An air of myth and
misconception surrounds intuition.
The more rationally-minded tend to write it off as unreliable and
unscientific. In “spiritual” traditions, intuition sometimes is
endowed with mystical powers beyond our reach.
In truth, intuition is explainable, follows its own very precise
laws, and can be systematically built as a valuable resource.
We constantly pick up
immense amounts of information from our environment – very little of
which we are consciously aware. This data goes into the unconscious
storehouse, where it continues to be processed. Intuitions,
then, are sudden flashes of knowing, emerging out of a very logical
integration of the experiences and facts that we have accumulated.
Intuition also refers to
“unconscious competence”, which we reach when we’ve gained so much
experience in a given area that we can handle it in our sleep.
Therefore, when we talk about relying on our gut feel, it means that –
like Sam in the example above – we can draw on vast inner resources,
which are available to us quicker than cognitive processing.
the Intuition Muscle
Like Deanna Troi from Star
Trek – The Next Generation, you continuously receive intuitive
information. Now she is someone who has learned how to identify and use
that knowing (it also helps that she is a telepath…).
And even if your ambition isn’t to be on board a starship, you
certainly can go to “new frontiers” by including the powers of
First, you need to identify
how intuition shows up for you. Get to know your unique intuitive
“language.” What kind of body sensations, images and feelings communicate
your intuitive knowing? Or do you hear the famous “Inner Voice”?
Intuition itself is always
accurate. What is more
fallible is our interpretation of intuitive information.
This data gets filtered through our hopes and fears, and mixed
with our expectations, assumptions, and belief system.
Just as in learning a new
language, you need to discover what your intuitive cues mean.
What sensations and
pictures do you receive for a “yes”, which ones for a “no”?
Do you get goose bumps, see colors or patterns, or feel an
adrenaline rush when something is right on?
Does a tight stomach accompany a “wrong” decision?
Do a flashing red lights or an alarming voice try to warn you?
Experiment with minor
decisions for one month: when
selecting a menu item, or what shirt to wear, check for intuitive
”yes” and “no” signal inside, and then make your decision
accordingly. As you learn to identify your individual cues, you can
gradually apply them in all life areas.
to Use Intuition
Short answer: all the time! Since intuitive knowing draws on much more information than
we’re conscious of (and some claim intuition is also a way for us to
tap into the “super-conscious” – the timeless field of knowledge
that is available to all of us), it can help us in all areas, from
business and the stock market to personal relationships. However, it is
best to consider intuition as just one source of information when
making bigger decisions – especially as we’re learning to interpret
intuitive cues more accurately.