Intuition

January 15, 2021

I’ve always had a sixth sense. Like many children, I had little feelings about people and situations and most often dealt with this sometimes uncomfortable sensitivity by escaping into nature. I was lucky to grow up in a small, rural town surrounded by rolling hills, stream filled dales, and woodland forests I could roam and explore on my own, safely. Often barefoot, with no particular destination in mind I would fish in the wild streams, climb lush hillsides and forage for wild plants. I remember the delight of finding the first jack-in-the pulpit not long after the last snow melted. Lady slippers, rose trillium, and trout lily was abundant then. And wading in the icy cold streams and meadow ponds was like medicine for me. Though I grew up in a large family and got along well with classmates, my favorite times were alone times.

Both of my parents were highly intuitive. Looking back over my shoulder, I now see that my mother was clairvoyant and she was quite terrified of her gift and discouraged me from my own natural curiosity about her knowing. When I was still in grade school, my father traveled to Bombay, India to lead a metallurgy project that would enable aluminum mills there to learn modern methods of processing the ore that would be used in advanced technologies. While there, he got a call from his home plant in Danbury, CT about a vital machinery failure. He got very quiet, focused his energy to picture in his mind’s eye what the mechanical problem might be and in seconds was able to see the problem and direct those on the other end of the call to make the adjustments necessary. He was an intuitive engineer, a problem solver who was comfortable using his full intelligence including his intuition. He once told me that ideas for many of his patents were the result his own version of lucid dreaming. “When I’m stumped, I visualize the problem just before falling asleep and my first waking thought gives me the answer,” he confided.
Albert Einstein wrote: “Intuition is the highest form of intelligence”. He was one of a few great scientists who relied upon and cultivated his own intuition. Einstein struggled academically. Apparently he had an array of learning disabilities that made it difficult for him to succeed in school. Imagine, this brilliant thinker of the twentieth century was unable to thrive in school. In adulthood, he learned self-hypnosis and began to discover that he could know about the seen and unseen world in a different way. His most famous discovery, the theory of relativity, came to him in a hypnotic dream. Dr. Frederick Banting, another intuitive, had a hypnotic dream about using animal insulin to help his diabetic patients. When he awoke from his dream trance, he ran to the laboratory to record details of his vision and begin intensive lab work that led to a major breakthrough in treatment for Type I diabetes.

Intuition, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, is less about suddenly knowing the right answer and more about instinctively understanding what information is unimportant and can thus be discarded. Knowledge, intellect and intuition are not necessarily separate. But what of the sensing, feeling input that causes us to experience an intuitive insight that suggests an abrupt change of plans due to a gut feeling? Say, you had planned to take the highway but just before entering the on ramp a voice inside your head said “Take the back road,” and later, safely at home, you learn that there was a terrible accident on the highway. And, perhaps, you wonder if you could cultivate a deeper relationship with your inner voice to enhance your life.

Intuition cannot be taught or easily studied in an academic way, but it can be developed through practices that engage alpha brain wave states. Meditation is a practice that expands intuition. And practices like yoga and Tai Chi develop awareness of subtle shifts in energy. Paying attention to energetic signals from the body leads to greater reserves of sixth sense awareness. I know that my intuition is accurate when I feel an electric sensation pulsing along my spine. Ego is the enemy of intuition. Reflection and quiet mindfulness practices nourish it. Intuition may also be the most misunderstood and exploited form of intelligence. We are led to believe that an intuitive has been endowed with a very special gift when, in fact, intuition is readily available to all who wish to develop it.

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1 Comment

  1. Laura L Sawyer

    This group has created a beautiful platform to share your thinking and writing with a broader audience. Well done! Jane, your piece on intuition offers a wonderful and welcome reminder for me of the power of receptivity and of tapping into channels of information and wisdom far beyond the my own puny brain! Thank you!

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