Tag Archives: intuition

Connect to the Chuckle Beyond the Easy Thought

Breaking out reactive control to embrace the unknown.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

“All want to do, is empty my emerald-filled pockets on this tear stained world for you.”- Hafiz

This weekend, Julia and I were fortunate to play a concert for two wonderful communities in Ohio. At one of the events, our dear friend and guest speaker, Lisa Ferraro, offered an inspired talk about being mindful of, what I’ll refer to as, “the easy thought” and the thought that follows on its heels.

Very often, our mind will assess a situation and present us with what it thinks will be the best, easiest or most pleasurable thing for us. Occasionally, this will be followed by a quieter thought that will seem harder but speaks to something that is beneficial on a deeper level which may turn out to be even more significant for us.

This, soul/heart/intuitive thought, (call it what you can dance with), often prompts us to embrace the unknown. Our mind is often annoyed with this thought because it will take more effort and a certain level of surrender. Lisa gave a wonderful personal example of an instance in which her easy thought told her to exit a delayed flight if given the chance and go have a fun with a friend at a great restaurant. Her second thought challenged her to stay on the flight even with risk of further delays, because the possibility that was ahead of her at a conference in NYC was so unknown that it was intriguing. When faced with the choice, she decided the original plan was more important and stayed the course. Lisa not only had an experience in NYC that was beyond what she could have imagined but she ended up being of tremendous service to a group of misplaced travelers attending the conference. Her story and talk encouraged us to listen to the thought that follows, allowing ourselves to go into the unknown and “letting love blow our minds.”

During our concert that followed, a colorfully dressed bearded character with a large peace sign necklace waltzed in and locked eyes with me. I smiled at him but his expression seemed to suggest, “we will see if you are for real.” As we started playing, song by song, we witnessed him rejoice with his whole being. His audible expressions added a tangible affirmation that lifted and drew others out of their shell. He approached us afterwards and extended an invitation to hire us that night to sing for his guided meditation group.

At this time, it is important to note that Julia and I had been marking the end of this concert as the end of our busy week/weekend and the beginning of well-earned rest. The light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. We had been on the road and powered through a number of performances since we’d left NY mid-week. That morning’s 4:30 a.m. alarm reminded us, once again that by 3 pm, we would be able to “turn-off” for the evening, prior to our drive home the next day.

So, when I was approached by this gentleman, my easy thought was, “I’m not sure any amount of money could entice me.” Then, my subsequent thought was, “This is a unique opportunity to expand our community and who could possibly deny this wild appreciative being and his heart-expanding girlfriend?”  So, like a very wise man, I responded, “I have to first consult with my wife.”

She reluctantly agreed, as she was quite attached to our original plan, but was also inspired by the earlier talk.

Later that evening, we arrived at our host’s house and he was guiding a meditation that ended with telling the folks around him to “connect to the chuckle.” He had everyone giggle while focusing on how it centered the spirit, allowing the opportunity for connection. I thought, “Wow, this is a laughing bodhisattva, a spiritual prankster.”

He had set up a keyboard and introduced us to his students. We started to play, and with humility, I realized what a gift we had been given.

Here I thought that Frank, our host, was a joyful radical fringe element of the community we had met that morning. Now, I realized that he was the center of his own group and was acting as a sort of covalent bond, between circles. Julia and I strive to be a bridge between communities, so Frank was kin.

I have always maintained that consciousness thrives in small pockets, rather than in one big organized group. Frank and his girlfriend, Dawnzie, were an emerald-filled pocket onto themselves.

As we played, a young woman asked us to repeat one of our lyrics. Saying aloud to her, “If I could reach across the great divide, our tears would become nourishment and heal us from inside,” it struck me that part of the ability to reach across, was to listen past the easy thought and embrace the chuckle.

Posted all around the meeting room were mandalas, pictures of enlightened figures, and posters with many of Franks light-hearted sayings, such as, “Stay in the Pleasant Tense.” He offered us one of his books of poetry which delighted us all the way home. His phrases have started to come up like a play list in my mind:

THE HOLY GRAIL: THERE ARE MANY HOLY GRAILS – AFFECTION FOR THE MOMENT, GENUINE LOVE FOR EVERYONE AND PASSION FOR LIFE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES.”

BUILD A COMPLAINT FREE ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU.”

KINDNESS ENRICHES ANY GIVEN MOMENT AND OFTEN CAUSES LOVE TO APPEAR IN PEOPLE’S EYES.”

TRY TO GET CLOSE TO SOMEONE SO YOUR AFFECTION HAS SOMEWHERE TO SPLASH.”

-Frank Tennyson/ author of several books, including, Nod Wisely-Smile Knowingly, No One Wins When Clowns Fight, Zigzagging through the Straight and Narrow.

Enjoy a video of Frank talking about staying in the “Pleasant Tense”: https://youtu.be/FwiXgVmoGXw

Wherever we travel, moment to moment we are offered so many riches, we cannot possibly contain them. Instead of remaining insular, we can listen for the ways we can expand and connect our circles, to spread the wealth around. Chuckling, we will find we are connected to more than we can give away. Julia and I are looking forward to nudging each other towards our intuitive thoughts more often.

The Spherical Wonder of Intuition

Going beyond a linear understanding of our human nature.

“Intuition binds us together. Without it we lose our sense of purpose and belonging.”

-Malidoma Patrice Somé, a West African elder, spiritual leader and author

“In order to create something new human beings need to go into the unknown”

Marina Abramović, the “grandmother of performance art”

“Drink in the beauty and wonder at the meaning of what you see.”

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

My wife Julia and I are a musical bridge between communities.  As The Levins, we bring Harmony-Driven Transformational Folk Grooves (TFG) into various settings to promote love and goodwill. One of the main benefits of this for us are the wonderful people we get to interact with. Recently, we played for a meditation retreat up in Hudson, NY.  One of our friends there talked of her upcoming trip to Sedona, Arizona. She said she was excited about immersing herself in nature for eight days because in nature there is no mirror. There is an opportunity to connect purely to your being without having to uphold a manicured image.

Nature is linked to our inner nature which invites and allows us to go beyond our linear rational confinement.

There is a insightful documentary called Innsaei, which explores our inner nature. Innsaei is an Icelandic term for Intuition. The word can also be translated as The Sea Within, or To See from Within. In the film, it is pointed out that approximately 2% of our brain is used for logical, fact and figure, linear thinking.  The rest of it is perhaps an aperture into what is unknown to us and yet constantly surrounds us.

The film noted that for eight generations Polynesians would travel hundreds of miles on the Pacific Ocean without navigational tools. They were able to use their intuition to read the depth of what was all around them.

“For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind. One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Another movie which delves into going beyond our linear perspective of the world is Arrival, based on the book “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang.

In this film, space ships arrive on earth and a linguist is brought in to communicate with them to discover why they are there. The discovery and study of this new language is a wonderful metaphor for us dealing with our unknown nature. We see it as alien, but using intuition we can learn something  that rewires our brains so that we can experience time as spherical.  The solution, described as in Arrival  as a ‘Non-Zero Sum Game’, requires us to share what we have with those that we see as our enemies or competitors to both come away with something that benefits us. The result is a win-win game.

Our capacity to trust our intuition and redevelop our sense of wonder allows us to go beyond the linear constructs of our lives with empathy and an optimistic savoring.

The lead character in Arrival, Dr. Louise Banks remembers the future and concludes:

“Despite knowing the journey and where it leads… I embrace it. And I welcome every moment of it.”

The melody of our lives reaches out in tendrils to harmonize intuitively with everything we intersect.

Thank you for the fullness of our intersections.