What is intuition?
Intuition, otherwise known as gut feeling, or sixth sense, is a feeling either of unease, or alignment, about someone or something. It is a method of communicate for the subconscious, which is in possession of much more information and memory than is available at a conscious level.
Why is it important?
The subconscious, absorbs much more data than the conscious, holding much of that information in store, until it’s needed. So having a way to access this information is very useful and intuition is a direct link to it.
What can go wrong?
It’s easy to mistake the noise created from THOUGHT and THINKING to be INTUITION, it is not. THOUGHTS are largely driven from a FEAR based perspective. If we were coming at this from a spirituality point of view, we would say thinking is EGO based.
So the feeling of unease you might sense, in taking a particular action, might actually be due to fearful THOUGHT, rather than a more enlightened warning from INTUITION.
The difficulty comes from distinguishing the two, from one another.
Telling the difference between INTUITION and FEAR
Fear is the default perspective of the Ego, of THOUGHT and THINKING. It’s all about self preservation from this view point. Most of negative feelings you experience will come from this type of fear. Many irrational fears can be found here, such as the fear of public speaking, or the fear of venturing out of your comfort zone. These fears are not life threatening as such, but they might result in a negative physiological reaction, when you start to think about actually doing them, in the same way as if your very life were under threat.
Intuition on the other hand, is not driven by fear, but is more of an awareness of something feeling right or feeling wrong. It’s noticing the expression on someone’s face, not being completely in sync with what is coming out of their mouth for instance. It’s a sense that something is out of place, or, on the flip side, is safe to pursue.
Intuition comes from the accumulation of years of the subconscious absorbing many subtle and not so subtle things that the conscious filters out, so that we can function more efficiently on our day to day activities. But these things are noticed by the subconscious and this noticing builds up over time. It is only when something is out of place that many of us become aware of intuition, operating in the background of our consciousness.
Intuition also works in a positive way too, when things just feel right and everything seems to be in alignment.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, “Blink”, says intuition is easy to ignore, due to its subtlety, which is why people often fail to recognize it. On the other hand, fear is much more effective at attracting our attention, by screaming what it wants us to do or not do.
Intuition is a feeling that comes from life experience via sense perceptions, using all of the senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing), and subsequently utilises much more of the brain. On the other hand, fear simply activates the Amygdala as a neural shortcut, and that leads to a racing heart, energised by fearful thoughts.
Fear is activated for many levels of importance, it’s energised by imagination and self story-telling. Intuition on the other hand, generally only comes into consciousness for the important moments of life and is much more experience based in nature, and certainly not prone to such imagination and story-telling fantasies.
The feeling you get from intuition is usually a sense of peace and alignment, whereas fear can keep nagging at you, even when you know you’ve made the right decision, playing the devils advocate, continually questioning your choices.
Intuition can be for and against taking action. Fear is usually only against action in preference to maintaining the status quo, resisting change and uncertainty, and doing nothing new or challenging.
What is the best way forward?
Learn to quieten the mind, to think less intensely and be less driven by irrational fears.
Back feelings up with rational decision-making techniques and tools like the decision matrix to add a second check to your decision making process.
Improve your self-awareness, by observing your own behaviour and habitual thought patterns, so that you can spot how and when your fears are activated.
Improve your clarity of purpose to help intuition. By knowing where you want to go, and having clear goals, you will better navigate your journey.
For more articles about INTUITION, click here.
Check out our Motivational guide.