As my friend Pooh demonstrates here, thinking is hard work. Thinking about thinking is even harder. We each subscribe to an emotional system and an intellectual system, and which one we access on any given day is likely to determine what we will be doing on the following day. Our ability to separate these two systems and choose between them at will is an important goal, and when we are able to adhere to self-directed behavior and performance in the chaotic lives we tend to lead, then we have made some real progress.
I once spent a year in an intense postgraduate clinical program that demanded the outpouring of latent feelings from a faculty that, as individuals, had not dealt appropriately with their own underlying “issues,” as they chose to describe it. Needless to say, little thinking got done. When we unleash our feelings on others, we force the other to suffer, usually unawares—but sometimes—I’m convinced—through an avenue of simple evil. Thus was the result of my experience there; a firehose of anxiety and shame-baiting. Ethics is not always a consideration in the places where one expects it most, and healing can be hard to come by.
Some years later, I was invited to another postgraduate project that promoted the efficient use of the cerebral cortex, the antithesis of what I had encountered in the previous program. The study, supervision, and group interactions at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family were appropriate methods rooted in an exhaustive and well-balanced theory. It required one to think for oneself, and was absent the often-perceived need for confrontation. It actually allowed me to make better use of the previous training.
Still years later, I again entered a program that, for me at least, was a balanced combination of the better aspects of the previous two. It was one that permitted me to combine my spirituality with science in an effective way. It allowed me, for better or worse, to be me. When we are truly called to think, we permit others to be who they were created to be, not who we wish them to be.
Hopefully, we are called to think, and to do so in a way that is redemptive for self and others. What avenues permit you to put forth your best thinking? How will that wonderful thought process benefit others?
Be your best: Be thoughtful. Let us take the time and effort to think, as opposed to the explosive emoting that has become so prevalent in our society.