What is intuition?

Some believe it to be a sort of sixth (or seventh) sense that others – or themselves – possess.  Others might believe it’s an uncanny insight or a knack into seeing beyond the surface information being received.

The word itself comes from the Latin wordinteuri, which means ‘to look inside’ or ‘to contemplate.’ (1)  Some scientists contend that intuition is directly associated with innovation in scientific discovery.   Jung considered it an ‘irrational function’ opposed most directly by sensation, and opposed less strongly by the “rational functions” of thinking and feeling.

Intuition is a combination of historical (empirical) data, deep and heightened observation and an ability to cut through the thickness of surface reality. Intuition is like a slow motion machine that captures data instantaneously and hits you like a ton of bricks. Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding — a gut feeling. Intuition is not pseudo-science.
– Abella Arthur

In more straightforward language, intuition could be considered another way of ‘knowing.’  When a person trusts that intuitive flash and acts upon it successfully, it teaches them to further trust it the next time it occurs.  Like any skill, intuition takes time, patience and deep focus on what your brain is telling you when you receive an intuitive thought or idea. It is a feeling of heightened and intensified knowledge about a subject, person, or object that seems metaphysical in nature, but could very well be the result of a highly observant mind.  Sometimes, intuition can mean accurately gauging the emotional mindset of another individual, also known as being ‘empathic.’

Dismissing the notion that intuitive impulses arise supernaturally, one is left to assume they originate with the five innate human senses.  Some brains are wired to process information at a higher rate of speed and drawing in information from all the senses at lightning speed, thereby making the person experiencing the intuitive flash feel as if the information came from an otherworldly source, or telepathically.  The more likely explanation is that it is a base function of our brains that we’ve ‘learned’ to largely ignore, depending on more concrete functions like sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste as independent expert functions.  However, the individual senses can be deceived in an of themselves.  Optical illusions are a perfect example of this.

Those designated as “intuitive” have learned to pay attention to the rapid processing of external and internal information and compare it to personal experience and other learned knowledge.  They have learned to trust the results of that process, moreso over time if their trust has provided continual positive results.

Intuition (is) perception via the unconscious. –

Carl Gustav Jung

I have several friends who are dreamworkers.  Dreams are a result of our subconscious processing information in abstract ways that we can either ignore or try to translate into meaningful information for use in problem solving, issue resolving, or gentle guidance from ourselves to ourselves.  The brain is a pretty awesome organism, and provides myriad ways to send us information.

Dreams, in my humble opinion, are another form of intuition.   Some people are more finely attuned to them than others.  But again, it takes practice to pay attention to what the mind is telling us and to teach ourselves to understand the information.  I’ve never met anyone who spoke a previously unknown language without having studied it first.  Intuition is simply another language that we pay heed to or not, that we choose to learn or not, or that we trust or don’t.

It’s interesting when I talk to others about this subject.  So many have never learned to trust their intuition.  I don’t bang and blame on this topic, though.  The society we live in has blunted the edges of our abilities to trust our own insights.  We’re constantly bombarded with information that tells us that we’re unable to make good choices, or that we’re somehow lacking in the ability to trust ourselves.  Valid decision making resources are sometimes written off as new age twaddle or worse.  The wisdom I attempt to impart to others is that trusting ourselves should be first and foremost in everything we do.  When we allow others to convince us that we’re “not good at” something or that we’d be making a big mistake not listening to them, is trying to sell something.  In earlier decades, these others would’ve been labeled snake oil salesmen and sent on their way.  Now, however, it’s those who advocate self-empowerment who are labeled the con artists.

How can you learn to trust your intuition?  If you could, what would change beginning right now that would allow you to make choices and decisions based on intuitive input?

(1) from Wikipedia.