What Is Intuition?
I recently published a book called 21 Rituals to Ignite Your Intuition, but what is intuition?
The best way to understand intuition is to experience it. So, read the questions below, then look away from the screen. Take as long as you need to formulate your answers in your mind. Then, when you are ready, read on …
• Is your glass half full or half empty?
• What came first, the chicken or the egg?
• How much is too much?
Of course, there are no correct answers. These questions can’t be answered logically. Yet if you ask anyone for their response they will rarely be short of words. They will tell you what they ‘know’ to be true for themselves, even though they can’t say how they ‘know’. I’m convinced that’s how pondering these questions felt for you. Your response was instinctive rather than rational. Your mind ‘felt’ for an answer that made sense to you and you probably impressed yourself with your wisdom. I asked these questions as a way to help you understand what intuition is because they are questions that can only be understood and answered intuitively. Logic, alongside your prior experience and knowledge, can all help inform your answer, but they can’t give you a satisfying answer.
Your intuition is an untapped source of higher wisdom that draws on your previous knowledge, but intuition is also much more than that. It is that still, calm voice inside you, an awareness of cognitive messages, auditory information, visual images and physical sensations that can provide you with meaningful information about past, present or future realities. Some even consider intuition a form of extrasensory perception (ESP).
Those who learn how to tap into their intuition often credit their intuition as a powerful ingredient for success in life. Many of the world’s greatest thinkers, innovators, artists, scientists, business people and thought leaders have stressed the importance of intuition and how it shaped their lives and inspired their work. They often describe it as their inner voice, some kind of pre-existing awareness or future knowledge or creative self-expression that is within each one of us but often suppressed. ‘I just knew’ or ‘I trusted my gut’ are vague phrases they often use, along with other equally vague phrases and words such as ‘sixth sense’, ‘hunch’, and so on.
Jung described intuition as one of four functions of the mind, along with sensation, thinking and feeling, and balancing all these functions gives us the ability to make better decisions and maximise our potential. He wrote, ‘Intuition enables us to divine the possibilities of a situation.’ In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Blink he calls intuition the ‘power of thinking without thinking’, and in triumphing over evidence in TV shows, such as Medium, Sherlock and House. These descriptions and depictions of intuition make it clear that perhaps the clearest way to describe intuition is knowledge that’s informed but not made by the rational mind. It happens unconsciously.
To summarise, intuition is your connection to something deeply wise within you that leads you to make decisions based on your highest level of good judgement. It provides you with valuable insights about yourself, your life, the people you interact with and the situations you encounter. It is not a moral compass or a supreme authority about what is absolutely right and wrong for everyone. But it does provide a sense of what is right for you and what isn’t going to be in your best interests. It is informed by, but also beyond, reasoning, logic or experience, and is an amazing source of wisdom, understanding and potential. It is your highest self. The best possible you.
Trouble is, intuition is often so hard to identify, connect to and trust because it is the inner voice many of us lose contact with and don’t know how to identify when it does try to speak. This was certainly the case for me.
To find out more about intuition and how it works, check out my book 21 Rituals To Ignite Your Intuition.
Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash