Engaging Your Mind’s Creative Problem-Solving Capabilities

Engaging Your Mind’s Creative Problem-Solving Capabilities

We have grown up in a culture that has in many ways taught us to disconnect from our feelings, physical bodies and the unpleasant realities of our daily lives. This has inadvertently caused us to lose touch with our intuitive senses. Many of us have learned to overcompensate for the resulting deficits by relying primarily upon the linear left brain associated with rational thought.

Most of us are familiar with affirmations, and many people do find them helpful. I’ve tried them on occasion and felt a sense of futility because I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. That made a lot more sense to me later when I understood that we are primarily engaging our left brain which is responsible for analytical thought whenever we’re using affirmations or making any kind of statement. Another problem with the use of positive affirmations is that the far more powerful subconscious mind will in many instances resist any attempt by the conscious mind to exert its influence.

I think it was Tony Robbins that said, “The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of the questions you’re asking yourself on a daily basis.” Our questions help us to engage the far more powerful subconscious mind. Our subconscious has access to a vast array of resources that are not readily available to our conscious mind.

The questions we direct to our subconscious mind engage the intuitive and creative right side of the brain. The questions we ask help to break us out of our stuckness and stagnation by facilitating a deeper level of processing. They lead us beyond the familiar into vast unknown by opening up new doorways and possibilities.

The mind’s own GPS navigation

Questions are an extraordinarily powerful means of directing our mind. The subconscious acts in many ways like a GPS navigation device in that it will follow our directives once we enter in the destination. We need to be especially careful how we phrase our query, because asking questions that elicit a negative response can easily send us into a downward spiral.

People who don’t know any better often sabotage themselves by asking questions that elicit a negative response. Asking ourselves questions such as “Why does this always happen to me?” “Why can’t I ever get it right?” “Why do I keep fucking up?” “Why doesn’t he or she love me?” poisons us by causing our minds to go in search of answers that confirm everything that’s not working in our lives, and that we’re not happy with about ourselves. Searches that elicit negative responses reinforce our sense of being fucked up, incompetent and unlovable. We need to be asking ourselves empowering questions that will direct our mind to take us to where we want to go.


Most questions contain presuppositions. You have to accept the presuppositions as fact in order to answer these questions. When you ask yourself an empowering question such as “How powerfully and eloquently can I convey the insights I’ve gained in a way that will be most beneficial to those who have come to listen to me?,” you are presupposing that you are powerful and eloquent in your ability to communicate, and that you have something of value to offer. Your mind will respond positively in accordance with the presuppositions implied in the questions being asked.

Shifting our focus

Our minds have a tendency to fixate on the negative. Our resistance to and in some instances inability to process stressful and upsetting experiences and our subsequent emotional responses reinforces this fixation. Fixation on what’s not working causes our bodies and minds to contract. When we’re thinking and feeling negatively about ourselves and our lives, there is a corresponding loss of efficacy. As our ability to express ourselves and handle life’s challenges diminishes, we become stagnant.

Asking ourselves questions helps us to tap into the resources necessary to facilitate growth and the development of new capabilities. Learning, exploring, doing new things and becoming more capable enables us to expand our range of motion.

Focusing on what we’re grateful for helps us to shift our focus from the areas of struggle and hardship to those parts of our life experience that bring more fulfillment, satisfaction and enjoyment. Asking questions like “What am I grateful for in my life?” and “What do I have to appreciate in my life?” helps to focus our minds in a way that will create more positive outcomes.

Give serious thought to where your life can benefit from asking more empowering questions. What empowering questions can you be asking yourself right now and on a daily basis to propel you forward along your own unique path of growth? What changes will you be experiencing as you continue to ask yourself empowering questions? And how will that improve your life?

Moving into unfamiliar territory

We often find ourselves faced with challenging situations for which we do not currently have access to the much-needed understandings and solutions. Empowering questions help us to bridge the gaps between our conscious and subconscious minds.

Whenever we’re faced with difficult or challenging people and situations, we need to take time to reflect and to come up with inquires that are relevant to our immediate concerns. We might ask ourselves “What is it that I have yet to comprehend?” “What do I need to understand about this person, situation or the issue concerning me?” “What resources do I need to accomplish my objectives and how do I gain access to them?”

The winning formula

When directing an inquiry to your subconscious mind, focus on the question intently. You can sit in silence while reflecting upon a question. You can also write any questions you have down or say them out loud. After a few moments of focusing intently on the question, let it go. And then go on about whatever it is that you have to do. Go out for a walk, spend time with a friend or get back to whatever it is that you were working on.

Working with questions will enable you to get in touch with and actively engage more parts of your brain simultaneously. It will also help you to awaken the more creative aspects of your brain. Start with these simple steps:

  • Begin the process by identifying the specific challenges or issues concerning you
  • Focus intently on the question while directing your query to the subconscious mind. Asking the question in this way will activate a deeper level of processing by engaging your mind’s creative problem-solving capabilities
  • Be sure to let go of the question after a few moments of focused attention. Holding on or waiting for the answer can easily jam up your mind’s creative process. Get out of the way by letting go so you can allow your mind’s creative processes to work for you
  • The solution may present itself as a feeling, insight, inspiration or motivation to take constructive action. These intuitive promptings can present themselves at anytime and any place
  • Follow up by testing any insight you’ve gained to determine if the issue or concern is being addressed or has been resolved

Allow your mind to process your question(s) while you sleep, meditate or even as you go about your day.

How often should we be asking these questions?

I usually ask myself the more frequently asked question(s) once or a few times a day. I will then let it go and go on about whatever I was doing. Engaging my subconscious mind with questions has become something I normally do throughout the course of my day. Many of the questions I ask are more specific to the challenges and concerns that I experience in that particular moment. And whenever I find myself faced with an important decision I will in that moment ask myself “What is the best course of action?”

Let go after asking the question

Our mind’s creative processes have their own mysterious ways and operate on their own time frame. It’s important for us to let go once we ask the question(s). Any attempt to control the outcome by forcing the answer will impede our mind’s creative processes.

I have absolutely no idea how long it will take for my mind to respond to the questions I’m asking. The answer can present itself in that moment. Or the process can take hours, days, weeks, months, years or even decades.

Making yourselves more receptive to the subtle messages

The responses you get from your subconscious mind tend to be quite subtle. Although there may be some instances in which it feels as if you’ve been hit by a lightning bolt …especially if you haven’t been paying attention to your subconscious mind’s attempt to get through to you. You’re probably not going to notice the subtle signals if you’re too distracted or overstimulated.

Slowing your pace down will help you to be more receptive. Softening and deepening your breathing while allowing your body to become more relaxed can also be very helpful. Tuning in by watching, listening and feeling what’s happening in your immediate environment and within your own body will also help to increase your awareness. Make a concerted effort to sensitize yourself to the full range of sounds, sensations and feelings. Keep yourself open to new insights and inspiration.

Focus on your body’s own internal responses consisting of feeling and sensation whenever you find yourself confronted with any area of challenge or difficulty. Breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing your awareness in the depths of any feelings or bodily sensations that arise. And then focus your attention on the question(s) that will help you to gain a better understanding and to access the resources you need to cope more effectively.

Combining the questions with meditation for even more powerful results

The bottom fell out from under me in 2008 when the banksters (bankers engaged in risky financial practices) crashed the economy. That was around the time that smartphones became more readily available. The additional distraction resulting from smartphones, social media and other internet use was making it so much more difficult for people to maintain the focus necessary to effect healing within their own bodies and minds. The added distraction was also making it far more difficult for me to hold people’s attention.

There were many nights when I felt so overwhelmed by the all-consuming anxiety that I could not fall asleep until two, three or even four in the morning. I would at times lay awake in bed breathing into all those anxious feelings for hours on end. I would also be asking myself “What am I going to do?” and “How am I going to make it?”

The combination of breathing into the fear and anxiety and asking for the much-needed solutions to the whole new set of challenges I was facing made it possible for me to adapt to the turbulent changes that were taking place. I started getting all kinds of creative insights as to what I could do to reach more people. I also devised more effective ways of getting through to the people that did show up in my classes.

What are the best times to be asking ourselves these questions?

The meditation practices I developed over the years put me into a far more receptive space while simultaneously awakening the innate healing intelligence residing within my own body and mind. I will at times direct questions to my subconscious while in the midst of practice.

The subconscious mind takes over entirely and is much less encumbered by outside interference while we sleep. Asking questions before going to sleep gives our subconscious mind an even greater opportunity to work on our behalf.

I often ask myself questions in the process of writing new articles or before filming a video. I will at times ask myself “What is it that I need to say?” “What do the people who will be watching this video need to hear from me and understand?” “What do I need to include in this article or video?” “How can I convey these understandings in the most eloquent way possible?”

Whenever I become aware of any gaps in my own understanding or sense that there are missing pieces that I need to incorporate, I will ask myself “What am I missing here and where do I need to go to find the answers?” I often feel a sense of being guided to the much-needed information in articles, books and other sources of media and through the conversations I have with other health care providers.

I will in many instances take a break from a project I’m working on whenever I feel stuck or frustrated. The answers I’m seeking often present themselves while I’m attending to other projects or concerns or taking time to meditate, go for a walk or whatever else I have to do during the day. I feel a greater sense of mental clarity and enthusiasm once I return to the project that I had been struggling with.

Staying focused

Maintaining a practice in which I work with people in group and individual settings while simultaneously building a business online involves enormous amounts of work. I sometimes feel as though I’m being pulled in multiple directions, and that I have a million things to do. I often ask myself questions such as “What projects do I need to be working on at this time?” and “What is it that I need to accomplish today?” to help me stay focused on what I need to be doing and to be more productive. Asking myself the question “What do I really want?” helps me to gain a clearer sense of what matters most to me.

New and unfamiliar challenges

I find myself faced with all kinds of unfamiliar and challenging situations in my work. Many of the people I work with have histories of emotional, physical or/and sexual abuse and other forms of trauma. These traumas may be compounded by addictions to alcohol and other substances. Psychiatric disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia can also factor in.

Some of the people I’ve worked with over the years have been extraordinarily difficult. A few have been quite volatile. Others are experiencing health-related issues for which I have no prior knowledge or experience. I often ask myself questions like “How do I deal with this person or situation?” “How do I best serve the needs of this individual?” Asking targeted questions has in so many instances enabled me to find the right information, gain the much-needed insights and understandings and adopt the approach that has effectively facilitated healing.

Initiating the writer’s flow

Articulating what I know in a way that reads well can be quite challenging at times. I will often bring my attention to some part of the chapter where I’m struggling to find the words to convey my thoughts.

I focus my attention on the specific passages where I feel stuck while asking something along the lines of “How do I articulate these thoughts?” I will also meditate by breathing softly and deeply while fully immersing my awareness within any corresponding feelings or sensations of stuckness that I’m experiencing within my body. I can in many instances hear the right words, sentences and at times whole paragraphs flowing from the depths. I keep a voice recorder nearby to capture the insights before they evaporate.

I sometimes feel as though I don’t have adequate time to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Whenever I’m feeling a sense of pressure or overwhelmed by the workload or a sense of not having enough time, I will ask myself “How quickly, efficiently and easily can I get this project done?” At other times, I don’t feel I have enough time to do what I want to do for myself. I will then ask myself “How can I make the time to do what matters most to me?”

Showing up more fully present

We all, to some extent, avoid the people, situations and challenges that put us in touch with the uncomfortable memories and feelings we rather not experience. Many of us fail to take action. We do not even try to do the things that we want and need to be doing because we’re afraid of not succeeding. Or maybe we don’t initiate a conversation or ask someone out because we’re fearful of being rejected.

Whenever I feel resistant to something I need to be doing, or I catch myself getting distracted, I ask myself “What is it that I’m avoiding?” or “What is it that I need to be facing or dealing with?” and “How can I show up more fully present here and now to this part of my experience?” I will also ask myself “What are the underlying feelings and internal conflicts that I need to become aware?” and “What steps do I need to be taking to process these feelings and bring these internal conflicts to resolution?

I much prefer to work in person with people in group and individual settings. Working in person is at this time not an option while we’re in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The question on my mind at this time is “How can I adapt to my current set of circumstances?”

Having to deal with the many complicated technical aspects of building an online business can be especially maddening at times. There are times in the past when I reasoned with myself that I didn’t want to work online or at a distance and would then say, “Fuck it!” and walk away.

The realities of life during the Covid-19 pandemic have compelled me to do the work that I had for so long resisted. I am now approaching the many aspects of building an online presence very methodically. Whenever I run into complicated technical issues, I often find myself asking myself questions like “How do I make this work?” I’ll then keep at it until the task gets completed.

I’m making a concerted effort to be mindful of the underlying cognitive frames and sets of feelings that are in any way hindering me from doing whatever it is that I need to accomplish? I’ll take time to breathe softly and deeply while fully immersing my awareness in any feelings of confusion, impatience, frustration or “I fucking hate this shit!” that arise. Taking this methodical approach is helping me to develop greater proficiency. I’m also finding it easier to do all the technical work.

Developing a working relationship with our subconscious mind

My mind has become much more responsive over time as I have continued to engage it. Years ago, when I was on the road, I ran into the post office one afternoon to buy a money order to pay for another year of dial up internet service. I quickly filled out the money order, sealed the envelope, dropped the letter in the box and then took off.

Months later, I received a notice from AT&T that they’re about to cut off my internet access. I knew I sent the money order to pay the bill, but I had absolutely no idea what I had done with the receipt. I was so angry, and I kept asking myself “What the fuck did I do with that damn money order receipt?”

A few months later, I heard the question repeating itself again in my mind while heading back down to New York City from Boston. Suddenly, I see this image flash vividly in my mind of the money order receipt inside of a book. Upon reaching my apartment, I ran to my room, pulled the book off the shelf, and there it was! I took the money order receipt to the post office, had them run a trace. AT&T then had to credit me for the year of service.

Resolving the ambiguities around our relationships

Relationships can be quite ambiguous at times. Sometimes we don’t know if the connection we share with another individual is platonic or romantic in nature. We often have expectations of what we think the relationship should be. Maybe try to force the relationship to conform to our expectations. Whenever I feel uncertain of the nature of a relationship, I will ask myself “What does this relationship naturally want to be?”

Formulating your own questions

Rather than asking simple questions that involve a yes or no answer, you need to be asking constructive open-ended questions that require a detailed response from your subconscious such as “What do I need to learn or understand from this situation or interaction?”

I have given you numerous examples of the kinds of questions that I ask myself throughout this article. Be creative in coming up with the questions that will most effectively address your own unique concerns. The questions you formulate for yourself need to be specific to your own needs and changing set of circumstances. The more specific the question you ask, the clearer your answers will be.  

Have you received value from the insights you’ve gained through my writing? Your generous and thoughtful donation via Paypal or (Venmo @BenOofana) makes it possible for me to devote considerably more time and effort to creating more articles and videos.

©Copyright 2020 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, creation and contact information intact, without specific permission.


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