How do we know when we’ve had an insight?In our exploration of the three principles of innate health and well-being, we mention insight quite a bit. One of the questions I had when I first started learning about the principles was how do I know the difference between an insight and an idea that my brain offers?
Here then are a few things I’ve observed about that in the past year or so. These experiences apply whether I’m experiencing a deeper level of understanding about how my mind works and when I’m looking for information about what to do next.
Insight changes everything. When we’re searching for answers about the truth of ourselves or a situation, the oft-quoted explanation is that with insight, “Nothing has changed, but everything is different.” That has certainly been my experience.
With insight, we suddenly see a situation or pattern of behavior in an entirely new light. The feeling I get at those times is often one of, “Oh, now I get it.” My experience has been that this flavor of insight can be like a sudden mental jolt; sometimes my jaw drops open or I freeze in my tracks. Other times, it is more subtle and I simply notice a small shift within myself.
Insight feels soft. For me, ideas from my brain come with a different quality than insights. They are often just as valuable and beneficial – where would we be without ideas? But ideas are more obvious and don’t have that quality where things feel like they’ve shifted. The easiest way I have to explain it is that ideas feel like they come from my brain and insight feels like it comes from somewhere else in my body. A more central place. My solar plexus perhaps. But please don’t get caught up in that explanation. That’s just one way I have of describing the difference. For you, it might be very different.
Further to the idea that insight feels soft, it also feels peaceful to me. When I had my recent computer problems and needed to know what to do next, my brain was putting forth lots of ideas about what I could do. And one thing I noticed was that those ideas, while they felt logical, they didn’t feel peaceful.
So I waited. I waited until something landed with me that felt calm and peaceful. The insight to email the computer company was entirely absent of fear and any kind of panic. I felt utterly calm. To me, that pointed to insight.
Invisible insight. And then I’ve only recently started to realize that sometimes insight is invisible and undetectable. This happens when, with hindsight, I can see that something in me has shifted and I feel different about a situation, but without any conscious awareness of having had insights about that situation. An example from my life of invisible insight is when, without warning, I stopped feeling the desire to drink soda pop at lunch.
A caveat. I hesitated to write this post because I don’t want to imply that insight has to feel a certain way, or that you need to feel certain things in order to label something as insight. Because that’s not the case at all. And I’m also not trying to demonize ideas.
Syd Banks talked all the time about ‘following the good feeling’ and I think insight is a perfect example of that. Our problem-solving brains are often throwing ideas at us, especially when we’re worried or fearful about something, but those ideas don’t always come with a good feeling.
What I have found is that the more I learn to look for a good feeling in an idea or insight, the more peaceful and calm my life is.
Whether information you receive is from your brain or insight doesn’t really matter. What matters, it seems, is how it’s making you feel. When we are in touch with our wholeness and our innate well-being we feel good. And insights that feel good can remind us of our default setting of peace, calm and wellness.
Perhaps insight can be thought of as arrows, pointing us back to our innate health.I’d love to know your expeirence with noticing the difference (if any) between ideas and insight. Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.