This black hat in the photo was on a pile of dirt at a local train station recently (on the other side of the tracks). Has it been lost? Dumped? Tossed out the window? Who knows? But it’s not on the head of its owner.
Dr Edward de Bono (who I recently saw speaking at the Happiness and its Causes conference) has a theory about black hats. In fact, he came up with a whole system of six ‘thinking hats’, each one a different colour for different aspects of our thought processes.
For de Bono, the black one is about critical thinking. When we don this hat, we’re coming up with the reasons not to do something. We’re seeing the potential problems and pitfalls in a situation. We’re raining on the parade.
Yet de Bono sees this hat as being just as valid as any other. It has its own gifts to give.
So when I saw this black hat abandoned by the railway, I started wondering…
What might it mean to throw out the so-called ‘negative’ part of our thinking? To lose our black hat, relentlessly ‘look on the bright side’, try never to experience the darker thoughts in life (and have no room left for the hard stuff)? Sometimes it seems tempting to try, but is it even possible? Would we really want to?
And what about all the other kinds of ‘blackness’ that seep into our lives – the heartbreak, the sadness, depression, grief? Might it be possible that these things hold their own unique learnings along with their darkness, too? Might they also have something important to share with us?
If so, then what might the darkness in your life be saying to you?
Could it be hinting that something is missing, or not quite right for you yet? Could it be pointing to a value that’s important for you to live by? Could it be whispering about change or adaptation? Might it help you identify what you need to do to look after yourself or your loved ones right now? Or maybe it's showing you who, and how, you love?
If your pain or darkness could talk about the things that matter for you, what might they speak about?
What might you say in return?
And how might it be to embrace some of these learnings? To really build them into your life?
One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy respectfully acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners and custodians, past and present, of the land on which the counselling and psychotherapy rooms are located; and the traditional owners of all the lands through which this blog may pass.