Friday, November 12, 2010

Why I'm still a handsome guy.

Some years ago I began to practise a self taught form of immediate meditation. I didn't realise it was like meditation until I started reading about Buddhism and came across meditation techniques, and thought yeah, that's similar to what I'm doing, but I don't take all day over it. And I don't count breaths, nor stare at my belly button for hours. I've been on a long journey since 1972, trying to understand and develop intuitive abilities. Why? Well it has been a guide throughout my life, and has lead me down interesting pathways in my career and family life.

1972, NZ Territorial Army training. Our intake was one of the last to train with the Sten submachine gun as the Army was adopting the US AR-15 M16 Armalite. The Sten was a cheap, blow-back action sub-machine gun, mass produced during WW11, which could fire 9mm rounds on single or automatic. Our platoon was ecstatic because all of us testosterone driven kids would finally fire a sub-machine gun instead of the single fire FN SLR  we were lugging around. Heavy brutes.

Sten gun, Pic ex Wikipedia.

Our platoon was briefed by the Armourer NCO about the Sten's capabilities, how to use it, safety and then finished off with a quick summary of known problems, explaining that because the Sten and it's ammo were old, and cheaply mass manufactured, it could experience blockages, where a round gets stuck in the spout. If you pull the trigger again, or on auto, then the next round colliding with the stuck round will blow up the gun, and send the breech block backwards taking your jaw with it.

"But don't worry chaps because in all my 19 years in the Army, I've never seen it happen!"

Our squad were second up on the firing mounds to fire 10 rounds single shot, aimed with the gun held up by our faces for sighting. I pulled the trigger once, then again...and my finger froze... as somewhere in my mind a voice said "Don't pull the trigger, Jim!"
I froze, finger on the trigger, and I just knew I cannot fire again.
"Soldier, keep firing !" yells the Rangemaster .
"No Sargent. I'm not firing"
"Keep firing. You're holding up the squad!" he yelled again.
I made safe the weapon, stepped down off the mound, and presented the gun to the advancing irate Sargent.
He checked the weapon, opened the breech then looked down the bore and went white! I still remember the look on his face as he realised there was a round stuck in the bore.
Had I pulled that trigger again, I'd not be the handsome fellow I am today! And he'd ordered me to fire....

A hurried conversation between NCO's and Officers and the gun was sent off to the armoury. Then the Sargent comes over to me, and asked me how I knew.
What could I say...a voice in my head? They'd send me off to sick bay.
"I just knew, Sargent." I said.
"You couldn't just know, Lance Corporal".
I shrug my shoulders and repeated, '' I just knew, Sargent".

A voice in my head... Well since then it has happened many times often when a danger might present, or a major decision is required. Either as if someone has spoken to me, or as a very strong impression that something has to be done a certain way, or an event or decision needs me to take a certain action.

It's a very strong certainty of knowing the correct decision.

It's called instinct, or intuition, many of us have it, most of us ignore it in preference to using logical or rational thinking. Over the years that event has stuck in my mind and I have tried to heighten that ability.

A quote from a Buddhist website-
"Detachment, objectivity, is an invaluable aid to clear thinking; it enables a man to sum up a given situation without bias, personal or otherwise, and to act in that situation with courage and discretion."

My way is just a quickie way of finding that detachment from the moment, voiding your mind of any thoughts, ignoring any outside influences, knowing the difference between feelings of want or greed, objectivity, etc, and just allowing a 'reading' of what your inner self, or your intuition is telling you about any situation you are in, or any dilemma you are facing. Allowing your intuitive response to occur rather than swamping it with our rational, logical mind. Can be done very quickly.

We all have intuition, well most of us anyway, but we're never taught to use it and instead we blanket, smother, or discourage it, because our education, and our social conditioning teaches us that whenever we make a decision we've got to have logical reasons for making that choice or taking that action. Hey, you can't just do it! You've got to have a reason, a logical reason. The figures have got to stack up.

After a while you begin to read what your instinct is telling you.And it's always right, often contrary to the logical analytical answer.
But more of us may be able to develop their intuition by adopting a similar meditation technique.
After all, it's just another way of altering your consciousness, and all the religions and beliefs in this world adopt different means to achieve the same inner peace, the same type of answer from within, perhaps?

Readers might like to read this story, it's true by the way, about an incident that happened when visiting Tuol Sleng, Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.
The Traveller World Guide
In strange, intimidating, or new situations, or when needing to make a decision I try to use my perceptive abilities, by practising a form of quickie meditation, blanking out my mind, ignoring any outside influences, and seeking that immediate inner intuitive response. Over the years this ability to sense influences in my surroundings, or happenings to loved ones has been a rather interesting journey.
There are many more stories.......



Nancie said...

I agree Jim that intuition or hunches (whatever you want to call them) shouldn't be ignored.

I've toured Tuol Sleng. That was a sobering experience. I'll drop by and read the post.

inka said...

I have often found that following my inner voice has kept me out of trouble. I'll read this again later.

Ayngelina said...

I also toured Tuol Sleng, it left me speechless.

John in France said...

Good article Jim. Actually at 1am before the Christchurch earthquake a local celebrity and his wife went for a holiday to Hanmer Springs (90mins away) - their first holiday alone since the children were born, i.e. 17 years! At 1am the wife woke and said "something terrible is about to happen, we have to go home ot be with the children". Three hours later the 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch. Phew!!

Cathy Sweeney said...

Quite a compelling story and interesting concept to think about, Jim. I do believe that our instincts can be powerful in determining what's best for us over all the visible, logical indications. I don't think that's always been the case for me, but I haven't studied meditation or really tried to fine tune trust all of my intuitions.

I also read your Tuol Sleng article which is just amazing. I still haven't been able to leave a comment on the World Nomads page, however. I'll keep trying and will certainly vote in December.

adventureswithben said...

I can't relate to your experience, but I often experience deja vu. Probably once a month or so I feel like I've lived this experience before. The human mind is a mystery.

Jim said...

Wow! I've been sitting back waiting to see the response from readers, and it's heartening to see so many come back with a positive response. I was hoping to encourage conversation on intuition in an attempt to highlight how we may be able to decide which is the correct action when we're sitting in our cubicle reading the umpteenth blog on " Chuck it in/follow your heart" because that just may lead many into making a wrong choice.
It's very easy to choose on the basis of our frustrations with life, our jealousy at someone travelling the world, or a sense our job/life is going nowhere. But they are all feelings of wants, Oops computer repair man here. Back soon

Jim said...

OK got that sorted..

It's very easy to choose on the basis of our frustrations with life, our jealousy at someone travelling the world, or a sense our job/life is going nowhere. But they are mostly feelings of wants, perceived needs,or envy or greed,and to those, the 'follow your heart' advice may be seen as an appealing answer.
But is that the way to choose?
You're so frustrated with life, that you finally chuck it in and just go? How do you know that that is the right decision? Waking up on a beach in Thailand realising you've blown your cash, no ticket home, and you wish like hell you're back at that cubicle again...

Could you have made a better choice? Is there another way to make that decision?
Is there a way of divining the future , using your intuition to make decisions that are always the right ones for yourself, and those closest to you ?

Norbert said...

Wow! Lucky you for following your intuition on that particular moment. I don't know how to explain or describe intuition, but I know it happens, and that most of the times it has a positive outcome. Where I have expressed my intuition constantly is at work, on my designs. I guess those are the moments where I let things flow and BE... If I only knew how to control it better... lol

Jim said...

Hi Norbert, and everyone else. Been having computer problems so getting on here to react to each individual has been a problem. But sorted now.
I'm not sure if we can 'control' it. Nor can we improve it, or even summon it at will.
But I feel we can peel back, or remove the layers that smother it, and let the intuitive capabilities we have operate without restriction.
Designers, artists etc are probably expressing their abilities as fully as they can, and are often the most unrepressed people you'll find. Letting their imagination go is just natural to them.
Perhaps you're right, when you're designing, your intuition is flowing.

zablon said...

i used to ignore hunches but from now i wont be doing it any more

Christy @ Ordinary Traveler said...

Interesting post. It makes sense that meditation can develop our sense of intuition. I believe clearing our minds of clutter leaves enough room for us to do amazing things. Thanks for the thoughtful post!

Jim said...

Yeah Zablon , don't ignore them. I'm writing up another part to this intuition post, and I'll try and elaborate on how I 'manage' hunches, or use intuition. I think we all have it, but we don't use it...just as you say.

Jim said...

Christy, you're right, clearing our mind, finding that detachment from all worldly influences, wants and needs, and then allowing that immediate intuitive response to be felt is the key I think.

Caz Makepeace said...

Love this post Jim and I agree wholeheartedly. I hear the voice often and I always pay for it when I don't give it the attention it's asking of me and when I do well... you know.

Jim said...

Glad you do also Caz, and I'm sure lots of us do or could. And it's this that we should use to help us make decisions rather than frustration at our life. The 'follow your heart' posts on so many blogs may appeal, and get big readership, but often just encourage people to make the wrong decisions as the choice is made out of exasperation at their cubicle life or frustration they're going nowhere.

This decision needs to be made objectively, and tapping into our intuitive abilities can help by sensing our future and whether the choice is correct for us. Decisions made upon frustrations often end up in further frustrations.

Carlo Alcos said...

Hey Jim...followed you here from my post at Brave New Traveler. Have you read Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink? Sounds like much of what you describe here.

I think it is important that we follow our instincts more, because I think much of our intuition comes from our life experiences. We store so much unconsciously and this can come forward in stressful situations to give us that "gut feeling." And as Christy said, meditation brings clarity of mind and more awareness, and brings us to the present moment, so can help greatly in this regard. Interesting journey you're on there!

Jim said...

Thanks Carlo, yes I've not read 'Blink' but have read that instinct is merely utilising our sub-conscious life experiences. I tend to think that is more 'wisdom' as distinct from 'instinct or perception' although the lines may be blurred between all those responses.
I can point to a few blogs on this site that sub-conscious experience just doesn't explain the situation though.
BTW, there was no prior life experience with a Stirling sub-machine gun to draw upon to know there was a blockage.

Healing Morning said...

Hi Jim,
Just now getting a chance to return the visit to your blog from your comment over at Healing Morning. We are most definitely kindred spirits in the metaphysical sense, it appears. I am now following you in Networked Blogs, Google Friend Connect & I'm going to look you up on FB. Would you consider doing an email subscribe button on your blog that does feedburner delivery to email inboxes? (I looked, but it doesn't appear you have that on your blog at the moment.) I love the convenience of my favorite blogs being routed directly to my email.

Addressing your article topic here, I've been what my Mom dubbed "slightly fey" since I was wee, and have always been a bit more connected to that still quiet voice within that we all have. It has stood me in good stead many a time over the years, saving me from imminent grief more times than I can count. I, too, do my own form of meditation and find it invaluable to keep everything within on a calm, balanced level. I look forward to reading more of your work!


Jim said...

Dawn thanks and yes you reminded me about that word 'fey.'
And you're right, your intuition can keep you from imminent grief or harm, as long as you pay attention to it, and act upon your instinct. I've got a post I'm working on that will illustrate that effect. I'll let you know when it's up.
Feedburner... yes I have to get up to speed on that.

Boutique Website Design said...

Love the title. Why I'm still a handsome guy!!!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is actually outstanding. Keep working that way.

Chris Jennings Penders said...

Hi Jim:
Looks like we have something in common. My radar is spot on. Check out my blog:
for few examples where I correctly predicted outcomes of events.

I believe as you do that we all have this ability. It simply takes recognizing when it happens and continuing to hone the talent.