"What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. " - Morpheus
Intuition is a form of knowledge that appears in your consciousness without any obvious analysis or deliberation. It is not magical or psychic, but rather an ability in which hunches are generated by the unconscious mind rapidly sifting through past experience and cumulative knowledge. Often referred to as a “gut feeling,” intuition tends to arise organically and quickly, without awareness of the underlying mental processing of information. Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated how information can register on the brain without conscious awareness and positively influence decision-making and other behavior.
Psychologists believe that intuition relies on powers of pattern-matching, as the unconscious mind combs experience stored in your long-term memory for similar situations and presents in-the-moment judgments based on them. For those of us who believe in the infinite Soul, we also factor into this equation the understanding that the wealth of previous perceptions and experiences to comb through may span several lifetimes as well.
Carl Jung distinguished sensation from intuition by also clarifying that sensation is conscious while intuition perceives unconsciously. Intuition is not focused on the actual thing, or with the present, but rather is sensing for hidden possibilities that exist beyond what is being presented. The intuitive type sees the relations between things and often will find connections and correlations between people and events that others may not recognize have any relation to each other. Intuitive people recognize new trends and focus on changes rather than the static nature of what is being observed. The intuitive is often particularly attuned to symbolism, metaphor, poetry, and myth. Therefore, they typically gravitate to interests and tools that allow them to channel that insight, such as gambling, tarot, astrology, magic, guessing games (i.e., how many jellybeans are in the jar), remote travel, behavior studies, hunting, etc.
Using our intuition to aid us in the search for answers is also an effective method of conducting research. For example, in transpersonal studies, using intuitive inquiry as a research method while conducting qualitative research allows us to take into consideration the transformation of the researcher’s understanding of the topic and any resulting “breakthrough” insights. In intuitive inquiry, identifying the research topic, data collection, analysis, and interpretation are all directly influenced by the researcher’s intuition. This interpretive and interactive dynamic tends to transform both the researchers’ understanding of the topic, as well as their personal lives.
We are all equipped with an intuition that is potent, trustworthy, and perfectly attuned to our true path. Whether you use it or not is up to you. There are many ways to develop your connection to that inner voice, such as:
1. Meditation - spending time in silence will help you hear and interpret these messages.
2. Dreamwork - when you're sleeping, your cognitive mind rests and opens space for the subconscious mind to signal you in dreams.
3. Creative activities – activities like drawing, scrapbooking, or free-flow journaling, quiets the cognitive mind and allows your intuition to speak up.
4. Test your predictions - if you have feelings about what might happen in the future, write down your hunches, then check them later. See how often you were right.
5. Consult your “gut” - your intuition speaks to you through your body, and the more you cultivate somatic awareness, the more sensitive you become. If you get an uncomfortable physical feeling when you're trying to make a decision, it could be your intuition ringing loud and clear.
6. Practice “sensing” into people before you know them - see what kind of information you can gather from observing people and feeling their energy before you talk to them. You'll realize you already know things you couldn't possibly know with the cognitive mind.
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