This has come up several times in recent weeks both with supervisees, students and clients. I hear this story again and again. It usually starts with me explaining a self development process to someone and them saying to me: “Yeah but I know that already and it’s not working”. I’ve heard this so many times that I’ve decided to write about it. When can you honestly say you know it all?

The hegemony of the intellect

The hegemony of the intellect

Is knowledge all intellectual?

Now knowledge is erroneously considered to be intellectually based. If I’ve studied something and mentally ‘got my head around it’ then I ‘know’ it. I know the theory of how things work. I have successfully expanded my conscious mind to include concepts I’d formerly had no knowledge or understanding of. To be honest, this can be half the battle. If we can’t understand things with our heads, then it’s unlikely our blocked-ness will unblock! In our world of academia, science and media, our thinking processes are highly valued and keenly sought after. Our intellectual abilities can bring us great social recognition, financial status, and personal satisfaction. It certainly is one of the higher worlds of insight and achievement. However, it is not the only world that is valuable.

The starved inner world

Our much overlooked inner world can be starved of any real ‘food’. Our inner world, unmeasurable, uncharted, and often neglected, can be so squashed by our intellect that ain’t no one going to get in there. In fact, we can be so convinced that we know something with our intellects, that we don’t even realise there is a deeper, subterranean more subtle world of sentience, emotional intelligence and intuition running below the surface. However, that deeper river of life flows through us all whether we like it or not. It’s made up of life’s experience at an energetic level. It’s where we store all our hurts and disappointments, our fears and worries, our wounds and resentments. It’s here that life is directed from. This is the part of us that is in charge. Our intellect has learned very well, that to stay safe, we need to protect this very vulnerable part of our beings, our very identities with theories, facts and study. In fact the intellect has assumed pseudo control while stifling the expression of our inner world.

Head versus heart – Mind versus body – The either/or world of inner conflict

Typically we end up in conflict with ourselves. If I have all this mental acuity and theoretical knowledge, why isn’t my life going better than it is? Why can’t I just apply the theory and make it a reality? Why does it seem that for some people ‘the secret’ works and for others it’s just a mental frippery? So what do we do? Instead of question ourselves, we dismiss the work and insights of others. We convince ourselves we know something and that there must be something else, some missing part of the jigsaw that will give us some magical insight into life, the universe and everything. Typically, the hypnotherapist may just go and learn yet another technique, yet another course, some other piece of ‘kit’ that will help them in their practices and yet still that elusive something bedevils their work and causes the same things to happen again and again. All the theory that we’ve learned seems to have sorely let us down. All the money we’ve spent hasn’t brought us the social recognition, financial status and most of all the personal satisfaction that we thought it would. We feel disappointed, let down, blameful and more importantly, back to square one.

Harmonising inner and outer worlds

The blossoming of the inner world

Your intellect needs a stiff talking to. It needs to move aside to allow the very vulnerable part of you to the surface – EVEN IF – it’s hurting and sad and your intellect is out of its depth. It’s only by taking a true inventory of where you are in life, what your heart is telling you and giving the arrogance of your head it’s packing orders, that you will find your peace and start to really learn what you can use your life for. We are born as human beings, and during the course of our lives, if we’re not careful, we end up just a collection of ideas without any real heart in them. Now this isn’t so much a criticism as an observation. This is human nature. The darkness that we are all subject to comes from fears and anxieties that we have not yet acknowledged. It comes from the superficial ways we have learned to communicate with each other over, not just decades but centuries. Heart to heart communication is truly healing and requires absolutely no technique-ing. It removes isolation, fulfills the soul, and redirects the individual to live with more purpose. When can you say you know it all? Well, there is an expression that if you know yourself then you understand the universe. This comes from the buddhist concept of esho funi or oneness of self and environment. However, that isn’t a theory. That is a practice. The practice of knowing yourself means you need to stay open to learning, to loving and to living. So perhaps living the process means we are living with great knowledge, but whether we ever know it ALL is another question.

Join me on my Read Your client Foundation Diploma in Psychotherapy this Autumn and I’ll do my best to show you how you can start to live the process and make your hypnotherapy practice more insightful, more meaningful and above all more rewarding in many ways.