Reading the signs: What your unconscious mind is telling you that your conscious mind doesn't want to admit A Spiritual Call for Physicians
The prime directive of the unconscious mind is to protect the body, and it will signal us when we are off track. The question is how often do we actually listen to what our bodies and our environment is telling us. As physicians we have been trained since medical school to ignore our bodies…the urge to pee, the need to sleep, the hunger to eat. Some of us ignore when we are ill or (in my case post surgical and recommended to stay off for a week). It is so ingrained to put patients (and everyone else) first, that listening to our own body, mind, spirit seems foreign until we are face down in the dirt. So, where do we begin? How do we start to honor what our unconscious mind (or some may call it “The Universe”, “God”, “Higher Power”, etc) is telling us? How do we even begin to listen? The answers can be simple:
- Get quiet – I don’t mean sit down in crossed leg pose, close your eyes and “clear your mind” NO!!! I simply mean create “quiet time” for a particular amount of time each day. Start with 5 min and work up to 30 min each day. When you become a “Rock Star” at quiet time, you will be able to (and will do with pleasure) create up to 60 min of quiet time each day or more. Quiet time is decompression time. If you’ve been in the office all day you have been talking, walking, listening to someone ALL DAY LONG. Quiet time is the time you give to yourself to let your brain relax from “active thinking”. Passive thinking will happen. That’s okay. The thoughts will come and they will go. Let them. Soon, the thoughts that come will be ones that are from deeper than the surface …Iniitally they may sound something like “I should’ve done this…..” or “I need to do that….”. As you allow yourself to get quiet on a daily basis you will find that once those initial “thoughts of obligation and responsibility” pass, that your mind will relax and you will be able to enjoy your silence. Some great times to insert “quiet time” are: 1. Lunch time (if you do not take a lunch, that will be your first step…make yourself enough of a priority to take AT LEAST a 30 min lunch – work up to 1 hour). On the drive to or from work: many of you may like to listen to talk radio or even music, but try driving one way of your commute in silence and notice how it impacts the rest of your day. 3. When you first get home: Go directly to your room (to your bathroom even) close the door and “take 5”. Later in the evening you can choose a time to take a longer time to decompress. 4. The gym: Seems like an unlikely place but if you go to the gym and you have noise cancelling headphones this is a great way to both focus, and release some tension.
- Get Still – Getting still is distinct from getting quiet. When we get still there is a structural message we send our body that it is time to relax. Combine getting still with getting quiet and you have a powerful access to getting in touch with the unconscious mind. Being in touch with the unconscious mind is like being deeper in touch with the Self (the Inuition some would call it). When open to and in touch with our intuition, our mind will have us see exactly what we need to in order to move in the direction that will serve our highest good.
- Observe and Notice repeated messages from the outside world – When we get still and quiet, we began to notice things we never noticed before. Not only do we get clear about what’s happening internally for us, but we start to see what’s happnening in our lives that is NOT WORKING. We become aware. Sometimes we can become aware of things that “life” has been hinting we need to do for some time and we’ve been ignoring. Now, I know this may sounds a little “fru fru hippie nonsensical” AND if you are a spiritual person, you know exactly what I’m speaking. Have you ever been thinking you needed to call someone and a they text you? Or maybe you’ve experienced thinking about going to a place and taking an action only to see (or hear) the commercial on the radio or television within the same day. Some may call these coincidences (and they may be), however if you are in tune with and listening to the unconscious mind you know that your unconscious mind had you NOTICE that thing that was already in place for a reason…to take action now! So instead of discarding these “coincidences” begin to ask yourself, “what can I take away?” or “what is there to be learned here?”. I myself ask “What are you trying to tell me that I cannot see myself”?
These are but three of countless very simple things that you can do to begin to become present and what are some of the things as a physician your unconscious mind could be telling you that you are ignoring?
- You are not taking care of yourself.
- You are operating out of alignment with your values
- It's time to make a change
- You don't have to do it all alone: It’s time to ask for help.
- I’m sure you can think of a few others not mentioned here. Go ahead…write them down. When you have discovered what you need to do to serve your highest well-being, find the community (or person) who can help you get there. Remember, putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s self care (how can you take care of others if you are heading for 6 feet deep?), AND asking for support doesn’t mean you are weak...It is a sign of strength and courage.
Maiysha Clairborne MD © 2016
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