I have always wondered why clinicians practice medicine. I used to think it was because the wise clinician is always learning and applying new things that she learns. I now believe that due to the way we utilize our intelligence require more and more practice. I am reminded of the time that I gave a talk to the students at the state veterinary college. A young lady student seemed impressed that I had been practicing for so many years. She said, “My Dr. Thomas. A vet that has been in practice for 35 years must be very good at what he does.” I explained that I learned from experience for 5 years and spent the remaining 30 years practicing the same old stuff.
When we deal with health issues, it is our conditioning to use our intellectual thinking to find answers. It is how most of our brains work. This conditioning comes from utilizing our higher brain function to gather needed information, use simple deduction, cause and effect and come up with a likely solution. This works really well for balancing the check book or determining the quickest way to drive to Disney World, but it doesn’t always serve us when we are looking for ways to resolve health issues with our pets.
I remember when I was a senior in veterinary college. We had two old large animal clinicians who had been in practice for many years and had decided to finish their careers as clinicians at the vet school. Any time a person would back their trailer up to the unloading ramp with a sick cow or horse in it, both of them would dash out to the trailer and have a race as to who would make the diagnosis first. Within a couple of minutes of hearing the animal’s symptoms, one of them would yell out, “It must be ……”
Now, this approach might often work fine, but not always. There are many questions and problems that cannot be answered from this perspective. Let’s go back to the example of the old clinicians. Perhaps the horse in question had been given a correct diagnosis and perhaps this disease was a terminal disease. What if the horse’s caretaker turned to the old vet who blurted out the diagnosis and asked, “How will I know when it is time to let my horse go?”
I can imagine the old vet having a perplexed look on his face while scratching his white hair. “Why, I am not sure.”
There are obvious times when intellectual thinking has its place, but we must accept that it comes with a great deal of limitations. Intellect comes from a combination of education, practice and experience. A good auto mechanic learns his trade, puts his education into practice time and time again and gains experiences which will help him make decisions in the future. But, health care is not the same as auto mechanics.
If I ask the vet how my dog’s kidneys function, he will be able to give me a dissertation about anatomy and physiology of the kidneys, pathophysiology and treatments, but if I ask him how I can love my dog, he cannot answer. Even though you absolutely know that you love your dog. You can’t practice loving your dog. You do it because you can’t not do it. This cannot be explained by the intellectual mind.
If I ask you what your life has been like up to this present moment, you would pause, tap into your intellectual brain, recall your memories and describe your past. If I ask you what the rest of your life might look like, you will pause and imagine what that might look like. You use your imagination instead of your intellectual mind. Imagination is beyond the intellectual mind that relies on recall and practice. Imagination taps into potentiality and potentiality comes from higher consciousness and is channeled through intuitive guidance.
Intuition is the other part of the balanced mind. It is that part of the mind that is not interested in “just the facts” but is interested in change and evolving. It is our guiding factor, that little whisper in our ear that tells us to go right or left. Some might call it insight. I like this word because it suggests that we need to look inward to find the answers.
Imagine that intelligence has levels of awareness in the form of a target with a bullseye. The concentric rings represent higher levels of intelligence and the bullseye represents the lowest level of intelligence. The bullseye represents our thinking, intellectual mind. It does a great job at what it is good at, but it does have its limitations. Example: “When do I know it is time to let my sweet old dog go?”
Each circle, as we move outwards from the bullseye, represents a higher level of consciousness or intelligence. These higher levels of consciousness are where intuitive guidance and insight come from. They seem to know things from a broader perspective. Some refer to this as Divine purpose.
Imagine that you live in a small village. You have spent your entire life interacting with your neighbors, moving around the village, experiencing the individual structures, people and so on. Then, one day you climb up to the top of a nearby mountain and look down on your village. You see it from a different perspective. You see how all of the parts are arranged so that things flow correctly. You see that the individual people seem to move in a harmony that benefits the whole and not just the individual. Nothing has changed other than your perspective.
Intelligence is based on knowing how things work by being able to explain it. Explaining comes from deduction derived by an intellectual perspective. Intuition cannot be explained. Instead, it is sensed. The reason is because intuition is beyond the intellectual mind’s capabilities. Like the target, the bullseye is within the concentric rings of higher consciousness. This is why science often falls short of explaining how things happen. It never will, as it can only point in the direction towards a higher knowingness and that can only happen when it acknowledges its limitations and casts its eyes forward instead of the past.
Intelligence and rational thought works with concepts and how these ideas rationally work together; cause and effect. They move us around laterally and we get stuck in evolving and evolving is the only way we move toward what is Real. Insight or intuitiveness is a change in perception, a new way of seeing something. It requires no effort as it comes to us by removing the obstacles that keep us from seeing it.
When we tap into our intuition or insight, we move our knowingness to those higher perspectives and from that perspective, we become aware of things that might not have been as clear from the old perspective. This is how we truly evolve. It is pretty easy to see that we cannot evolve while we are totally focused on using the intellectual mind for true knowledge.
Our pets give us many opportunities to look beyond the intellect and tap into our intuitive awareness. Perhaps is is dealing with an illness or just contemplating how much you love your pet. Any opportunity to give the busy, intellectual mind a rest while contemplating the unexplainable will open the door to mind and spirit evolution. It is good for the soul and good for your pet.