When you find your path,
you must not be afraid.
You need to have sufficient courage
to make mistakes.”
– Paulo Coelho
I was talking to a music teacher, a client of mine, about her work with students who suffer from intense critical conditioning. She’s doing a great service by introducing self-kindness to them and teaching them to shift into holistic brain mode. By doing so, they are awakening the restorative parasympathetic nervous system, which invites more relaxed Presence and creativity.
When one of the teacher’s students made a mistake, she got so overwhelmed by her critical inner voice that she completely shut down. She could not play, she could only cry. The wise teacher had the student bring her awareness back to the center of her head. In Intuition Medicine®, the hypothalamus / the Meditation Sanctuary is a holistic brain center in between the ears in the center of the head.
Often we are more forward in our critical thinking part of our brain, the prefrontal neocortex. For matters of creativity or spiritual awareness, however, sitting back in the Meditation Sanctuary gives us access to more information from all our senses and allows us to be more responsive, while being Present. The hypothalamus is close to sensory nerve outputs, so we have access to all our ways of knowing, including intuition.
Having lots of practice sitting back in her Meditation Sanctuary, the music teacher herself had a joyful, whole brain, whole body experience performing recently. She was fully Present and available to the interplay that delights musicians and audience alike. She felt much more relaxed in her improvisations, the to and fro with her colleagues, and was deep in the sacred Play of it all. The critical voice calmly went along for the ride.
I remembered to tell the music teacher about this robotics contest years ago. All these engineers created complicated algorithms to send their robots through a maze the fastest. The winner from the Japanese team had just one simple program: when you bump into a wall, try a different direction.
If only we could be like that, course correct without the self-criticism. Spending more time in Meditation Sanctuary, or in some form of meditative practice, allows you to shift into relaxed, Present mode more quickly. Being kind to ourselves creates the space to make mistakes, take note without harsh judgment, and continue on our path.
Or, as my teacher Angeles Arrien would say if someone pointed out a mistake she made, “Oh, you caught me learning.” And we cannot grow or learn without making mistakes along the way. It’s only human. Let me know how you work with your critical inner voice. Would love to support your journey.