I had a bewildering experience tonight. I was leaving a restaurant after dinner and I was about a block away from home. As I was crossing the street, I had a strange rumbling sensation coming from the right side of my chest. I wasn’t sure if it was heart burn, but it felt totally unfamiliar. I had just eaten a large bowl of ramen, which was my first meal of the day, so I assumed that explained it and continued walking. About five steps later I felt it again, a tight rumbling feeling in my upper-right chest area. For some reason, my first reaction was that the feeling might be an indication that I needed to pay attention to something. I reached into my pockets to see if I was missing anything, and sure enough I had left my cell phone in the restaurant.
I knew I wasn’t going to have the feeling again for the rest of the night, and it seems so far that I was right. It’s hard for me to explain what else, other than some sort of subconscious knowledge, could have caused this unfamiliar feeling. And it’s even harder for me to explain why my reaction was to check if I had left something at the restaurant. But, I’m generally skeptical about this type of reasoning and like to be sure my connections are grounded in reality before I follow through with them. This is a rare case where my intuition tells me that I need to shift my notion of reality in order to accommodate for a connection that I was previously unaware of.
I’m not going to go off the deep end and start believing we can tap into the deep truths about the universe by listening to our feelings. However, the example of my rumbling chest seems to lie somewhere on the spectrum of things that I could learn, not by seeking more information, but by paying closer attention to the information I already have.
I was always taught that I didn’t know, and if I wanted to, I could find out. But this seems to relate only to outside sources of information. Growing up, I learned how to incorporate other people’s knowledge into my own life. Obviously, this is still an important part of my learning process. But, as I get older, and the things I want to do become more specific to my personal value-structure, I’m increasingly motivated to respect the fact that there is a large base of connections and knowledge within my mind that has the potential to develop and be understood more deeply. It seems to be generally more efficient to address my problems by learning more about them internally. This realization has been a massively counterintuitive development in my learning process.
Maybe it’s just my learning style, but I think we’re not all that different. I’m convinced we could use more of this type of knowledge pursuit, and rely less on outside resources in order to understand our world better.