The confusion illusion: what if confusion was a gift?



You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who enjoys a confused state of mind. Confusion is listed a symptom of anxiety and depression in typical psychology resources and most people wish to resolve it as quickly as possible.

But I wonder does confusion have value and how might it serve us in our lives? 

Whilst mulling over this idea today a Deepak Chopra quote popped up in my facebook feed “All great changes are proceeded by chaos” .. I wondered, could the word confusion replace chaos in this context and would that also be true?

YES! I think so… although I’m not entirely sure. I’d have to weigh up the pros and cons of each word in this context and the various reasons why it might or might not fit or make sense. Then I’d also have to consider whether or not Deepak would care if I messed with his quote or if it might confuse people making alterations to a popular phrase in this way…

JOKING!!.. don’t worry I’m not THAT confused. Deepak will just have to deal with it. Because I do think there’s some truth to it; there might be more to confusion than the illusion of unwanted negative feelings.

Chronic uncertainty, crushing doubt, the unbearable weight of conflicting ideas; could it all be a gift? Might we require all of it before great change can occur in our lives?

To explore that idea I’d like to share with you an experience I had at a music workshop over 10 years ago. It was a rhythm training workshop called TaKeTiNa where we learnt to coordinate various rhythms and more complex polyrhythms using feet stomping, clapping, speech and singing. As some of the coordinations where quite challenging many people found themselves going in and out of syncronisity with the facilitator; from confusion to coherance and flow then back again.

The teacher said the trick was to “allow the chaos” and allow the body/mind to fall upon flow naturally without trying to force it. She said reacting to the mistake, chaos or confusion would only make it worse. So too would trying to figure it out mentally. A state of open receptivity and allowing worked best. Chaos, she said, was a natural part of the process and the space in-between knowing and not knowing. It was the contrast that gave meaning to the flow state.

When I played around with this I found it was indeed true. If you fell out of rhythm or didn’t get something straight away your annoyance or resistance to being confused just made you remain stuck in that non-flow for longer. So to did overly analysing the rhythms mentally. By just allowing, it was almost as if something greater enabled you to fall back into the rhythm and cohesion with the group. Some other part of you was processing it all until it just fell into place.

I think this can be applied to all of life.  There’s nothing inherently bad about confusion itself. It’s just the chaotic space between not knowing and knowing. The trick is to allow it to be there, release resistance, and to allow the flow/ clarity/ answer you seek to come about naturally; whether that be via your subconscious deeper mind or some other force we don’t quite understand. Sure you can take action (like stomping and clapping and listening) or whatever it takes to get from A to B but within an atmosphere of allowance.

Does that make sense? I hope this post hasn’t been too confusing for you, as that would be terrible wouldn’t it .. but only if you resist the confusion.


The Truth about Mental Health blog is an affiliate of Dr Kelly Brogan, Holistic Woman’s Health Psychiatrist. Check out her 44 day online course that explores holistic interventions like diet, meditation, exercise and mindset. 







2 thoughts on “The confusion illusion: what if confusion was a gift?

  1. Pingback: Confusion: friend or foe? Seeking your input for my next blog post | The Truth about Mental Health

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