It’s one of those stories that we hear but don’t really register: when Archimedes realised, as he took a bath, the principle of buoyancy, and ran down the street yelling, ‘Eureka!’, which means ‘I’ve got it!’.
We may be impressed that a brilliant polymath discovered a major mathematical principle that way, but we don’t notice the important message about how our minds work that lies within it.
Going over a problem in our minds, using all our logical thinking, is often not the way to find a solution. Good as our logical mind can be at working out the detail of something, it is not particularly good at identifying the insight that will set us on the right path.
We all have eureka moments in our lives: times when we suddenly see how we can handle something, or solve a problem. And they usually occur when we’ve stopped thinking about it in an intense way and are dong something else: going for a walk; having a shower; watching something unrelated on tv. It’s as if we need to switch off our thinking minds to allow our intuition or insight to come through.
So let’s use the process. If we’re puzzling over something, let’s distract ourselves for a while, with something that occupies our conscious mind in a different way, to allow some space for our innate wisdom to show itself. It is how our minds work. Many geniuses through the ages have used it. Let’s follow their example and make our lives easier by allowing space for eureka moments.