Liminal Insight

(aka, losing our marbles…)


I was thinking about wild mind last night, remembering how vital it feels to slip out of rational, plotting, methodical thinking, to let the mind wander and expand and take journeys of imagination… We do this every day ~ though we don’t always remember ~ in our dreams! But what other spaces do you give your mind to rest, meander, explore…? Perhaps you practice meditation, yoga, journaling, being in nature, dancing, dreamwork… These are all wonderful practices that create space for healing, release, and new insight to arise.

But of course while insight often arises naturally from the empty ground that we’ve cleared so mindfully, sometimes we still grapple with questions ~ this or that, yes or no, how do I *really* feel about ___? Instead of applying the mundane mind to these queries, here’s a fun wild-mind technique I sometimes employ ~ I suppose you could call it something like “liminal insight.”

This technique relies on sleep (or at least a brief nap), but unlike dreamwork, it is very simple. See, while I’m a big proponent of dreamwork, dreams can be funny – they sometimes give us timely wisdom, exactly what [we imagine] we need. Other times they ramble on in seemingly unintelligible labyrinths (hey, even when they don’t give us any threads that are possible to follow, this is good for the mind ~ it needs to unwind!). And while I’ve learned that though I can always trust my dreams to teach me something, they don’t always answer the questions my conscious mind thinks are most pressing. So for those answers, I’ve devised another sleep technique: before bed, I craft the question in my mind in as simple and direct a fashion as possible. I tell myself that first thing upon waking, I will ask the question again, and listen to how my half-conscious mind answers. The trick is to remember the question upon waking! The other trick is to trust the liminal mind, the intuitive and naked mind we wake up with. But when practiced, over and over again I find it works. I often apply this technique when struggling between two opposites or options. It works great with yes or no questions. Over time, with practice, perhaps one can apply this technique to deeper levels of complex queries… Mind you, at times your liminal mind may not have an answer either ~ in which case it might be time to question your question itself… 😉

I can’t find reference to it now, but I swear I once read of Einstein doing something similar ~ he would set up to doze in a chair with a complex mathematical problem in mind and a marble in one hand. When he drifted off, his hand would slip and the drop of the marble would wake him ~ it was in that exact instant between sleep and waking that the insight would often come. Ha ha ha ~ Einstein solving universal riddles by losing his marbles! Go figure… In any case, I think it’s good for all of us to lose our marbles a little bit, to trust the deeper, intuitive senses a bit more. We can get so caught up in ‘rational thinking’ that we don’t remember to loosen the reins on the mind, to let its wild wisdom inform us. The mind is so much more brilliant than we give it credit for, so much more intelligent than the small boxes we try to squeeze it within, the narrow blinders with which we allow it to look at the world. The mind is always processing information on more levels then we can consciously be aware of – we have answers inside we can’t even explain how we arrived at. But there are reasons, even if they’re beyond our conscious perception. Isn’t that something – there’s ‘reason’ in trusting the wild, unrestrained mind….


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Photo by Sharon Pittaway, Unsplash


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