With all the entertainment garbage floating out there in the world, I really appreciate it when writers are able the insert little nuggets of wisdom into blockbuster movies. I caught one the other day when watching “Men in Black.”
The story is of two agents of an ultra-secret agency, protecting Earth from unimaginable dangers posed by alien visitors. Will Smith plays the young upstart code-named “J” and Tommy Lee Jones the surly yet wise older agent code-named “K”. Anytime K is stuck on a problem, he follows the advice of his old “Grand Pappy” and steps into a diner to have a piece of pie. Inevitably, between bites of flaky crust and gooey apple, the solution to the problem at hand jumps into his mind.
What I love about these moments (as they happen in each of the three MIB movies) is that they are a simple illustration of a deeper, more ancient knowing. Yet, they present the concept in such a way that people young and old can grasp it.
Our brains are wonderful calculators; brilliant machines. They can hold multiple solutions to the same problem simultaneously, going back and forth until we as the observer, ultimately decide on a course of action. This is why we can have the experience of “X seems good, but on the other hand Y sounds like a good option, too. I don’t know what to choose.”
When we go back and forth like this, our brain is so caught up in pros and cons, our mind cannot see the solution through all the chaos. For Agent K, what having a piece of pie does is calm his mind. With each bite he is able to step out of the subjectiveness of his thoughts and become an objective observer. He breaks the cycle of endless calculations and allows a deeper knowledge to bubble up from his subconsciousness into his conscious awareness.
A calm mind is an open mind. With the volume turned down, our great brain calculators are able to retrieve old memories, information and wisdom that can help solve the problem. An open mind is available to consider the alternatives and new insights presented and factor those into the current equations where they were not before.
Have you ever lost an item, searched for it everywhere and given up, only to have the location of the object dawn on you an hour or so later? This is an example of how giving your mind a break on the problem can actually help it discover a solution.
Agent K’s key to the portal of his subconscious mind is pie. But for others of us it can be meditation, yoga, prayer, walks, exercise, golf, air travel, long car rides, really anything that calms and clears the mind of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Actions that quiet the chaos are the keys to our subconscious portals, which are available to us at anytime. That is if we are willing to use the keys and open up the pathways.
Granted, there may be times when we just want to wallow in our own self pity and keep ourselves from finding the solution or solve the root of our problems. But when we are ready, be it five minutes or five years into the problem, the wisdom within us will not go unheard. By understanding that such personal direction is available to us at anytime, we are offered the opportunity to side-step frustration, lost time and sometimes heartache, and follow the wisdom we all hold. All we need to do is be open to it.
Think about how you experience your mind. What activities do you enjoy, that also places your mind into a meditative state, or one that does not allow you to think of anything else but the task at hand? When you are taking part in those activities, have you experienced sudden realizations and understandings that had eluded you before? How do you think your life would blossom if you took part in those activities more often?
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” — Albert Einstein