A Life Coaches Guide to The Power of Intuition
A Newsletter/Blog for those seeking to have a happier, healthier, more effective, and more meaningful Life.
Q. I am an intellectual and a critical thinker. Still I have an interest in the power of intuition. Can you explore this?
A. Yes. Intuition is the ability to immediately access and apprehend knowledge without the use of logic, or reason. Intuition is generally experienced as a; Physical sensation (a ‘gut’ feeling), an Emotion, or a mental symbol or image to which one gives meaning.
Do you feel disconnected from ordinary life, as if you are an outsider in any group of people? As if you weren’t made for this world? Do you at times contemplate living a monk’s life – thinking that becoming a monastic will solve your problems? One of the key elements in my Teachings, in Our Work, is that a core element in living the “spiritual life,” is learning to be in the world even if not of the world.
When you fully engage the world, you must do so while living a proactive life of clarity and effectiveness. You will constantly be presented with so-called “truths” that may have little or no evidence to support them. As part of this practice, you will need to seek the support of other extraordinary people, and a have a willingness to consider ideas that do not fit your personal agenda. We are all most susceptible to the influence of RTPs and negative “group think” in times of uncertainty, confusion, and turmoil when much of what we all consider to be “normal” comes under question. This is why the individual seeking to develop EEPPSA is calm and focused even in the most challenging times.
This is of great value when one decides to create, join or support a community of extraordinary people. Such groups often include unconventional artistic subcultures, political activist organizations, or others interested in EEPPSA. Our work can free an individual from being a rebel without a cause while offering them clarity on what is really going on. With the advent of digitally-based social networking tools like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other sources it is easier than ever to live a life of mindfulness and clarity while living in the material world. I often refer to this practical philosophy as Our Work. This for a number of reasons.
- Little of what I have to say about intuition is original. For the most part it is a synthesis of ideas that have been presented by many great thought leaders of the past.
- The organizing of these teachings has involved many collaborators over the last fifty plus years. These collaborators have included my mentors and teachers, my peers, and many students/apprentices.
The intellect helps us in making sense of the world. However, it does have its limitations. Intellectual knowledge implies the knowing subject and the known object. As much as modern, Western society values the intellect, and the accumulation of intellectual knowledge, the fact is that the intellect is not effective in action. Most of us act not out of knowledge but rather out of reaction to circumstance. As brilliant as a person may be when it comes down to applying this knowledge in everyday life few people are up to the task. And it is a task. Life is not a collection of intellectual ideas. It is not a process of the knowing and the known. We all have beliefs about things that are a mixture of cultural idiosyncrasies, religious beliefs, gender, chronological age, emotional maturity, media influence, sensory input, and many other factors. The intellect is incapable of defining and categorizing this vast range of experience for it is itself a part of that experience of phenomena. Intellect attempts to be objective and yet it never achieves this. Intellect is a subjective source that always seeks to ask the objective question. If the questioner is subjective, how can the answer be any more than subjective? How can the intellect grasp the intuitive nature of inner wisdom, which transcends the knower and the known? All philosophical theories are simply assumptions and guesses.
To connect to one’s inner wisdom is to experience absolute and transcendent truth. Intellectual attainments, rather than being a pathway to this experience, are an obstacle. Inner wisdom is not anti-intellectual but it also understands the limits of intellectual knowledge. After all, you cannot measure the speed that a river flows with a ruler. The great Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu writes:
“People who commit excess in arguments, like piling up bricks and tying knots, analyzing and inquiring into distinctions of hard and white, identities and differences, wear themselves out over vain useless terms…All these are superfluous and devious growths of knowledge and are not the correct guide for the world.”
The mind is always seeking the truth. Yet for thousands of years, great thinkers and writers have pointed out that truth cannot be put into words. Some of the basic laws of physics like the concept of love or truth are not easily inexpressible in words.
The writings of many great thinkers indicate they realized that the farther a person’s desires went outward into the external activities – the achieving of great intellectual knowledge, gathering great wealth or achieving fame – the more entangled one would become in the material world. They also knew that such external entanglement and emotional chaos would inhibit accessing inner knowledge.
There is an inner wisdom that we all possess and often this wisdom will contradict what seems logical at the moment. How can this be? One explanation is that the laws of logic, no matter how objective they seem to be are still about the subjective, for thought is subject and logic comes from thought. In the mind, everything is theoretical, and reality is simply a special case of the theoretical. Our common reality makes perfect intellectual sense if not looked at too closely, but in time, we soon learn that it is impossible to live in any intellectual concept of reality when there are so many contradictions arising. Eventually, our minds and our emotions will declare war on each other.
The mind wants us to believe that our emotions and our desires – anger, lust, greed, attachment, and vanity – are a reality. In fact, they are a distortion of reality. When we are focused on harmony, love, generosity, detachment, and humility a new reality, becomes apparent to the mind. These qualities draw our attention to our inner wisdom.
Metaphors for this world-view serve as the foundation of the Star Wars movies and the writings of the cultural anthropologist Joseph Campbell on the nature of the hero. Once we become conscious of the inner demons, The Darth Vader Dark Side that is in all of us, our value system will slowly shift and our behavior will change with it. Our wants and desires will begin to merge and we will be less influenced by external events and circumstances.
Often we cannot make effective, efficient and productive decisions because we lack the essential information required to do so. Traditional approaches to critical thinking may not work here. Inductive and deductive reasoning will fall short, and tacit knowing and intuition may not be enough to get us the answers we need. This lack of essential information is where adductive thinking – probabilities and a concept known as Bayes’ theorem* enters the picture.
In Our Work we have found that negative self-talk – constantly thinking, and saying “would,” “could,” “should,” “but,” “what if,” “maybe,” and “try” – can dull our intuitive capabilities, and create or support narrow, fearful, and limited thinking. These words are also of little value in helping the mind free itself from reactive thinking patterns. Focus on using inquiry-oriented words such as “who, what, why, where, when, and how”. In your private and public conversations, ask questions to bring you both the answers you need and the freedom that the right answers create. You can also use proactive or neutral language in your internal conversations such as “I am an unlimited possibility; I can see the joy in living” or “contentment is my natural state.” All of these help create a sense of vision. Without a mental vision or a stated mission, life seems aimless. Think of something that excites you in a positive way. Think about art, sailing, philosophy, learning about history, or making a difference in the world. Now focus on things you can do to reach or fulfill that vision. A person with clear vision may be rich or poor but is deeply happy with his or her chosen life while the person who has wealth or great material possessions but does not have a clear sense of vision or mission, can be likened to a dog chasing its tail. Without a vision or a mission, life seems aimless.
Intuition may show up in many forms but researchers find that it is generally experienced through physical sensations (kinesthetic), emotions and feelings, and symbols and images (mental)
Let’s explore each of these distinctions
- Physical Sensations: Physical (Kinesthetic) intuition involves the experience of physical sensations that communicate information. Those with this ability to feel physically comfortable or uncomfortable about something. This may appear as a gut feeling, a physical pain, or something that excites their heart.
- Emotional Intuition: This is usually experienced as a vague or specific feeling that has no explanation, but is usually right. For example, you might feel slightly depressed because you know something is wrong; you actually become sensitive to the emotional states of others around you; you recognize messages in their physical posture or you automatically have a certain feeling arise when specific messages are received. It is not an intellectual process but rather it happens right there at that moment. Emotional intuitives often say the words such as “I like” and “I don’t like,” or “this feels good or bad to me.” They respond to requests from others and make decisions based on how they feel. If they are not conscious of this quality, they may experience a feeling without realizing that they are picking up thoughts and feelings from another person.
- Mental Intuition: This form of intuition may seem almost intellectual in nature: It may simply be an internal conversation you are having with yourself about a solution to a problem, or a brainstorm in the shower, a hunch, or a nagging thought that won’t go away in the mind of a person who is not normally obsessive about thoughts. These thoughts are about common sense and recognizing what seems obvious, for intuition is not logical though it might initially be experienced it as if it was. It is actually a more goal-oriented sensibility than the other two forms of intuition.
According to my friend Nancy Rosanoff, a respected expert and writer on intuition, “Most often, people have a combination of the above three, though one form may be dominant. Rarely is someone totally one type. We categorize them only to indicate that there is more than one way to perceive intuitive information.”
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Lewis Harrison is an independent scholar on personal growth and human potential. He Coaches private clients in peak performance, transformation, and success coach.
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