Gut feeling. Sixth sense. Call it what you may. But, we all seem to use it practically everyday.
Whenever we decide something ' from buying a carpet for the living room, to what kind of clothes to wear for a job interview, or what kind of financial decision to make at an important meeting ' the final decision always includes a contribution from the intuitive side of our minds.
Simple. Complex. Because intuition, to most people, sounds much like a mystical force, even a monumental gift. Far from it. Intuition, according to researchers is a sort of background sense: a sense of how things should work, with its facts hidden in the brain. Of logic. And, more than all that ' a personal power. A power, which every human being is endowed with, albeit not all of us are mindful of its immense possibilities.
Yet, in the stressful, technological age we now live in, intuition isn't as glamorous a word as cloning, or some newly devised, wondrous computer software. It is verily a subject with a dubious visage, almost devoid of reputation. Conventional wisdom, for instance, brands it as something intangible, supernatural, even unreliable. So much so, it's thought to be much more a province of women ' not men. Men, after all, it is often argued, have 'hunches,' or 'gut feelings/responses,' or 'instincts.' All hogwash, really. They are just myths, even misconceptions. Perish the thought of male superiority!
Intuition, as a matter of fact, was attributed to women more strongly than men, because it isn't a 'rational' process. Popular perception has it that rational thought is the domain of the male intellect, or brain. The idea gained mileage because tasks, or jobs, traditionally assumed to be 'women's work,' required very little by way of intuition. Specialists now argue that men and women are equally intuitive and equally equipped to use this powerful tool ' no more, no less ' in their everyday lives.
All of us believe in meaningful coincidences. A telephone call, a tryst at a restaurant with a loved one. But, with the advance of technology, and high-tech jargon, the limitations of logic, rationality, and the scientific method as the primal means of guiding our lives are now becoming clear ' even painfully, at that. Besides, our world is increasingly turning to modes of perception and understanding that don't really depend on evidence presented to our senses, or practical wisdom ' of modes, such as intuition and faith.
If faith is the keystone of belief, so is confidence, even if we begin to accept the fact that the over-reliance on linear thought is a relatively recent phenomenon. Something, that was long-before espoused by philosopher Ren' Descartes. The essence of the very idea was not Descartes' own. He was only a leading proponent of an intellectual tradition whose roots go back to ancient Greece ' the birthplace of logic, philosophy, and the rudiments of the scientific method. Greece was also the land of the Delphic Oracle. Which was also why the early Greeks recognized that rational thought was incomplete, and it needed the support of intuition.
Example. George Soros, to use a modern parable, is arguably the greatest investor of all time. He's a man who has often placed his billion-dollar bets on his intuition. However, financial experts will not agree with his phenomenal success on the basis of his gut feelings ' not so much on mathematical or scientific template. Argues Soros in his brilliant boo ' Soros On Soros, 'I feel the pain. I rely a great deal on animal instincts. When I was actively running the Fund, I suffered from backache. I used the onset of acute pain as a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio. The backache didn't tell me what was wrong ' you know, lower back for short positions, left shoulder for currencies ' but it did prompt me to look for something amiss when I might not have done so otherwise.' Hold on! Admits Soros: 'That is not the most scientific way to run a portfolio.'
Be that as it may, there's no denying Soros' incredible success. Which doesn't mean that you should also withdraw your money from your mutual fund if you wake up with a backache tomorrow morning. The Soros example is more than suggestive. Soros is an astute thinker ' a man who deeply analyses the economic, political, and psychological parameters before making an investment. Yet, it is fascinating ' the way he relies on his intuition. It tells him when his logic is incorrect. You can also be like him. You can learn to be intuitive. From your career' to playing cricket.
Yes, it is all possible. You can use intuition to enhance every area of your daily life, and to recover lost information about the past, verify unknown information about the present, or predict information about the future. You wouldn't believe one word of it. No problem. As Laura Day, a renowned expert and author of a groundbreaking book, Practical Intuition puts it, 'Intuition can empower you to be productive and active in any situation. With intuition, you'll be able to reclaim some measure of competence and control over your life. Intuition will improve your decision-making. It should be an integral part of your life, like exercise and meditation. Employing it will open you up and add to the quality of both your thinking and your emotional selves.'
Day's prescription is practical, not [an] 'instant,' spiritual, how-to toolkit. She advocates you to develop your intuition by applying intuition consciously through practice, not just by reading about it. Day says that reading is primarily an intellectual art, and your thinking mind can interfere with your intuitive mind.
Here goes ' Day's exercises on intuition. First, you should establish what is truly important to you, and then respond to your merits and shortcomings. Once you have done that, you ought to respond. You have to be brief and honest. You should act like a plumber ' one who is plumbing your unconscious. Don't just peek ahead. Be patient.
You could use a tape-recorder, or a notepad. To verbalize your own thoughts, or write them. But, be careful. Because, what you may wish for ' you may get. Day offers a famous parable. A tale of an ambiguous question put to an intuitive in ancient Greece. A powerful ruler was about to invade the lands of an enemy kingdom. He asked the Oracle at Delphi whether a great battle would be won. The Oracle responded in the affirmative. The Oracle was correct: a great battle was won. Unfortunately, for the king, it was won by his rival!
To get into the 'act,' you should become better acquainted with yourself. Here's Day's step-by-step method: Take a long, deep breath. Allow your mind to relax and move back to the places within where you hold your memory. Have faith that your unconscious will generate memories that provide the information you need to answer your question. Allow yourself to get all the components of what is meaningful about the question... As you analyze, allow yourself a stop every time your perceptions want to travel ' or, allow them to run until you hit another memory. Don't worry about whether it's a 'real' memory, or that you're just making it up. Write down at least four memories in your intuition notepad.
However, remember one thing. Your questions should be good questions; they should be able to generate useful information, and satisfy a triad of requirements:
First, each question must be specific and unambiguous so that a precise answer is possible.
Second, each question should be simple rather than compound.
Third, each question should be directly relevant to the issue you want to know about; also exact, or specific
Intuition is, quite simply, a capacity, something that is within us all, like the capacity for language, or thinking, or appreciating music. It's not acquired power. Rather, it's an integral part of every human ' mental, emotional, and psychical ' process. Each moment, all of us receive information intuitively. Only thing is we're simply unaware of the process. Don't we use our intuition in all those practical reasoned decisions we make every day: from choices as mundane as what we eat for lunch to what to pursue by way of a career, or whom to marry? The trick, says Day, is using your intuition more effectively to bringing the unconscious data it supplies to a place where your conscious mind can interpret it.
How do you do it? By knowing how to access, and apply it, effectively. By learning to understand the information you receive intuitively. This requires structure, yes, just as thinking is improved with the structure that logic provides. And, the inference is obvious. Whatever native intuitive skills you've retained from your childhood, you can develop them, like any other skill, with practice. Adds Day: 'Learn to recognize your intuition, cultivate awareness, your memory... When your eyes encounter a word on the page, it is instantly compared with the tens of thousands of words stored in your memory bank. Along with that word, images and associates stored with it are retrieved by your memory and served to your conscious mind. Your intuition functions in much the same way. It's simply a matter of learning how and where to shift your attention.'
Nothing, Day reckons, is random. Everything you notice is significant. There are no coincidences. The more you think about them, the more it boggles the mind. Everything, therefore, can be interpreted. Even unconsciously! Like meeting your friend, this evening!! So, intuition has to it something more than what meets the eye, or ear. It's also child's play! Because relying on intuition means operating without the safety net of logic, common sense, and sensory experience. It may not, therefore, be easy. But, its rewards are meaningful, and even empowering.
Think of yourself as a child. Play the make-believe game. Learn to suspend judgment. Dare to be the devil's advocate. Deliberate. And, label your impressions as you articulate them, into three categories: 'genuine' intuitive impression: 'imaged' intuitive impression; and, 'interference.' Use feedback and you'll discover which of these tend to be accurate 'hits,' and which were off-target. Because, gaining conscious control over your intuition is like learning to ride a bicycle ' it takes practice to get the hang of things. But, once you have the 'key,' it's not difficult at all.
Intuition is something that is not always easily understood. Think of a computer's 'intuitive' interface! It is, indeed, your sixth sense ' more than a synonym for being prophetic, subconscious or instructive. It is not telepathy. Not a dream, because dreams are not intuitive. Dreams present information in the form of a storyline. Unlike intuition, where the information is fragmentary.
Intuition is more than symbols. It is a question of putting it all together: of being objective, shaking it up, about the interconnectedness of things, and spirituality. You have to pretend that you are someone else. Here's a model, which you can work on, and develop:
- Describe yourself in detail.
- What is the major focus of your life, right now?
- In what ways will your focus change over the next few months?
- How do you feel about the world around you?
- What do you need?
- Are you on the right track?
Answer the set of questions as a person you have chosen to be for this exercise. Trade places. Use the description as a metaphor.
The result would be startling. Because, we are all intuitive, and more capable of giving help to others, and ourselves, than we realize. And, yes, intuitively!