'The Counter-Intuitive' (Part 1)
I am pregnant. Not pregnant as in, there is a baby inside of my body, but pregnant with a self that has been gestating and growing in the safety of a different kind of womb for the last couple of years. Actually, I had a big contraction, and my first blog post came into being. Now I am officially in labor.
Those of you who know me won't be surprised; I have birthed many, many selves over the years. Some of you whose lives have intersected with mine for a long time know that quality to be perhaps my most consistent trait. Being and becoming: I have never quite been able to figure out the difference.
Creation and destruction, similarly and counter-intuitively, go hand in hand. They are inseparable lovers, and where one goes, the other follows, producing all of life in the wake of their opposites-attract, fiery affair.
The Hindu goddess Kali is an example of this primal understanding portrayed in the form of a woman simultaneously representing both nurturing and annihilation. 'In spite of her seemingly terrible form,’ writes Wikipedia, 'Kali Ma is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the Mother of the whole Universe. And because of her terrible form, she is also often seen as a great protector.'
This birthing of my phoenix self, whom I am naming 'The Counter-Intuitive,' is a reflection of a collective process on a larger scale, for together we are in a sort of shared labor at this time, creating a world in which we may not only survive possible armageddon, but thrive within a new understanding of our potential and our relationship with the universe. The accompanying aches and pains are to be expected during a process that is both traumatic and transcendent, marking the beginning of life, in which suffering and existing are synonymous and create opportunity for healing and magic.
The new world we are bringing into being involves taking the duality-based ideas we have about seemingly polarized structures, and integrating them to create a third thing. I'd call it gray area, but in between black and white exist all the colors of the rainbow.
Our understanding about the world we live in has roots in ancient mythology involving the balance of opposing forces: day and night, good and evil, masculine and feminine. It is difficult to imagine a reality that is not divided between opposites, suspended like a tightrope that we navigate carefully lest we fall into the abyss. But what if all this time we've been visualizing our balancing act, we've been feeling around in the dark, convinced that if we falter, we join Alice down the rabbit hole, never to return to the comfort of our tightrope, the only stability we've ever known?
Precariously teetering in between the Light and the Darkness, we crave the former while running from the latter, and yet we are prey to our own fears at every turn and sabotage ourselves against our better intentions in obviously repeating cycles. The simplistic structure that we have been handed from our predecessors, for making sense of our world and the forces within it, is increasingly outdated and crumbling underneath the weight of all the information suddenly flooding our senses. We are ready for the New Age.
There are lots of people talking about the Great Paradigm Shift we are very immediately involved in. All anyone need do is type a few key words into a YouTube search, and you will encounter a vast list of content, more than you could possibly absorb in your life, and that is not an exaggeration. I have watched and listened to cumulative days upon days, probably weeks of these videos, across the gamut of available channels relating to spirituality, energy, astrology, metaphysics, aliens, dimensions, healing, channeling, the afterlife, hypnosis, extrasensory perception, past lives, and more.
We are entering an age where concepts like ‘energy’ and ‘intuition’ are no longer reserved for the fringes like they have been for decades.
Now words commonly tossed around in conversation, these ideas among others in the list are enjoying trendiness in circles that at one time grounded their hipness in atheism and a rejection of religion. But perhaps counterintuitively to some, religion and spirituality are in fact only loosely related, and we are waking up to this truth at long last. The ratings of mainstream news media are declining, while viewership and readership of OTT material continues to rise more and more steeply. 'Over The Top' refers to content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly over the internet, bypassing telecommunications and broadcast television platforms that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of content.
Intuition is something I have been attempting to define and to teach for the past couple of years, having used and relied upon it for many more prior. The dictionary defines intuition as 'immediate apprehension,' or 'a feeling of knowing or understanding something without evident rational thought and inference,' and 'something based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.'
The problem with considering the idea of something being 'instinctive' is that we are so culturally conditioned in this day and age to value rational thought that we hardly allow ourselves to simply be without our brains constantly working to decipher and make sense of the world around us. We are raised to mistrust anything that cannot be analyzed using linear thinking, because there is an assumed safety in the structures within which the ruling culture (namely a white patriarchy) has organized the world. Receiving information in a nonlinear way is reserved for people with an exceptional capacity for a 'sixth sense' or possessing undeniably psychic abilities, and even these are reluctantly acknowledged if at all, remaining in the territory of 'pseudo-science'.
I equate the White Patriarchy with Capitalism in many ways, because they ensure one another’s domination of global society in a neat feedback loop. Our current capitalist model relies upon a divide-and-conquer model, to prey on our hopes and on our fears, and appeal to the polarities within us. Not only does it divide us up amongst one another, but divides each of us individually between a primal need for security and a more ethical and just value system that we have all but given up on in favor of comfort and perceived stability.
We can view this division in another way, as a preference for the brain as our determining organ over the heart. This imbalance is the result not of a conscious choice of one over the other, but an assumption that we take for granted because we grew up during a period of rigid biases for science over its enemy, spirituality. The Western Mind over the Eastern Mind. The left brain over the right.
This new era into which we are hurtling takes each pole of divisional thinking and merges them together, or integrates them. I love the word incorporate because it means both to include and assimilate, and also to embody or have bodily form. With some openness to questioning our most fundamental beliefs about reality, we can see that each supposed contradiction may in fact support the another to create even more possibility than we've ever known. We are now able to see that the great illusion of duality, and the idea that one’s own belief system is superior to that of another, is simply based in a very deeply rooted fear of the unknown. Light refers to that which we understand, and Darkness refers to everything else.
The title ‘intuitive’ can apply to any number of things nowadays. There are medical intuitives, who clairvoyantly access information regarding the physical body and illness (I have personally had very accurate experiences with one who I’ve never even met in the flesh). Or, according to Investopedia, ‘for the intuitive trader, the processes of sensing, feeling, or having a gut reaction are ways that intuition plays out in the investment decision.’
Basically, one can call themself an intuitive if they are able to connect their particular activity or area of work with a more fluid and less logically-grounded source of knowing.
Once this source is tapped, it provides information shared in a larger field by the collective consciousness, and the limitations of our individual experiences are, if not entirely removed, allowed to become more porous and less restrictive. There are many ways to develop the muscle of our intuition, which I do not believe is reserved for a few special people, but has simply atrophied in the case of much of the population. Like anything, it requires nurturing and practice, and without trusting our feelings as a starting point, we stand much less of a chance of honing our intuitive skills.
The problem with so much of today's New Age rhetoric, in my opinion, is that it remains grounded in the same duality away from which we must evolve, towards increased integration. The premise of the spirituality I reference is Oneness, the idea that we only imagine ourselves to be separate because the illusory material plane deceives us into thinking we physically exist. Really we are all one energetic resonance emanating from our eternal Creator, finding temporary expression in form.
I do not disagree with this view. Rather, I am aware of its limitations in the face of our lived experiences as human beings while we happen to be here in our bodies. Are we ethereal beings, or are we earthly animals? Why can't we be both?
The Counter-Intuitive addresses ideas that we've decided are true because they are 'intuitive' in a common-sensical way, and challenges them with a new spin.
An example of a counterintuitive theory is Carl Jung's famous quote, “what you resist, persists.” We'd like to think that we can eradicate the unwanted from our lives by fighting against it, when in fact we end up accidentally strengthening what we try to destroy by energetically feeding it. Machig Labdrön was an eleventh-century female Tibetan buddhist teacher who created a practice called Chöd. It puts forth the radical idea that 'Feeding Your Demons,' also the name of Tsultrim Allione's 2008 book outlining the ancient practice, actually turns our inner demons into allies. Our inner demons are simply repressed aspects of ourselves that we bolster by continuing to condemn and ignore them, becoming trouble-makers in an effort to be acknowledged and ultimately re-integrated.
"Machig's approach of engaging and feeding the 'enemy,'" states Allione, "provides a revolutionary paradigm shift from domination to tolerance and integration. Religious systems that set up battlegrounds internally and externally have brought us a polarized experience both within ourselves and in our ever more frightening world. No matter how many demons we try to destroy, more appear in their place; no matter how many terrorists we kill, more fill their ranks. In order to be effective we need a new model, based on compassion, inclusion, and dialogue."
This same formula can apply to other areas of our lives. The opposite of the above, for example, would assume that if you really want something to manifest in your life, there is something you must do in order to bring it about. Or if you have something and you don't want to lose it, you must hold onto it against all odds in order to keep it. The Counter-Intuitive would say, if you want to keep something around, you must fully let it go. If there is something you desire, it likely won't manifest until you are happy without it.
As 'The Counter-Intuitive,' I prefer to work with the underlying energetic qualities of a situation, instead of the more apparent surface dynamic.
The surface dynamic, or the least subtle layer of something, will represent the apparent truth, or the common-sensical approach that seems to make sense at first glance based on our assumptions about how the world works. But if you pay close attention to how situations play out in your own life, you may notice that existing on the surface rarely brings great reward or deep satisfaction. It also perpetuates the self-sabotaging cycles that repeat when you are not conscious of what is occurring on a deeper or subtler level.
Below are some apparent truths that are held by many people based on what we observe on the surface layer in the world around us. My own counterintuitive views differ in every case.
If your life isn’t going the way you want, it’s because at some point you did something bad or wrong and are being punished, or are not good enough.
Measurable physical proof is the only credible way to examine something.
There is a limited supply of resources for all of us to divide amongst ourselves, and it is a logical goal to stake out and defend your share.
Similarly, your energy can be used up and spent, so use it wisely because you could get depleted.
Acquiring money, possessions, lovers, etc will satisfy your desires.
Vulnerability and emoting indicate weakness.
Space, and matter, are lifeless and empty.
Other lifeforms that do not share our particular intellect are not as advanced as humans and it is appropriate to view them as inferior.
Discomfort signifies non-alignment and that something is wrong, and is to be avoided.
We must eradicate our ego-consciousness in order to reach enlightenment.
There are many, many more examples, but this list might get some wheels spinning. I will touch upon these ideas in the following post and I will also illustrate their relevance to hair and the beauty industry at large. For now, I wish you an open mind and heart.