Square Peg #2: To Infinity and Beyond

Tuesday, May 05, 2015 4 Comments A+ a-

Hey, guys! Guess what? I had the strangest dream last week. I dreamt that my husband gave me three $5 bills. I don't remember why he gave them to me, just that I took them and carefully tucked them away in my wallet.

Why is this strange? Because the next day, I happened to be buying tea at Espresso Royale and gave the cashier a $20 to pay for it. "I'm sorry, I don't have any tens," she said...and handed me three $5 bills plus change. As I tucked them into my wallet, the creepiest feeling came over me. Talk about deja vu! I've been thinking about it ever since and still can't come up with a reasonable explanation.

Has this ever happened to you? If it has, it could be tied to the second topic in our Square Peg series...

Self-Awareness (Physical and Spiritual)

Does self-awareness set us apart as INFJs? Does it make us feel different? Let's find out.

You might be wondering how things like deja vu or premonition even tie into the subject of self-awareness. Well, let's start with a definition. Wikipedia puts it like this:

Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. It is not to be confused with consciousness in the sense of qualia. While consciousness is a term given to being aware of one’s environment and body and lifestyle, self-awareness is the recognition of that awareness. 

The definition makes it pretty simple: as human beings, we recognize who are in relation to our environment, our own bodies, and other humans.

But the INFJ seems to process this differently from other types. We do recognize ourselves in relation to our physical surroundings...we just have this weird tendency to disconnect from the physical part. Our intuition is incredibly strong, and our functions are constantly feeding it with data (emotional, factual, sensory). We can be so busy theorizing and connecting thoughts/ideas that we often lose sight of the physical world. When we do return to reality, we intentionally seek out physical experiences that support the dreamlike world we live in.

I love how Jennifer Soldner describes this feeling in A Look Inside a Rare Mind. "Sometimes I forget I have a body," she writes. "My physical being is frequently pushed to the back burner. I live inside my mind, focusing only on feelings, ideas and fantasies. I see others and am aware of their feelings, intentions and purpose. The physical realm seems pointless to me, like something that exists as an obstacle or inconvenience to the greater picture of what really matters." She acknowledges the value of the physical realm in that its beauty and pleasures are the "means to a spiritual end." And she is "not averse to or ignorant of the benefits of the physical world, it is just such a low priority to me that I can actually forget about it."

Anyone relate? I know I do. There are times when I'm so disconnected from reality that I bump into things, put my keys where I can't find them, or perform daily tasks without remembering doing them. And I think this is where the deja vu comes into play. I'm bombarded with a ton of data, and even though I'm not aware of it, my brain is processing that data. Like when I walk past my daughter and hear a new song coming through her earbuds. I might be too "in my head" to acknowledge that song, but then I'll hear it on the radio later and get an odd sense of familiarity.

Dr. A.J. Drenth from Personality Junkie has an interesting take on this aspect of our personality:

Because of their strength of intuition (and commensurate detachment from physical reality), many INFJs report feeling like aliens in the world. One INFJ described her experience as “a perpetual sense of deja vu.” Others report feelings of disembodiment. The fact is that many INFJs (and INTJs) seem to experience the world and their bodies quite differently than other types do.

Now, this is all very physical in the sense that our functions and brains are just playing their parts. But there's also a spiritual aspect to be considered. Some of my experiences can't be explained by mere data collecting. Like my $5 bill dream. Dreaming about money isn't unusual, I just can't figure out why there were specifically three $5 bills. And what are the odds that I would receive that exact combination the next day?

You may disagree, but I firmly believe that there are aspects to the physical realm we haven't figured out yet. With our powerful Ni/Se combination, INFJs could be predisposed to tapping into them. Into the future, into infinity...and beyond. :)

Okay, so I think it's safe to say that the way we experience awareness sets us apart. Can it make us feel different? For me, that is an absolute YES. The INFJ walks around with a completely different perspective on things--an imaginative perspective that is dreamlike and intuitive and sometimes defies logic. We don't always know how to comfortably share it. It's easy for us to stay inside our heads and shut others out...and maybe this encourages them to avoid us or treat us differently from people who are more grounded in reality.

I'm giving this one five stars. Thoughts?

Image Credit: Money, Shadow Dragon, Infinity


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May 6, 2015 at 9:27 PM delete

This is my life. Sometimes I've wondered if I have some sort of psychic abilities only to cringe at myself. I've always been stuck in my head, so much so that at times when I come back to myself I realize I'm in the middle of doing something, cooking, cleaning, talking...and throw myself off, surprised some piece of me just carries on while my brains solving the world's problems, very far away. I get hit with déjà vu so often when I was younger, I also read too many sci-if books and used to worry I was stuck in a time-loop and only just remembered fragments. As for the spiritual side, I do wonder. Picking up the phone before it rings, answering questions before they're asked...those could be a really developed subconscious. But like the other day, guessing the lottery numbers before they appeared on screen? Dreams too, those are harder to explain away.
I always worry I sound crazy, but...magic is just science we haven't discovered yet right :) anyways, good post, I always enjoy reading :-))

May 7, 2015 at 8:55 AM delete

I feel the same way. I've had non-religious people call me psychic, while religious folks tend to label me prophetic. I think they're both seeing the same thing--a highly tuned subconscious making some amazing connections based on intuition and sensory feedback.

But you're right, that doesn't exactly explain dreams or predicting winning lotto numbers (lol, that's awesome...you should start playing). Maybe someday science will be able to figure that part out. And you don't sound crazy at all. I like to think that INFJs are the next step in the evolution of man. Today INFJs, tomorrow X-Men! :)

May 7, 2015 at 5:26 PM delete

The deja vu doesn't usually crop up from what one may call atypical experiences. That is, things that don't occur frequently. For example, phone calls are a relatively rare occurrence for me. On the other hand I have had strong senses of deja vu at work. Sure, some of it is that I've worked at the same place for a few to many years. But there are times I find myself doing things that I've, to my knowledge, never experienced before, but feeling as though I've already done them. For instance, I've had numerous times where I've had orders, just received and feel like I've already done this exact order the day before or something like that. And yes that is taking into account the times when that does happen. Those have a whole different feeling when they happen.
The physical disconnect for me often comes in times of duress. I have a "dry" voice that seems to be a kernel of myself stepping outside the swirl of my emotions and observing. The problem can be that he likes to give a running commentary that threatens to take over my thoughts. Which is distracting when trying to placate a fuming customer, which is why I have little desire to be a manager in my current line of work. The other time I forget my body comes when my mind gets obsessive about working on artwork. At that point, I can go for hours without having registered anything that my body, save for my hands, have done. I've even come out of those times singing along to my music, without having really decided to sing along, that I was aware of.

May 9, 2015 at 3:05 PM delete

I relate most to your mind obsessing over artwork. When I'm engaged in something creative, my brain can be so focused that everything else gets shoved into the background. I think this is why I often forget to eat. My entire being is concentrating on the task at hand, and then I come out of it wondering why I'm so dang hungry!