Developing our Human Capacities: A Necessity, Not a Luxury

Alexis McKenna, Ph.D. – Oct. 12, 2010

"When you are snared and entangled in the patterns of your fear – feeling so lost, alone or threatened – and in jeopardy-- lift to a quiet -- more still than silence. It is there beyond seeing and hearing that all your dreams and visions are born. It is there that all your emptiness can be filled. It is there that wonder waits to open your heart and mind to the profound truths of your goodness and beauty – and to the majestic glory of your love and caring. "

Lazaris: Concept Synergy


Developing our human capacities – learning how to go within, be silent, and access the imaginal realms – is a necessity in modern times. The linear mind – the reasoning mind – that serves so well in times of stability -- is utterly useless in times of chaos, disorder, and disintegration. In times of rapid change, old ways of doing things simply quit working. Familiar notions of order, predictability, and measurability no longer apply. Old benchmarks and standards drop away. The linear mind ceases to function: it's measuring and observing devices no longer work.

The measuring and observing devices of the non-linear mind – sometimes called the imaginal mind – function better in times of rapid change. It loves puzzles, mysteries, the unknown and the unexpected. It works with symbols, metaphors, impressions, patterns, dreams, and visions. It does not follow logic and reason. It functions more like a dream: images and ideas are juxtaposed in such a way that new insights and possibilities appear. It responds to invitation -- not demand.

Most of us have lost touch with the imaginal mind. As children, we knew it well. As adults, we've neglected it – usually because we have been told that spending time there is wasteful or irrelevant. Not true. When everything around us is changing, turning to our inner world – learning how to access and use our human capacities – is essential. At a minimum, it is physically good for us: our heart rate slows down, our tension level and blood pressure drop. We relax.

It is in these states of deep relaxation that our perceptions shift and alter. Time slows down. Our sense of spaciousness and possibility expand. Ideas and insights, that were hovering on the edge of our consciousness, suddenly take form and solidify. Possibilities appear where none previously existed. We feel safe; our sense of separation disappears. For the first time in days, weeks, or months, we feel truly rested, nourished and at peace with our world. Externally, nothing has changed. Internally, everything is different.

In the midst of chaos, uncertainty, confusion, and despair, it's good to pause and reflect. When the frenzy of demands, deadlines, and expectations race toward explosion, sit down and take a deep breath. Turn on some soothing music. Or, take a walk in nature. Or, recall a precious moment. Or, go to a sacred place. Still the mind. Look within; seek out those internal images, symbols, and metaphors that nourish and sustain. Take a "time out." It works well for children; why not for adults?