Call It Intuition
“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you, and you don’t how or why.” -Albert Einstein
What is Intuition?
Intuition is defined as the act of knowing something without using a rational or analytical process.
Marcia Emery, Ph.D., psychologist, author and medical intuitive, defines intuition as “the secret of heeding premonitions, acting on bolts from the blue and paying attention to your quiet inner voice, which is what successful people always do, whether they are conscious of it or not. It inspires vision creativity and inspiration.”
New York Times best-selling author Laura Day defines intuition as “a capacity you’re born with as a human being, like the capacity for language or thinking or appreciating music. Intuition is not a power one acquires. It’s an integral part of every human mental, emotional and psychical process.”
Author and intuitive consultant Lynn Robinson says intuition is the inner wisdom we are all born with.” Logic and analysis can provide only partial answers. The key to success is the ability to tap into that deep inner knowing called intuition. It is direct and immediate knowledge.”
Is there a difference between being psychic and intuitive? Author Penney Peirce says that although psychic is part of being intuitive, it doesn’t approach the scope and refinement of intuition. “Being psychic implies that one knows the future or the unknown, often in a way that is unrelated to the bigger picture. Intuition produces an understanding of the big picture of a person’s life. Trying to pinpoint an answer without understanding the deeper needs can lead to gross inaccuracy,” she says.
Lynn Robinson defines it this way. “Everyone has access to their intuition and can use it for everyday guidance. Not everyone is psychic. The term ‘psychic’ implies an ability to predict or foresee the future,” she says.
If everyone already has the basis for using intuition, how can individuals come to recognize intuitive insights? According to authors Nancy C. Phole and Ellen L. Selover, physical and emotional indicators can signify intuitive impulses experienced in a variety of ways. “If the impressions are of a warning nature, the physical indicators might include restlessness, physical pain or discomfort in the stomach. Positive insights might trigger ‘goose bumps,’ a spinning sensation at the top of the head, spontaneous tears, warmth in the hands or at the base of the spine, or a sense of opening in the heart area. Other people experience the existence of intuitive information through the emotions, such as a feeling of uneasiness, concern, or confusion. Another indicator of intuitive information is a sense of great clarity, whether the insight comes as a thought, impression, voice or vision.” The most common ways of experiencing intuitive impressions described above is through terms associated with intuition — clairvoyance (clear seeing or clear vision), clairaudience (clear hearing), and clairsentience (clear sensing).
TAPPING INTO INTUITION
Experts believe everyone can learn to tap into their intuition and that some people probably have without even knowing it. “The hunch, gut feeling, judgment call, sudden insight or flash out of the blue are all intuition,” Marcia Emery says.
Laura Day says that because intuition is often fragmented, symbolic, and may not make sense immediately, people train themselves to dismiss it rather than bring the data it supplies to a place where the conscious mind can interpret it. Like any skill, individuals must apply intuition in order to develop it.
To learn to tap into intuition, Marcia Emery recommends that individuals become more aware of their body’s messages and start to connect them to messages from the mind and heart. In her books and training sessions, Dr. Emery asks individuals to become more aware of their senses — taste, smell, sight and touch, to become quieter and listen more, and to avoid the things that interfere with intuition such as stress and fear.
Author Lynn Robinson says there are three top ways to develop your intuition:
Ask your intuition questions, such as, “What should I do in this situation?” or “What do I need to know about this?”
Pay attention to any feelings, impressions, body sensations or hunches that indicate a good or bad choice.
Act on the information you receive.
If all individuals can be intuitive, why then is it more often attributed to women? Mona Lisa Schulz, MD, Ph.D., neuropsychiatrist, neuroscientist and medical intuitive, says it’s a left-brain, right-brain thing.
“In women, as a general rule, information tends to be processed by the left brain, the right brain, and the body working together as a unit. The whole intuition network, in other words, is on-line and available to them all the time,” Dr. Schulz says.
That doesn’t mean that men are any less intuitive than women are, though. They just may have to work at it a little harder since their brains process things differently.
“Overall, men may have less of their intuition network available at any one time to make a correct decision based on insufficient physical information,” she says.
Health magazine reports that there is little proof to validate the claim that women are more intuitive than men are.
“There is no research to prove the age old notion of ‘women’s intuition,’ but there is some evidence that certain types of people have more intuitive qualities than others.”
Author Laura Day agrees. “Women are not more intuitive than men. Perhaps because intuition was thought not to be a rational process, it was attributed to women, whereas rational thought was assumed to be the province of male brains.”
Experts say there is nothing to fear about tapping into intuition, but it may feel uncomfortable or frightening to some individuals at first because it may be different from a rational approach to life. Author and international workshop leader Shakti Gawain says that the more people follow their intuitive impulses toward new risks and new directions, the more comfortable they become in taking greater steps toward tackling bigger issues.
“As you learn to live from your intuition you may find that the process of making decisions changes. Rather than just trying to figure things out in your head, you follow your intuitive feeling for awhile and let things unfold. In the process, the right decisions usually get made,” Shakti Gawain says.
She stresses that it’s about a process of letting intuition lead you step by step instead of making quick decisions. She advises individuals to turn problems over in their intuition and see what they are drawn to.
“Some people fear that trusting their intuition will lead them to do things that are purely selfish, irresponsible or hurtful to others. In reality, the opposite is true. Since intuition is connected to our souls and the universal intelligence, it is always guiding us to our own highest good and the greater good for all concerned,” Gawain says.
Author Lynn Robinson says there is absolutely nothing to fear about tapping into intuition.
“We are all hard-wired to receive this wise guidance. Intuition is your natural inheritance. Some of us are more comfortable with it than others and thus, develop it more readily,” she says.
Experts admit that for some individuals learning to follow their intuition may feel like things are out of control. But they advise slowing down, becoming aware of messages from the body, mind and heart, and letting intuition empower them to become productive and active in any situation.
Intuition in the Workplace
More and more companies are recognizing intuition as a key training tool for employees in their in-house education programs. Health magazine reports that some of the largest companies in the world — Hewlett Packard and Xerox among them — use intuition training to help employees develop a competitive edge in this time of economic uncertainty.
“There is growing evidence that intuition is a teachable skill that everyone can use to make better decisions — in everything from hiring an employee to choosing a daycare.”
Trainer and author, Marcia Emery has worked with companies such as AT&T, Dow Chemical and Microsoft to help encourage employees to trust their hunches.
“Intuition has become a breakthrough management tool,” she says. “It helps companies ride the wave of rapid change and gives leaders shortcuts for solving problems.”
Claire Montanaro, founder of London-based Intuition in Business, says intuition can be a key tool in recruitment.
“Intuition can help in choosing candidates for a job. It can lead you to ask the right questions,” she says. “If doubts arise about acandidate during the recruitment process, pursue your intuition with further questions. Test it out.” She debunks the theory that using intuition in business is unprofessional.
“It’s very important to use intuition with integrity, sensitivity and with great awareness,” she says. “Intuition can assist logical explanation in deciding a course of action.”
Trainer, author and intuitive consultant Nancy Rosanoff believes that intuition does not replace analytic thinking but enhances it by providing insight on timing, specific strategies and innovation. When companies incorporate the intuitive process, improvement results. She notes an example of Du Pont reducing its new product development from three years to three months when it used intuitive techniques.
Ms. Rosanoff recommends beginning to tap into intuitive power and wisdom in the workplace by incorporating the following steps:
Ask. Before making a decision, ask yourself and everyone in a work group how they really feel.
Be attentive. Intuitive insight is often the first impression that occurs when faced with a new situation.
Keep track. Jot down intuitive impressions and track the results. Once the impressions are accurate, more attention will be paid to them.
Use power moments. Begin meetings by asking others to collect their thoughts about the agenda and write them down as they occur. Then ask everyone to mention something on their list. This adds focus, depth and participation to the meeting.
Attributes of intuition often conflict with corporate environment. Intuitive skills are based on insight and awareness rather than formal education and experience. It encourages going with a hunch or gut feeling rather than analytic information. It is unpredictable in that it does not conform to rules and regulations, and it waits for the right time to act and could change course in midstream. These attributes may not be part of the typical business model.
Health magazine reports that although many companies see the value of intuition training, they may prefer to use more conventional words like vision, creativity, and innovation to describe it.
Healing Through Intuition
Medical intuition is defined as both an art and a science by medical intuitive Tim Collins.
“Typically, a medical intuitive will scan a client’s body (and being) intuitively. They can ‘see’ and pinpoint specific illnesses, imbalances, weaknesses and preclinical disease states in the human body,” he says.
Physician and medical intuitive Mona Lisa Schulz defines a medical intuitive as a person who uses the perception of intuition to show an individual how various illnesses and symptoms are related to emotional and behavioral things going on in the body.
“Every illness is in part genetic,” Dr. Schulz says. “But there is also an emotional and behavioral component.”
Dr. Schulz says that illnesses are part of the intuitive guidance system to signal what is out of balance in the body. She can teach people that intuition is a by-product of their brain and body and help individuals rewire their brains so that illnesses can abate.
“Everyone can heal by using intuition,” Dr. Schulz says. “But intuition describes, it does not diagnose. A diagnosis should only be done by a physician.”
Do doctors believe and use intuition? Dr. Schulz thinks they do use it every day to make clinical decisions by balancing intuition with intellect, but they just don’t call it intuition or recognize that they are using it. Dr. Schulz says that the time to turn to a medical intuitive is when symptoms become worse indicating something is out of balance with the body.
“Learn how intuition is used in your family by thinking about how grandma knew something was going to happen by “feeling it in her bones” through her rheumatism,” she says. “Take a look at the illnesses in your family. Illnesses are windows of opportunity for intuition.”
Is Intuition for Real?
Psychologist Carl Jung calls intuition one of the four basic psychological functions along with thinking, feeling and sensation.
But experts agree that there are many misconceptions about intuition.
“There isn’t always a big “AH-HA” moment. Sometimes it will reveal itself in that way, but usually it’s much more subtle,” Lynn Robinson says. “Intuition comes to us most often in feelings, fleeting images, sudden insight, words and body sensations.”
Mona Lisa Schulz says that many times people think of intuition as a mystical power when it really is not.
“Because of the mysterious nature of the origins of intuition, combined with the rationalism of modern culture, most people either distrust intuition or disbelieve it entirely,” Dr. Schulz says.
According to Penney Peirce, critics of intuition tend to be those who are rational thinkers, generally lawyers, doctors, some scientists and some religious leaders.
“People who need things to be quantified and proven tend to scoff at intuition,” she says. “In business, many leaders are so bottom-line oriented that they miss the importance of intuition in influencing things like motivation, production, efficiency, innovation — all things that contribute to success.”
Intuition isn’t just for “special” people, everyone can tap into it. If there is confusion about the difference between intuition and fears or wishful thinking when faced with making a decision, Lynn Robinson makes a recommendation.
“Messages from your inner wisdom are usually reassuring, loving and contain guidance that makes you feel calm, peaceful and confident. Messages from your intellect are often based on thoughts of lack, anger, guilt or a need to protect yourself,” she says. “You will also feel consistently passionate and excited about something over a period of time. This is usually a nudge from your intuition to continue.”
Experts believe intuition can urge individuals to pursue their dreams, enhance relationships and aid in decision-making. It can improve communication, unleash creativity, heal, motivate, and inspire. Combined with logic, intuition can be a powerful tool that everyone has the ability to tap into and put to use in everyday life.
Author Penney Peirce says, “Intuition won’t do the work of life for you, but it will bring ideas, answers, and direction. It can help you be more aware and mindful in each present moment, which helps you live a rich, full, involved life with a joyous attitude. Intuition won’t enlighten you, but it is the vehicle that lets you perceive that you are already wise, pure, and loving.”
“Intuition is not a startling gift that is the province of a few psychics. It is less about divining the future than it is about entering more authentically into the present. Intuition is always operative, so common that it often evades conscious recognition.” -Joan Borysenko