Consider Your Intuition
In my experience, I have discovered two types of intuition. One occurs when your mind tries to put new information into an understandable category. It pays attention to patterns and the absence of patterns.
When you feel uncomfortable, the feeling, the discomfort, is warning you that something is wrong. It may be someone behaving unnaturally, out of context. The information you receive is not fitting into what you logically know.
In the book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, the author tells about a woman who met a stranger in her apartment entrance. She knew something was out of place, but ignored her feelings. He spoke to her. He was someone she did not know and was inside the building. He did not live there. How did he get in? The door was locked. He kept offering to help her carry groceries to her apartment. Why did he continue to offer her help when she said she was fine? He said that he would set them inside the door and go, but he didn’t go. The stranger raped her. Looking back, she recognized key signals that made her feel uncomfortable that she had ignored, but she did not take time to consider them.
“The solutions come to you, and you don’t know how or why.” ― Albert Einstein
Pay attention to these messengers of intuition ― nagging feelings… anxiety… hunches… hesitation… suspicion… apprehension. Listen to your doubts, especially when someone you don’t know asks you to be sympathetic, makes you feel guilty or seems out of place.
Intuition works on a subconscious level. The information is not always obvious. You know something doesn’t fit. Learn to recognize and follow that gut feeling. The more you understand your intuition, the more effective it becomes.
As in the story, the woman knew the man should not be inside the door of the apartment building. He stood there, not going to an apartment or out the door. Why was he there? Her right brain related this basic knowledge to her and she felt uncomfortable. Her left brain said, “You’re ridiculous. I’m sure there’s a good reason for his being here.” This all happened in a matter of seconds. Her right brain compared the actual situation to what she knew as normal and it told her that the man should not be there. She did not listen. Ignoring or refusing to act on intuition may be very costly.
YOUR MIND sorts and processes new information. As you absorb data about a person or situation, your right brain relates it to past experiences. It may be something you have read or heard about. It separates the familiar part of the new with the unfamiliar. Then it relates the familiar part to past information and puts it into a context that can be understood. Your brain forms a conclusion based on the total information. The result becomes conscious, not in logical terms, but in emotional terms. On a subconscious level, you feel uncomfortable because you have not put the new information into context.
YOUR BODY has physical and mental changes. Pay attention to those changes. As your right brain tells your gut to prepare for fight or flight, it sends adrenaline, which speeds up your heart, and gives you an uneasy feeling. As you become aware of physical reactions, your gut signals your mind that something is wrong.
The following information lists characteristics of your mind and your intuition. Intuition is that gut instinct when you know something. It may be your mind collecting subconscious information that is out of context, or it may be another type of intuition, supernatural forces directing you.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MIND
- Talking all the time – it shouts
- Self-limiting chatter
- Giving reasons why you cannot
- Bringing up regrets
- Negative interpretations of a factual situation.
- Words, scenarios
- Creating self-fulfilling prophecy
- Wanting to be right based on data and beliefs
- Speaking knowledge, facts, data
- Affecting your attitude
- Capable of lying
- Showing payoffs
- Past and future oriented
- Asking why
- A perfectionist
- Partly accurate, partly wrong
- Reasoning, rationalizing
CHARACTERISTICS OF INTUITION
- Not a language; no words are involved, only a feeling
- Not condemning
- You just “know”
- Living in the “now”
- Telling you to “just do it” with no reasons attached
- A problem solver
There are many ways to develop your intuition.
- Enjoy a variety of experiences. This gives you a foundation of information.
- Write your experiences daily in a diary or journal or think about them at the end of the day. This helps you understand your experiences and recognize patterns.
- Spend time with people who are wise and use common sense. Ask them why they come to their conclusions. Consider whether their intuition is accurate.
- Talk to others about your experiences and ask them to discuss them with you from an objective point of view.
- If you believe your intuition is inspired of God speaking to you, and you want to encourage clearer communication, develop a close relationship with God.
“The trouble with using experience as a guide is that the final exam often comes first and then the lesson.” ― Anonymous
Another type of intuition occurs when an inner voice or feeling tells you not to take an airplane and you find out later that it crashed. This intuition tells you to do or not do something and you discover it was in your, or someone else’s, best interest. There doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation for it. The problem with this type of intuition is that you can do weird things and get no benefit from your actions. This is a trial and error thing and it is hard to distinguish this intuition from imagination.
At one of my workshops, a woman mentioned that, at one point, she felt a strong urge to go outside. When she did, she saw a stranger trying to kidnap a little girl. He went away when the woman went outside.
Self-trust is the first secret of success. Successful people pay attention to their intuition, so honor yours. Believe in and trust yourself. You may not act on all your feelings, but be aware of your feelings and consider them. They are always a response to something. True intuition cares about you.
Learn to distinguish your conscious mind and your intuition. Study your intuition. It’s there for a reason. Become familiar with it. That sixth sense helps you live from day to day, sorting out what is important and what is unimportant. When you listen, it will protect you and help you.
For more information, see the book, Blink The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, published by Little, Brown and Company.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Did you ever feel uncomfortable about something, but didn’t know why, and you found out later that something wasn’t quite right?
- Now that you understand the difference between your mind and your intuition, can you identify and act on your intuition?
- Do you trust your intuition?
Betty Eddy is a published author and member of the Netiv community. Her work as a life coach has given her unique insight into self help. In her book “Untying the Knots of Life” she deals with concepts which guides the reader though self discovery.