“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
What is Intuition?
Intuition, sixth sense, instinct, clairvoyance, ESP (extra-sensory perception), hunches, and gut feeling, are all words used to describe basically the same thing. That thing is ‘the ability to understand without the use of conscious reasoning.’ In other words, intuition is the way our ‘Higher-SELF’ or Soul, (the non-physical energetic aspect of us,) communicates with us to keep us on track with our higher goals and purpose for being alive in this physical body.
Communication between our higher SELF, (authentic SELF), is always present even if we are not aware of it. It’s always available to us as we can never shut it down or switch off our higher, true, authentic SELF. However, as individuals, our ability to receive and understand the messages from within vary, and this is why some of us have access to extra-sensory information to varying degrees while others do not.
Where Does Intuition Come From?
Our instincts come from parts of our brain that developed in prehistoric times and were needed so that we could react quickly to survive. These ‘limbic’ and ‘reptilian’ parts inhabit the right side of our brain and operate subconsciously, without rational thought. They allowed us to sense danger quickly and are what kept us safe in unsafe environments. Instincts are wired into our genetic coding based on the experiences of previous generations and send us messages including hair standing up on the back of our neck, gut feelings, goosebumps, or just feelings that we cannot rationally explain. These are intuitive insights and are given to us as early warnings of danger and help to guide us to live safely and avoid trouble.
However, modern living is relatively safe compared to the lives our ancestors lived, so in general, the instinctive part of our brain is not ‘triggered’ often. Therefore, many of us are out of touch or unfamiliar with the feelings and signals that instinct provides to us, so we tend to ignore them or dismiss them as ‘not rational.’
Intuition encompasses more than our primal instincts and is available to all creatures. It’s basically the brain operating on autopilot, processing information without conscious awareness- or non-conscious reactions to situations based on information gathered consciously and unconsciously, (unintentionally) through past experiences and cumulative knowledge. It’s thought that the majority of species that make up the animal kingdom rely solely on intuition to function, with the exceptions of a few higher primates and mammals who are able to remember and process information consciously.
Should You Listen To Your Intuition?
Modern-day humans, with the ability to consciously think, are trained to depend on facts and data to make good and rational decisions. We have so much information available to us at all times now that it is easy to search for and find information on virtually anything we wish to know. We, therefore, tend to validate decisions based on ‘facts’ or information gathered external to ourselves rather than our intuitive gut instincts.
However, our intuition or instincts often knows what the best course of action to take is long before our rational brains can figure out what is going on. This is because it relies on ‘tacit knowledge’ which includes information that resides in our long-term memories which are outside of our everyday awareness. Tactic knowledge is stuff we know that we don’t need to consciously think about.
Examples of tacit knowledge that most of us can probably relate to are the ability to walk in a crowded street and arrive at our destination while deeply involved in a conversation with another person, or being able to drive a car to a given destination while lost in thought, or singing along to the music that’s captivating our senses. At times like these, we were not able to remember the act of walking or driving because we were not paying attention to them, but we were able to get to where we wanted safely even if we cannot remember how.
Tacit knowledge is something that is built up over time and therefore a young driver who sees his parents not ‘consciously paying attention’ while driving, may consider that they can do the same. This is not so as a younger less experienced person has not yet built up the required amount of tacit knowledge required to benefit from intuitive driving. Driving is a skill that first must be learned consciously and since our brains can only consciously focus on one task at a time inexperienced drivers should use it to focus on driving well for the sake of themselves and everyone else on the road.
The above examples show how we rely on information stored in our brains gathered from past experiences and training. This subconscious ‘tacit knowledge’ allows us to focus our mind on other things, like a conversation or singing, while doing routine tasks. It then becomes the job of our intuition to get us to where we want to go. This ‘knowing’ without knowing how we know is achieved because the brain is constantly comparing patterns of current environmental clues to stored patterns from previous experiences to provide us with our intuitive feelings.
So, should we rely on our intuition? I believe many of us already do, often in ways that we did not think about before, including the above examples.
How Will You Benefit From Using Your Intuition?
Assessing intuition can be an excellent place to begin any decision-making before we apply logic. However, the balance between the two will shift depending on the kind of decisions we are making.
Intuition shines best when we already have a lot of information about the situation. For example, in intimate relationships, we can have very reliable hunches about how our partner is thinking or feeling.
Intuition is also very beneficial when making major life decisions like which house to buy or which person to marry. Logic, while looking good on paper, does not always lead to decisions that will make us happy in the long term.
How often have you said, felt, or heard yourself or someone else says ‘I just knew he was the one,’ ‘something told me to do it,’ or ‘it just felt like the right thing to do.’ This is your intuition guiding you to make the best decisions.
We also benefit from our intuitive voice on a daily basis by tapping into it when shopping for a present for someone, deciding where to go for dinner or a holiday, what our child is feeling at this moment, what we need to eat for lunch, what color is best to paint our bedroom, etc.
How Can You Develop Your Intuition?
- The number one best way to develop intuition is to listen to the feelings and messages we have that surface from our subconscious mind. If we acknowledge our ‘gut feelings’ we validate them and make space for them to play a more prominent role in our lives. It is unfortunate that society, in general, asks for proof and evidence of why we feel this way or that, or why we choose this action over another. However, because intuition and instinct happen outside of conscious awareness we will often find ourselves unable to justify logically why we feel or act a certain way.
- Become more observant of when, and how often, coincidences and surprising connections occur in your daily life that leads to a pleasant outcome. Then, try to remember the path you took that led you to this coincidence. You may, more often than not, realize that you were being guided by your intuition rather than your conscious rational mind.
- Learn to tune into the wisdom of your body. The feelings that you have, that are not rational, are signals that could move you to make better decisions based on all the non-conscious information that your intuitive mind has available for processing. Gut feelings are something that most of us know about or have experienced, even if we have not headed their message. Begin to become more aware of how you are feeling at all times to tap into the wealth of knowledge that is available to benefit your life.
- A meditation practice helps to still the mind and release the stresses of a busy day. This allows us to feel into our bodies and tune into our intuition with more clarity.
- Practicing mindfulness (paying attention to our current experience in a non-judgmental way) also allows us to filter out the clutter of the day and brings us into the present moment. Here we can create a space for intuition to flow as we become a clear channel for non-local information to flow through us from our Soul.
- Make time to be alone. Our modern lives are very busy and ‘loud.’ Taking time to remove ourselves from all the craziness allows us to learn to reconnect with our thoughts and feelings again. It is here that we can become more intuitive as well as recognize our deeper thought processes and cultivate more creative thoughts.
- Actively pursue creative outlets for your intuition. Creative people are highly intuitive, and just as we can improve our creativity through practice, we can also develop our intuition by practicing creativity.
- Learn to listen to others. Intuitive people display a high degree of empathy toward others. Through listening and observing, we build up skills of understanding how others are feeling and identifying if they are telling us the truth or not. Because much of the information we gain throughout our days is unconscious it is our intuition that gives us access to feelings or ‘knowing’ if what others are saying is true or not, or provides us with insights as to how we can best help them.
- Let go of negative emotions. When we are uptight, nervous, anxious, stressed, angry, or depressed, we are less able to feel the guidance of our intuition. Learning to let go and regain a sense of peace and well-being is important for us to be able to hear the subtle messages that our soul is sending us, guiding us to having a better life
Why You Should Listen To The Voice Of Intuition
In the Western world, through our education systems, we are mostly taught to be logical and rational. This separates us from the vast wisdom available to us from our Soul-Self. We are told at school not to daydream, study this, listen to me, believe this, etc. Through the processes of meditation, dreaming, mindfulness, connecting with nature, love, and other techniques, we are able to regain our connection to our Soul-SELF and take advantage of all the benefits that ‘higher’ sources of information can contribute to our lives.
Everything is always changing in this physical reality so we need to always be listening for the subtle messages that can guide us in the direction that our soul wants to go. Our intuition will always guide us in the best direction. Sadly most people are unable to hear the subtle messages from within because of the vast amount of chatter and clutter in their lives.
Often, even if we do hear the tiny voice of intuition speaking to us, guiding us, we often second guess it, question it, and analyze it to the point where it loses its effectiveness. This is due to our rational mind interfering with what was a message from our hearts. The more we can connect and act upon the messages from our hearts, the more messages we will receive and the stronger they will become at guiding us in a direction that serves our best interests.
Our intuition will often guide us to being flexible and spontaneous which is healthy and moves us out of our fixed patterns to explore new directions and opportunities. In this way, we will grow by participating in new experiences. We benefit by taking the opportunities, when presented, to explore new options to facilitate an opening of our minds. The ideal time to act on intuition is always when we receive the messages.
Have you had any significant intuitive experiences that you can share with us?
We would love to hear how you use intuition to make better decisions in your life. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.