Wise Mind

There is an ever constant war between our brain and our heart in regards to which is going to be in charge of making a decision. Our brain wants to be logical while our heart wants to be emotional. The place in the middle where both find a solution that brings balance is known as Wise Mind.

The Logical Mr. Spock

“May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant.”

Known as the logical or reasonable mind, this is the side of our brain that is the fact-based choices. One might feel calm, linear, or detached from the situation when in this state of mind. Decisions are based on observation.  Some additional ways to think of logical or reasonable mind would be:

  • Intellectual, scientific
  • Logical and rational thinking
  • Factual thinking, based on evidence
  • Able to plan how to respond
  • Focuses attention
  • Cool in approaching problems
  • What I should do

The Emotional Captain Kirk

“Sometimes a feeling is all we humans have to go on.”

Just as logical mind sits on one side of the scale, emotional mind sits on the other. At times, decisions based on a fully emotional mindset may be needed – when in danger, acting may be life-saving versus deciding if our choice is emotional or rational. What we are talking about here are the decisions that we may find ourselves in that have that “knee-jerk reaction” too. Those moments where you act without thinking first or say or do something you regret later. Our emotions are controlling our actions on this side of things.

  • Thinking and behavior controlled by an emotional state

  • Thoughts are unhelpful and distressing
  • Difficult to think logically and rationally
  • Facts are distorted to fit with current distress
  • Opinions
  • Strong emotions drive strong behavior.
  • What I want to do

Wise (Mind) Dr. McCoy

McCoy: Permission to speak freely, sir?
Spock: I welcome it.
McCoy: Do you? OK, then. Are you out of your Vulcan mind? Are you making a logical choice, sending Kirk away? Probably. But, the right one? You know, back home we have a saying: “If you’re gonna ride in the Kentucky Derby, you don’t leave your prize stallion in the stable.”

There is a place between emotional and rational minds and this is called Wise Mind. It is that place where, when we find ourselves too far in one direction or the other, we stop, take some deep breaths, step back from the situation, re-evaluate the situation, then try to come up with a solution that is the best from both sides. From both sides there are going to be the immediate “things I want to do” and the question is, “is this really the correct course of action” for an effective response. Wise mind is also known as “taking the middle path” and it is a skill that one may find themselves continually practicing – or maybe that is just me. Some questions to ask yourself as you work on wise mind are:

  • What options do I have in this situation?
  • What would be the best response for me? For others involved?
  • What would be most effective for everyone?
  • What would be the consequences of my choices? Short and long-term?

Practice