The number one place where visionary geniuses get their best ideas is in the bathroom. Einstein said he had some of his best ideas while shaving, but for most of us, it’s the shower that does it.
Think of it: there you are, divested of your usual social masks, so you’re not worrying so much about what others think. You’re just focused on coming clean.
You’re probably more present, more attuned to your senses. All you have to do is stay alert enough not to fall, then stand there and enjoy the fruits of others’ genius (thank you to all you inventors of plumbing, heating and great showerheads!).
As the hot water pours over your head, mental cobwebs get cleared away. Whatever tension you normally carry in your shoulders and neck lets go. Without thinking about it, great ideas can flow naturally, almost as easily as the water flows over your head.
It’s Harder to Block Great Ideas When You’re Naked and Vulnerable
As mindfulness practitioners know, most of us keep our minds so overloaded with chatter that we can’t notice or hear the quieter, more solid wisdom that’s always available to guide our minds.
Then there all the psychological and spiritual issues that block the reception of potential visions. Fear is probably the best known visionary inhibitor but pride and self-will are equally potent. So are belief systems, idealized self images and all the other things you may carry around with you, without even noticing it.
Take those off, and you become mentally, spiritually and emotionally “naked.” In such a state, you’re better able to receive new ideas. Or even old ideas that you’ve been ignoring.
How to Be “Naked” When Fully Clothed And Out in the World
A huge barrier to vision is the common tendency in our culture to rush decisions, as if not knowing the answer to something is weak. In truth, we’re strongest spiritually and emotionally if we can also be vulnerable and open to help from others.
That’s why all great spiritual and therapeutic traditions require us to be naked emotionally and spiritually to ourselves, and often with others. Indeed, one of the most powerful preludes to great wisdom is the spiritual practice of what St. John of the Cross called the dark night of the soul.
In this practice, we dare to go beyond all we know, or think we know, into the darkness of not knowing. Here, we’re like travelers who have gone far enough from a city not to hear its noise, not even to see the afterglow of its lights. Once we get attuned to the darkness, we can see more stars, more faint lights in the distance, and even the light of our own hearts.
Being naked out in the world doesn’t mean spilling all your beans to another. But it does mean being bare of illusions or pretenses or beliefs that keep you from being fully present to yourself and the world around you. Naked this way, you’re more attuned to what’s true about you and the world. In this state, you’re more relaxed, better able to notice what calls you for work, for business, for service, and even for just having a great day today.
How Do You Get “Naked” So You Can Invite a Vision?
Do you actually hit the shower sometimes just to clear your head? Do you meditate? Do you have a spiritual director or friend who helps you strip away your pretenses and illusions so you can come clean to your true self?
Does a walk, or dancing or hanging out with a two-year-0ld help you get out of your own stuff so you’re more receptive to new perspectives?
Feel free to share your comments below.
As always, many blessings to you,
Pat McHenry Sullivan