June 2, 2003
Alignment - Part 4: Genius
When we think of the word "genius," many of us think of Albert Einstein. We think of someone with a super-powered intellect, or someone who can do things we could never dream of doing. In short, we think of a superman or a superwoman.
When I think of genius, I think of you and me. I think of it as a special talent or ability every one of us has. I think of it as an expression of who we are, the design of our nature. A hawk, by design, is a genius at soaring high in the air. A goat, by design, is a genius at bounding down mountains. A cheetah is a genius at running at blinding speeds.
What is the genius of a human? If you look at yourself, what genius do you see? Most of us do not know. We pay money to sit in the audience and marvel at the antics of other geniuses. This is unfortunate.
When we are in alignment with our natures, the expression of that alignment is our genius. It is not something that only a few people have.
If children are given a wide range of options to experience, they will tend to gravitate to some things more than others. Some will be fascinated by music, others by painting. Some will create forts, others will play in water. Some will be very social, others will sit on their own and write stories. If children are encouraged, these natural interests will transform and blossom into genuine adult talents. When this genius finds expression in an adult career, work feels like play.
In fact, play is the advent of genius. This is true in all mammal species. And yet, in this society, play is given little credit and considered less important than "productive" pursuits preferred by adults. Children are often shamed and coerced away from the very interests that will become their genius. A child who loves digging in the dirt may become a brilliant archeologist. But if he's forced to practice piano instead, he may become a depressed factory worker who plays mediocre piano now and then. When our genius is forced out of alignment as children, it often goes underground. When we are out of alignment with our genius, the world is a dull, colourless place.
Many people do not know what their genius is. They work at boring jobs and spend their "free" time doing chores and consuming passive entertainment like TV, radio, movies, and magazines. They cover up their boredom and pain with as many substances and distractions as necessary. Not a very inspiring picture.
One aspect of recovery from this half-life is the rediscovery of your genius. Genius will often appear as a result of primal work, but when it is discovered early in the primal process, it often adds a real boost to healing.
To assist in the rediscovery of genius, I usually ask a few questions -
1) What do you enjoy doing now?
2) What can you spend a great deal of time doing without getting bored?
3) What did you enjoy doing as a child?
4) What do you hate to do now?
5) What did you hate to do as a child?
6) What did you enjoy doing when you were by yourself as a child?
7) What do you enjoy doing when you are by yourself now?
8) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
9) If you had a billion dollars and could do anything you wanted, what would you do on a daily, weekly, yearly basis?
Not all the answers from these questions will indicate an area of genius, but considered together, a pattern may emerge that will indicate that hidden spark. When you "light up" with interest, such an interest may be worth exploring.
Some signs of an activity that involves your genius are:
1) Doing it empowers you and enhances your life
2) You look forward to it
3) You can do it for hours and not even notice the passage of time
4) You can do it for hours and not get tired
5) Doing it inspires you and leads to spontaneous creativity
Sometimes other dysfunctional aspects of your life will cause conflict with the expression of your genius, and this will need to be addressed. Sometimes dysfunctional aspects of your personality will co-opt your genius and use it like an addiction to distract you from other real problems. This, too, will have to be addressed. Fortunately, genius, being an expression of your true nature, always heals and will generally help bring clarity rather than disguise it.
Albert Einstein was not a genius - he found his genius. He was a mediocre student at school and barely received the equivalent of a bachelor's degree at university. He had a boring job in a government patent office in Bern, Switzerland. In spite of this, he followed the calling of his genius and continued to ponder the concepts of physics - in his free time. He presented his groundbreaking papers to the University of Zurich while he was still a lowly office worker. He never went back to university to get his Ph.D. - he was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics by the university. Einstein exercised his genius and his life began to fall into alignment.
When genius is expressed in tandem with deep feeling work, it exercises a gravitational pull toward healing that cannot be denied. That's the way alignment works.
We are all Einsteins in our own way.