Intuition is defined as: the ability to understand something without conscious reasoning; a thing that one knows from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
Intuition is often confused with some similar concepts:
1. Intuition is often mistakenly called instinct. Instinct refers to an inborn behavior as opposed to a learned behavior. Instincts are biologically-based, with the intention of promoting survival long enough to reproduce.
All animals are driven by instinct and we have instincts too – fear of heights, the fight or flight response, etc. These are not intuition.
When you’re in a dangerous situation, yes, instinct will kick in; if you’re in a non-threatening situation and you feel uneasy, it’s probably your intuition!
2. Intuition, or a gut feeling is a strong physiological response to information that has come into our consciousness in ways outside the physical senses – it’s called a gut feeling because it’s often felt in the stomach or in the heart area. It can be anxiety or nausea, or a good feeling of lightness… (or other feelings) depending on the information received.
3. Inspiration is the “process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something”, usually referring to something creative. Some have called it a higher form of intuition. Intuition is a sense about something; inspiration is complete with images and even instructions.
4. Insight refers to looking within for answers. This, too, relies on the nonphysical senses and thinking in a more nonlinear, less constrained way. Intuition and insight are closely intertwined; both arise from our ability to perceive the energetic quality of things, people, thoughts, etc.
Reasoning And Logic
As a culture, we’ve been taught to rely on reasoning and logic. And so, when we get hunches and gut feelings, we often dismiss them. Intuition often comes in the form of weird cryptic messages in dreams or physical sensations that have nothing to do with what the senses perceive. But this non-logical way of thinking is just as valid!
We have all picked up on the vibe from certain people or places. There is a part of us, separate from our logical thinking, that picks up on the energy around us. We’ve all had moments when conscious reasoning said GO yet we have a strong feeling to STAY – or the reverse.
Have you noticed that when you take action on the inner voice, it often ends up being a really good idea?
You know that it’s easy to rationalize and talk yourself into or out of something. This is often based on logic and often constrained by self-imposed limitations. Say you have a goal in mind, but because you lack the skills and resources to achieve it, you rationalize letting the goal go – “it wasn’t meant to be”.
BUT … if you were to listen to your intuition, you might realize that you actually feel really good when you think about your goal!
If you allow yourself to think in terms of possibility (you can acquire the skills/resources) instead of present reality (you don’t have the skills/resources) then your decision to go for it will be easier.
Reason And Intuition
We need both reason and intuition to make the best decisions. Otherwise, why is our brain set up the way it is? Neuroscientists estimate that only 20% of the brain is devoted to logical, conscious thought. That means that 80% is dedicated to non-conscious thought. If you allow intuition, you’ll use your whole brain for decision making, integrating the linear, logical way of thinking with the random, nonlinear way of thinking
Learn to listen to your body for clues if you’re just getting used to listening to intuition. Ultimately, if a decision feels good and happy, it’s right. If you feel tension, anxiety, etc., re-think your decision.
You can do this before you make a big decision, for example whether to leave a job. You hate the job. It wears you down and you’d rather do something you’re good at and love… but it’s a decent paycheck and the economy is terrible.
So engage your imagination. Pretend you’ve made the choice to leave, and monitor your physical and emotional reaction. Then, pretend you’ve chosen to stay in the job. Again monitor your physical and emotional reaction. There will be a remarkable difference.
You can apply this technique anytime you’re faced with a difficult decision. Weigh the facts, and then listen to your intuitive guidance without judgment or ridicule. Sometimes, intuition and logic come to the same conclusion. Sometimes, they differ.
For best results (which you may not perceive at the moment), DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT.
We have this amazing ability to talk ourselves into doing what is not aligned with our soul’s desires. When we listen to the inner voice, we end up following a much easier, happier path than if we relied on logic alone.