When I heard the term ‘crucible of truth’, I jostled in my seat. It sounded like a sci-fi terminology. Initially, I did not believe it had any connection to me, a coach nor the coaching profession. How incorrect I was! The setting under which I became acquainted with this term was during a 3 months program which I undertook as part of my coaching development journey. The title of the program itself sounded very scientific. It was called “Systemic Intelligence in Coaching”. What unfolded in the virtual program, was phenomenal. I gained knowledge on what systemic intelligence was about and the impact systems had on us, coaches and leaders. Additionally, I also acquired deep insights on the fact that we coaches and leaders are a part of systems and we hold a lot of truth within us, hence the term ‘crucible of truth’. I hope I have intrigued you enough to explore further what does ‘crucible of truth’ mean.
‘Crucible or Vessel of Truth’ refers to the fact that we, as individuals, hold the capacity of innate wisdom within us to resolve difficult situations which we encounter. This fact is rooted in Dr Rupert Sheldrake, a British researcher in parapsychology. He called it ‘Embodied Wisdom’ or wisdom in our body. To prove that there is innate wisdom within our body, he shared three examples. Firstly, the example of the masses of human body movement in synchronization when they do the ‘Mexican wave’ in the stadium stands. There is no leader to tell them what to do, when to do, who to do what, nor how to do it, and yet, the hundreds of people can seem to move their body in nearly perfect rhythm using their innate wisdom as their body can get a ‘sense’ of how to move. In his second example, he shared that this form of similar body movement happens to birds as they fly together in masses. They swiftly change direction or speed and yet they do not knock into each other. In his third example, he described how fishes in the seas glide through the water in schools and they too move swiftly and change direction rapidly without giving a pre-warning to all the fishes. Yet, none of them knock into each other. They have zero leader to show them the way or to guide them. All these three examples show us that we have innate wisdom that can navigate us through complex scenarios that we encounter. The body can give us instincts and move us to the right path towards resolving these complex problems. All we need to do is to access it.
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How do we access our innate wisdom or crucible of truth?
We need to tune into our body regularly so that we can ‘sense’ what it is prompting us to do when we face complex problems. When we are in tune or in sync, then we can hear the cues or hints. There are simple exercises we can attempt on a daily basis. We will learn to observe energy levels, sighs, breaths, body movements as well as body sensations. These exercises include:-
Simple mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises
Here we focus on our breath and gently push all other thoughts away. We listen to our breathing. We focus on the breath moving through our body. We feel the oxygen giving energy to each and every part of our body. Our body feels totally enriched by this high level of nourishment it is receiving. We feel fully refreshed and energized, ready to start or continue our day.
Simple body scan exercise
Here we focus on specific parts of our body. We can start with our toes on the left foot. See in your mind’s eye energy flowing to that part of your body. Notice the sensations at that part of your body. After a few seconds, you move to another part of your body, for example, your left shoulder. Notice the energy sensations there. Then move to another part of your body, for example, the tip of your nose, notice the sensations there, pause. Then continue this process… to the space between your eyebrows, the tips of your fingers, the space between your fingers, and so on.
These exercises help to strengthen the relationship with our body. This will sharpen our awareness around the ‘sensing’ cue that our body will give us. The body uses its innate wisdom or crucible of truth to inform us on what is the most appropriate action to take to resolve our complex problems. When we access and listen to this wisdom we are filled with conviction as to what to do next, a sense of clarity emerges and we feel comfort knowing we are doing the right thing to address the complex issue. However, if the converse happens, ie., if we ignore our ‘crucible of truth’ and listen only to our brain that processes information from what we are seeing with our eyes and hearing with our ears, then a lot of self-doubt emerges, confusion arises as to what is the right thing to do and we are filled with tension and stress from complex problems.
Let me share with you a client case to demonstrate the power of using our crucible of truth.
A client of mine had a boss who loved to assign more and more tasks to him. He kept on agreeing to do all the extra tasks, until he felt he had been ‘taken advantage of’. He brought this scenario to me his coach. He expressed his frustration as well as the ‘burnt-out’ feeling due to the weight of the additional workload. When I asked him to dive deeper into himself to search for the reason for his behaviour, he shared that his crucible of truth nudged him to say ‘No’. Instead, he chose to ignore the nudge or cue. He chose to focus on him wanting to support or please his boss. That seemed to be of a higher priority rather than doing the right thing of saying ‘No’. At the coaching session, he learnt about himself and how much he is suffering because he made the poor decision of ignoring his crucible of truth. He agreed to take an action step to have a ‘difficult’ conversation with his boss and re-contract his scope of work. He felt that would bring the right impact to him, namely, boosting his self-esteem and expanding his capacity to say ‘no’ and not allow anyone to put extra work on him.
Supplementary Reading: Why Wisdom Can't Be Taught
From this client-case, we can appreciate the fact that accepting and embracing our crucible of truth supports our growth as human beings. It gives us comfort as we are being shown the direction that will lead us safely through complex situations. All we need to do is to invest a few minutes each day to strengthen our relationship with our crucible of truth in our body. Are you ready to do this?
Learn more about the Power of Mindfulness by Jay Shetty in this video before you go.