Challenging Our Beliefs With The Rule Of 6

I am big fan of a magazine called Spirituality and Health. They have great articles about all kinds of things ranging from meditation, religion, relationships and health.  Recently I read an article titled  “Freeing Myself from Certainty”, written by Joy Hosey which examines a very creative way of dealing with conflict.  This conflict can either be inner or with our partners, but the same solution applies to both.  This method for conflict resolution is called the “rule of six” and was developed by the Oneida Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The rule of six states that for “each apparent phenomenon you should devise at least six plausible explanations.”  While there may be many more explanations, if you can develop six, it will help you become conscious to the vast array of possibilities that exist and prevent you from insisting on one right truth.  After you have come with six possible explanations, you then apply your “personal probability factor or PPF” which is determined by your own personal experience. Your PPF cannot be 0%, and it cannot be 100% – and they do not add up to 100% because there is no right or wrong answer.  You are simply challenging your own belief systems that the answer is either A or B.  An example of the rule of six that the author used: “Why didn’t my sweetheart say goodbye to me this morning when he knows I am not feeling well?”

  1. He is an inconsiderate jerk. (PPF 20%)
  2. I’m so pathetic, he’s lost interest in me romantically. (PPF 15%)
  3. He’s afraid of catching whatever I have.  (PPF 25%)
  4. He was afraid I might ask him for help and that would put him behind.  (PPF 40%)
  5. He assumed I needed rest and didn’t want to disturb me. (PPF 55%)
  6. He was running extremely late because he was up most of the night with me. (PPF 30%)

I think that the Rule of 6 can help so many of us who often see the world in black and white.  Just imagine what would happen to so many of our arguments with others, or the self doubt that often plagues us, if we applied this rule to our thinking.  The simple act of opening our perception and allowing other possibilities to come into our conscious , loosening our grip on “right or wrong” thinking. Accepting other possibilities, instead of insisting on our own sometimes righteous thinking.  As the author put so beautifully, “It helps me to be less wedded to my habitual stances and more open to possibilities and has been a wisdom path for this recovering know-it-all.”