“Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.” – Sir Arthur Eddington, British astrophysicist, explaining how the universe works
I was recently introduced to the above quote as I was reading Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest gift to the world. It amused, comforted and inspired me, as great quotes always do. I’m relieved to discover that even the smartest people on the planet have no clue about how this universe really works, which takes me off the hook for sure. At the same time, the immense mystery that is Life fills me with wonder and awe and yes, gratitude. If we actually knew it all, the vitalizing thrill of discovery would no longer be ours to enjoy.
The start of a new year is a perfect time to stand before the great unknown and thrill to the possibility of discovering something utterly, delightfully, mind-blowing-ly new about ourselves. Or to discover something tender, familiar and longed for. Or to see something old in a new way. Or to feel something, deeply, for the first time. Or to reach higher octaves of appreciation for the extraordinary beauty and abundance already present in our lives.
Or all of the above.
Consider the possibility that something fresh and new is ripe for you to discover this year. In order to discover something, whether it’s within you or outside of you, you must be able to recognize and follow subtle clues in vast, unmarked territory. So no matter what other intentions you may hold for 2016, give this one some thoughtful consideration as a bonus intention:
I intend to cultivate openness to insight, intuition and inspiration.
These three feather-light heavyweights – yes, the contradiction in terms is intentional – are loving guides to your next level of discovery. Through them you are lifted beyond the rigid confines of conditioned thought to fresh currents of energy, flowing in new directions. The Three I’s – perhaps more accurately called The Three Eyes – see for you what you do not currently see for yourself. They light the way for you to discover hidden gems of talent, passion and truth.
So how might you cultivate openness to insight, intuition and inspiration? Your most effective cultivation practices are, of course, unique to you. One of the simplest ways to find them is to pose the question directly to your Self: “How might I cultivate openness to insight, intuition and inspiration?” Don’t rush to answer it. Let the question stay open for a while. Let it percolate in your mind and heart and see what ideas bubble up.
You might find it helpful to think in terms of creating the ideal inner environment for The Three Eyes to do their work. For me the essential qualities of that environment are spaciousness and a right-for-me balance of movement and stillness, in my mind and in my body. There’s also a quality of aliveness that is vital.
Practices such as meditating, dancing, walking in nature, journaling, exercising mindfully and paying attention to my dreams help me create that ideal inner environment. So do reading thought-provoking books that stretch my current understanding of something and engaging in possibility-oriented conversations with my inspiring friends and colleagues.
Your ideal inner environment might be completely different. Your insights, inspiration and intuition might thrive with full-on engagement, such as when you’re exercising vigorously or volunteering in a soup kitchen or participating on a big, multi-team project at work. They might visit you more often when you make time for fun in your everyday life. They might descend upon you when you’ve laughed so hard, you’re limp.
If you create a welcoming environment for The Three Eyes, they’ll show up. But don’t expect them to show up on command, or even when you’re engaged in the practices that help you create that welcoming environment. They show up when they show up, on their own mysterious timetable. (As Eddington said, something unknown is at work here.)
Yet when you include practices in your lives that light you up, on a regular basis, you become lighter. You become attuned to a level of consciousness where The Three Eyes like to hang out. You’re available to receive inspiration, insights and intuitive impulses, and able to recognize them when you do, because you’re on their channel. The discovery channel.
Of course, one of the most important things you can do to strengthen The Three Eyes is to follow their lead. If you continually ignore your own inner wisdom, it will stop speaking to you. After all, you’re being rude. (But don’t worry, it will happily reconnect with you again when you’re ready.)
Learning to trust that higher guidance is an art and a practice in itself, and beyond the scope of this article. But you’ll get far by remembering that small steps, taken with willingness and curiosity, are really all that is required.
So why not let 2016 be the year you allow The Three Eyes to lead you to fresh discoveries about who you really are and what is possible in your life? Invite them in. Notice which direction they’re facing. Listen closely to their guidance.
And be willing to be surprised.