For two days our home internet was down. To top that off, my cell phone kept freezing and our wireless printer took an extended vacation.
After hours of failing to find solutions to my technology crises, the neurons in my brain snapped. My emotions flooded with a tsunami of negative energy. I had a melt down like a two-year-old kid whose favorite toy got yanked out of his hands. I cursed AT&T, myself, and God, ranting, “Why does this always happen?”
My wife gently closed the den door. I sat alone in my adult playpen, disgusted with myself and the world. It wasn’t pretty.
Practice the Short Pause
Several days later, a friend offered a simple way to move through life’s inevitable frustrations in a healthier way.
“Whenever life throws a curve ball, I give myself the gift of a ‘short pause,’” he said. “When I feel a surge of anger or become overwhelmed by problems, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. I push the pause button to create an inner space within myself that calms my mind and emotions. The pause refreshes and restores me.”
“Tell me more,” I said.
“Psychologists say that our minds—the thinking part of our being—sometimes get stuck when we can’t find a solution to life’s problems. Our emotions can also overwhelm us with a flood of negative feelings.
When that happens, we get trapped in our psyche. Like the spinning circle that appears on our computer when its system is overloaded, we freeze up and can come out sideways, like I did.
Instead of endless whirling, if we step back, and reboot by taking a few moments of silence, we’re able to connect with what’s called the “wise mind.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“The wise mind is the part of our being that integrates our reason and emotions with deeper knowledge, experience, and common sense. Taking a pause creates space within us for the Holy Spirit to provide its wisdom and guidance. It allows God’s divinity to infuse our humanity so we can successfully maneuver through life’s obstacles.”
I did a little more digging about the wise mind concept. I discovered it’s rooted in the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Although it’s not grounded in religion, it draws on traditional contemplative spiritual practices to teach individuals how to reclaim inner peace, balance, and wholeness.
Take the Long Pause
My friend said connecting with the wise mind takes daily practice. Like a newborn learning to recognize and trust their parent’s voice, it takes time to find that sweet spot where we know its wisdom speaking within us.
Taking a long pause to sit in the quiet for twenty minutes each morning connects us with God’s inner voice of love and guidance. And with daily practice, that voice becomes more familiar.
God wants to give us his wisdom for anything we need on any subject—science, business, relationships—anything. All we need do is create inner space to listen and seek the Divine. When we do, it’s like stopping and asking for directions on life’s highway.
“The long pause,” my friend said, “can take the form of whatever’s life-giving for you. Sitting in contemplation, prayer, or meditation. Savoring a verse in scripture, taking a walk, doing yoga, or listening to soothing music. Practice whatever connects you with yourself and God. See how it becomes a way to experience deeper peace and balance in your life.”
The Long and Short of It
I took my friend’s advice and now start each day with a long pause. I listen to the meditation from the website Pray as You Go, and then sit in the quiet for a half hour. It’s like starting my day sipping coffee with the Creator.
As the day’s activities unfold and my brain and emotions get revved up, whenever I feel a surge of frustration or become overwhelmed, I practice the short pause to reconnect with God. In those moments, I often hear the whisper of the wise mind showing me the way out of my dilemma or affirming I’m on the right track.
Follow the Science
Scientists, psychologists, and spiritual masters from all faith traditions point to the same Universal Truth:
When we take time to pause, listen, and create space within our hearts, we connect with something larger than ourselves. That “something or someone” gives us the answers our minds, emotions, and senses are too limited to provide.
The Heart-Math Institute calls these pauses connecting with our “Inner Ease.” Practicing the pause allows us to live out of an “active calm” state of being. Check out their short video and the three-step practice they suggest by clicking this link: An Active Calm State of Being.
Psychologist Mark L. Lockwood echoes this truth in his article, “The Science of Finding Your Spiritual Self.” He’s documented that the benefits of daily contemplation far outweigh many other therapies. Those clients who practice regular contemplation quickly find the healing they’ve been seeking. They connect with an inner source of wisdom he and Thomas Merton call the “Contemplative Mind.”
We might give the wise or contemplative mind an assortment of names: the Holy Spirit, Divine Wisdom, the Mind of Christ, our True Self. Regardless of what we call it, the key to inner growth is the simple recognition there’s something greater than us. It created us, and it seeks to lead and guide us toward our individual and global good—and we can connect with it. More important, this Divine Being wants to communicate with us.
Wisdom connects our human nature with the Divine nature. It’s what makes us whole, guides our steps, and restores our balance.
Solomon prayed for wisdom when he became king. Plato wrote that seeking wisdom was a great virtue. Jesus connected with Divine Wisdom each morning as he went into the quiet seeking the Father’s guidance.
Do What’s Doable
I can’t change what Washington, Paris, or the Taliban does. But I can—you can—get up every morning, sit, be still, and seek wisdom to guide us throughout the day.
And during the day, before we shout at the driver who cuts us off, berate ourselves and the world because of our imperfections, or lose our cool when technology fails, we can take a short pause to connect with our wise mind and allow wisdom to guide us.
It may sound simplistic, but simple solutions are often those that are most practical. What if each of us sought wisdom by practicing the short and long pause? Would it change us? Could it change everything?
Transform your life and the world by establishing a regular practice of taking a long pause in the morning and short pauses throughout the day. Open your heart. Create space to let the Divine guide you. Discover your Wise Mind.
—brian j plachta
PS: To dive deeper, peek at this 3-minute video: How to Start a Meditation Practice. Click on this link to view it:
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