Diving for Pearls with Maggie Kay
What Is Inner Wisdom?
There is a level of consciousness which lies on a different frequency, level or plane from intellectual understanding. The intellect is important, however, there is another faculty which can answer questions and find solutions more gracefully and profoundly. The stratum, deeper than the intellect, is where inner wisdom is found.
We all have a capacity for inner wisdom, but not everyone has found access to it. If I have a mission in life it is to help as many people as possible do so, because the positive ripple effect is enormous. With inner wisdom in charge we solve problems – we sort out communities, we sort out businesses, we sort out society, we sort out health, we sort out everything! Should we simply be able to commune with that inner guidance system, we can make all our decisions wisely and with love and for the best.
The reason many of us do not have access to our inner wisdom is because we have not encountered the means and the mechanics. We have not been in the right culture, not met the right people or the right teachers. We have just not been exposed to the opportunity to open up to that. If we are not used to contacting our depths and our wisdom then we just use what we have, which is our wits and our intelligence. This works up to a point. We human beings are highly skilled at working out how to manage life, deal with challenges and problems and get through, and we do.
However, if we are not very aware or conscious and are operating at a superficial level of ourselves, then we are making decisions that may not be in our best interests. We are making choices and decisions automatically in ‘headless chicken’ style and are being driven by unconscious beliefs, thoughts and fears. These beliefs, thoughts and fears are not in our awareness, so we do not know that we are being driven by them.
We then justify those actions, thoughts and beliefs with our intellect. We come up with all sorts of ‘rational’ and ‘logical’ reasons why we are doing something and may get very adamant about it, but actually, what is driving the logical justification is an unconscious emotional impetus. This means we are not really free. If we are being driven by something other than our conscious self, we are not really masters of our destiny.
Head or Heart?
The ancient Buddhist Indian language of Sanskrit has a lovely word, citta (pronounced chitt-ahh) meaning both heart and mind. The philosophy is that heart and mind operate as one and both need to be touched and transformed by spiritual practice. If anything, our heart is more dominant than our mind because it is our emotions that prompt the direction of our thinking. We habitually form opinions that justify what we are feeling and protect our insecurities from being challenged.
We think that we are being logical and impartial, but if we stand back and observe, we will see that there is nearly always an emotional charge driving the logic that runs through our mind. The stronger the emotional undercurrent, the more rigid and attached we are to the opinions that support our argument. Very intellectual people are particularly skilled in dressing up less conscious emotions and presenting them as compelling logical, empirical arguments.
The Buddha taught that when you are sufficiently self-aware, you no longer have any emotional attachment to your intellectual opinions. You still have opinions and can possess a searing intellect and have good debates, but you do not take challenges personally or need to cling on to your views in order to save face.
Not long after I was ordained as a Buddhist, a controversial book was published by one of our senior Order Members. I strongly disagreed with the book’s arguments and thought the topic important enough to merit a direct challenge. So, I wrote a long letter to the founder and head of the Order, Sangharakshita, and requested a meeting with him.
I was quite emotionally charged when we met, but we talked about my letter and I expanded my views in more detail. Sangharakshita received what I had to say with genuine interest and calm intelligence. After we had talked for a while, he accepted my point of view and agreed that we had very different life experiences to draw our conclusions from. Furthermore, he indicated that he was always open to being persuaded to other conclusions should he be presented with convincing enough arguments.
Then I realized that I was seeing something I had rarely seen before. As well as being highly intelligent and forthright in his opinions, this man was absolutely not attached to his views whatsoever. It is quite hard to describe being in the presence of this kind of non-attachment. There was just no personality, no ego, sticking onto the conversation at all. He had no personal investment in anything being this way or that, no axe to grind, no point to prove. None! So, the upshot was whatever the rights and wrongs of his views, I left that meeting thoroughly impressed. This was why he was my teacher.
Where Does It Come From?
When practice of meditation deepens we can experience a mystical state where we feel we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. We have access to a higher consciousness that can be experienced as coming from outside of our self, or as something deep within. Either way, we have access to another dimension of wisdom and guidance. In this mode, we are able to find mysterious answers to our questions and problems.
So, is this wisdom and guidance literally coming from an outside source, or coming from our own inner source? Sangharakshita taught that it could be seen either way as this wisdom transcended inner and outer distinctions. It was probably more useful to think of it as coming from outside of ourselves, however, it depends on our personal orientation.
Some people are ‘faith types’ and are more heart and devotion orientated. Faith types may respond more to the idea that spiritual wisdom comes from outside and allow themselves to be receptive to those ‘external’ forces. On the other hand, ‘wisdom types’ are more head and thought orientated. Wisdom types may be more resonant with the idea that they are mastering their own inner powers rather than opening up to external forces.
I have come to understand and experience the act of downloading spiritual wisdom as a co-creation between both inner and outer dimensions. Spiritual intelligence does come from both inside us and outside us at the same time. If we stay rigidly within our everyday limited awareness, we cannot access deeper wisdom. However, if we fail to recognize our own spiritual depths and only honor external powers, we do not claim our full potency.
To ignite the spark of spiritual download, we need to do something both active and receptive. We first ‘put the request out there’ by posing the question to the universe and in doing so open ourselves to a greater, limitless consciousness. Secondly, being prepared to receive an answer means we are being receptive and this allows us to drop deeper inside ourselves. In this way, we participate in a cooperation between both inner and outer dimensions. In truth, inner and outer universes are all one.
What Is Inner Wisdom?
100% Intention + 100% Surrender
This reminds me of a universal principle that I often share. It is the same teaching that Esther and Jerry Hicks (Abraham-Hicks) elucidate in their wonderful book, Ask and It Is Given. It is a magic formula for successful manifestation which allows us to create whatever we desire in life, including inner wisdom: 100% intention + 100% surrender = manifestation. In other words, when we add our 100% intention to an attitude of 100% surrender, we create the ideal conditions to manifest whatever we desire.
There appears to be a paradox when we put intention and surrender together. How can we be 100% intentional – clear, active, out there, bold, masculine, yang – and at the same time be 100% surrendered – receptive, allowing, patient, trusting, yielding, feminine, yin? But both are necessary. We need to be clear but we also need to be allowing. Mastering this juxtaposition truly is a powerful spiritual art which yields great riches in life.
Without one or the other, we get an imbalance. If you look at many spiritual practices, you will see that they contain both elements – the clarity and the boldness, but also the letting things be as they are, to allow ourselves to be surprised and receive things in ways we did not expect. A lot of us are very good at the 100% intention, but the 100% surrender side of the equation needs more attention. It is the more ‘feminine’ aspect of surrender that most of us need to develop more.
One of the main meditations I teach is a manifestation practice, first popularized by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer in the 1990s, which involves both intention and surrender. In my observation, many of us remember to ask, but then forget to receive. We conduct ourselves so briskly that what we request just bounces off of us, because we are not in a receptive mode. So yes, both intention and surrender are equally important in this magical formula for a flourishing life.
Letting Go into the Unknown
When she attended one of my workshops in recent years, former ‘Dragon’ from BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den, Rachel Elnaugh, was talking about her experience of being coached by me and said, “I don’t know what happens, but so much was unlocked and other stuff just fell away. It’s interesting to do that energy work because you can’t describe it, you can’t explain what happens. And that bothers me.”
I was glad Rachel mentioned this because it gave me the chance to talk about something quite interesting about utilizing inner wisdom. Many of the people I work with, particularly self-employed entrepreneurs and single parents, are strong characters. They are organized and capable and used to being in leadership and control mode, both in their personal and business lives. However, the invitation to engage with our inner wisdom requires a degree of surrender into the unknown, into the unfamiliar, and to allow ourselves to be supported by other forces and other things bigger than us.
When Rachel and I first met and filmed a video chat about our common interest in metaphysics (the laws of unseen energy of which inner wisdom is a part), she observed that people can be unsure of such practices because it feels like doing ‘nothing’. I added that engaging with metaphysics can feel like losing control, and that is why people are wary of it. To really gain from our inner wisdom, we need to learn to be comfortable in the unknown, allowing ourselves to be held in the unknown.
When we allow ourselves to be held in and supported by something much bigger than ourselves, it means that we can relax a lot more. We can play and have a great time and magic things along the way. This more surrendered approach to life which allows inner wisdom into the picture is, I believe, part of a new emerging way of how we are increasingly going to be working and running businesses and conducting our lives in the future.
Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom
One of the key teachings of Buddhism is the Threefold Way which describes the relationship between ethics, meditation and wisdom. This teaching is very helpful in understanding what inner wisdom is and how we can find it. The basic premise is that wisdom arises from meditation which in turn has been built upon ethics.
So, if we want to be wise, we first turn our attention to our everyday behavior and practice being ethical in our actions, speech and thoughts. In Buddhism, being ethical is about cooperating with the natural moral code of the universe, i.e. love rather than harm. The more we are aligned with the inherent loving order of our self and all things, the more ease, happiness and freedom we experience. There is no God to appease and no concept of guilt and punishment, just the natural consequences of being more or less aligned with a loving universal order according to the laws of karma (action and consequence).
An ethical person is therefore a happy, balanced, relaxed person. There is less inner and outer conflict in their life which makes it easier to drop into meditation. This is why it is sometimes better to go and do something like have a refreshing walk in nature, bringing nourishment and self-love into our body and soul, rather than force ourselves to meditate when we are feeling very disturbed and anxious. Meditation itself can soothe us, of course, but if our ethical stance is too out of balance, this requires us to go back and address that first before we can get back to meditation.
Once we have sufficient momentum with our meditation, insight and wisdom arise. Insight into the true nature of things has the effect of making us more ethical anyway, as it brings in its wake reservoirs of patience, understanding and compassion. How can we blame or harm another (or ourselves) if we experience that we are ‘all one’ and that everyone is doing their best, regardless of how estranged from love they have become?
In this way, a positive spiral is created between ethics, meditation and wisdom. We become more ethical, meditate more deeply and easily, and have increasing insight and wisdom, which automatically makes us behave more ethically, and so on. Eventually, we become completely enlightened – irreversibly awakened to our full potential as a human being – naturally kind and ethical, calm and meditative and profoundly wise.
Known as the Inner Wisdom Coach and formerly an ordained Buddhist, Maggie specialises in meditation, mindfulness, law of attraction, metaphysics and spiritual intelligence for life, love and business.
As well as coaching one-to-one, she trains accredited Thrivecraft life coaches and meditation teachers and runs retreats and workshops for soulful entrepreneurs, coaches and well being professionals.
In 2016, with her son Jamie grown up, Maggie established Thrivecraft Home Hub, a riverside country retreat in Cornwall, UK, where she lives with her soul mate husband, Patrick.
Her new book – Diving for Pearls: A Wise Woman's Guide to Finding Love (O Books) – is a highly readable true love and spiritual adventure story laced with tips and teachings on meditation, Buddhism, inner wisdom and relationships relevant to all.
Maggie's vision for the future includes taking Thrivecraft worldwide via a new online academy; continuing to mentor coaches, well-being professionals and meditation teachers to grow and prosper their businesses; producing audios of her full range of guided meditations; and writing further books to inspire and support everyone to create rich, happy and fulfilling lives.
Buy Diving for Pearls on Amazon.
Thrivecraft with Maggie Kay
Wisdom. Inspiration. Self-belief.