You’ve done it, I know you have. Is there anyone, at one time or other, who hasn’t opened their hand, popped their forehead and said, or thought, “DUH!”

It’s intriguing, the “Duh” moment. The word may be contemporary, but the sudden awareness of “foolish me, I knew that!” is nothing new. The Duh! moment can be a very useful tool in managing thinking.

Duh! tends to show up in those moments when we’ve become overly focused on someone, something, or other distraction, and have mentally closed the quiet door to guidance. Often we’re in a rush. Consider the following:

“Where is that !%^#!! key?” I’m racing around the house looking for the key to the storage shed - there’s just enough time, this Saturday morning, to mow the lawn before heading out of town. The key, of course, isn’t hanging in its usual place. So begins the hasty search of all probable hiding places. Ignored, of course, is the quiet thought, “Hey, George, I’m in the kitchen drawer under the toaster.”

The errant key would not be there, of all places, so the search continues through rooms, dressers, the garage, tables, floors, counters... You know the scene. Finally, in a desperate moment, the kitchen drawer is opened, and voila! DUH!

Seek and Ye shall find. Finding is so much easier if the question is asked first, then followed with a quiet moment for the answer to reveal itself. It’s the second part of the process that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the daily adventure. Thank you, Duh! The key revealed its location. It just took a while for me to pay attention.

In matters great and small, the process is the same - ask (pray) - then shut up and listen. Occasionally, I think I’m fairly practiced with the listening part. How easily distracted I am. I suspect you are familiar with the experience. No matter where we are on the great spiral of spiritual evolution, there is always a degree of Duh! to assist us.

The cliche, “can’t see the forest for all of those trees,” is true. While searching for the forest of a solution, or an action, pesky perceptual trees may get in the way. It seems that while bumping into the endless array of mentally rooted trees, the focus - to see the forest - falls to the back mental burner.

At such moments the persistent Duh! whispers “take a break, and look for the big picture.” The silent guidance is always there, but if I don’t take the mental and emotional moment to pause, and listen, I miss it or mistake it. The problem is not the elusive forest, but the distracted George.

You have probably made a mental and emotional commitment to behold the good in everyone you meet. Why? To do so makes for a much more fulfilling experience at any given moment - a blessing for the person, and a reinforcement of your desire to live a spiritually focused life. Wonderful.

Of course, there’s that idiot who cuts in front of you just as you drive towards your exit on the freeway. Without a Duh!, several blocks of less spiritually focused mental energy may be expended, benefitting neither the “idiot” nor you. Wailing and gnashing teeth may be symptoms of not paying attention to our highest desires. They may also indicate that we’ve temporarily lost sight of our chosen forest.

American mystic and philosopher Charles Fillmore put it as succinctly as anyone could - “If you’re unhappy with your life, change your mental habits.” Duh!

How often do we slip, unawares, from hard won, spiritually centered mental habits, to lesser thoughts of momentary impulse in reaction to a “freeway idiot?” That’s a case of bumping into the trees. Keeping a check on our thoughts is a simple process - being aware of how we are thinking at any given moment - and choosing to energize the thoughts we desire. Simple, of course, is not synonymous with easy.

An important aspect of this wonderful adventure on earth is mental and physical health. Mental and emotional focus on perfect health resonates with many people. In your mind’s eye, are you healthy? Many people strive to keep foremost in thought, the Truth of perfect health - despite contrary appearances. God is perfect health. I am a child of God. Therefore, I have inherited perfect health. That’s about as logical as it gets.

The interference, however, may be the accumulated “stuff” derived from old mental and emotional habits, that litter your expectations. There may be a negative, nagging, mental parrot perched on our thinking shoulder, whispering “I am sick...I am not well...that would be nice, but... That’s not discounting any circumstance or challenge - in greater and lesser degrees, we all have them - yet where is the mental force directed? Such a nagging mental parrot can subtly redirect thinking.

Are your powerful thoughts creating what is desired, or that which is feared, or undesired? Enter, Duh!, a marvelous reinforcement for your preferred mental state.

Each night may end, and each day may begin, with a powerful acknowledgment that “Every cell in my body, every part of my being, is in perfect harmony with the healing vibrations of the Spirit Consciousness.” Not a bad way to end and start a day!

You know what can come next - pesky distraction tree thoughts, emphasizing the aches, the pains, the problems, and so on. And thus, the day may end, or begin, with semi-conscious rogue thoughts affirming not your relationship with the Spirit, but with all that other stuff. At this moment Duh! might quietly work its way to the surface awareness and whisper “Time out!” Refocus. Priority. “What do you want?”

It is reassuring to know that no matter how far, in what ever amount of time, we might stray from our preferred mental and emotional state of being, there is a “check for balance” that ignores the distraction.

Duh! is there, patiently nudging you to keep your thoughts directed towards your highest self, countering the nagging mental parrot of negativity. The beauty and magnificence of a spiritual consciousness is a “forest” at hand. It’s good to know that a part of you, Duh!, is on alert should you mentally stray into the underbrush and lose sight of where you are going.

But, you knew that already. Duh.

Author's Bio: 

George Sewell, MA, BCPS, has studied and worked with the dynamics of managing change for nearly thirty years as a counselor, contracts manager, program manager, public speaker and educator. He has Masters degrees in Counseling and Drama & Communications. He has worked in the field of substance abuse, compulsive gambling, prevention, and vocational training as well as teaching public speaking on the college level. His workshop on managing change was developed into his book "Habits, Patterns, and Things That Go Bump in the Night" published by Publish America. He is co-author of "Just the FAQ's, Please, About Alcohol and Drug Abuse" also published by Publish America. He is a regular speaker on the subject of changing mental habits at the Unity Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. He and wife Joan live in Bossier City, Louisiana. More information is availble at: