking space open. They coach us to express. They gently enquire.

We express. We articulate. We emote. As we unravel our own thinking, the battery discharges. It's like an emotional cleansing. We become more peaceful. We see more clearly. We see something we didn't see before, something enlightening about how to be that we can't really express in words.

I often hear about how people found their coaching sessions draining but something wordless yet magical happened in the feeling of that negative energy draining away. There wasn't an intellectual answer to their questions, only a felt one.

Sometimes, that's what coaching seems like to me: a grounding earth rod to discharge all the negative energy away; to emotionally cleanse and create the space for clarity and insight.

The path is rarely to answer the question raised from the problem frame of mind.

Wishing you health and happiness,