Intuition, Instinct, Hunches & Gut Feelings -- Are you listening?

Intuition is perception via the unconscious. Carl Jung

What is your gut telling you right now? No, really. Sure, you’ve heard that you should listen to your “gut feelings” but while intuition is something everyone has, it’s not something we all pay attention to. And while most people accept the existence of intuition, you might not think of it as a psychic ability or tool.

So what is intuition, exactly?

The dictionary defines intuition as immediate understanding without reasoning or thought. In other words, if you have a problem, intuition jumps directly to the solution without passing Go or collecting $200. You don’t have to think about it, you suddenly just know what the answer is. Think about Ben Kenobi talking to Luke Skywalker: “Trust your feelings, Luke.”

Of course, many of us are afraid to trust that inner voice. The rational mind gets in the way, causing you to doubt and second-guess yourself. Later, you’ll probably hit yourself in the forehead and utter a loud Homer Simpson “D’Oh!”, wishing you’d listened to that feeling you had.

Is intuition a form of psychic ability then? A sixth sense? Perhaps. Alexis Carrel said: "Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality."

Reality is in the eye of the beholder – or the mind. Intuition is said to come directly from the subconscious mind, which has the ability to “clue in” to reality as it is. On the other hand, the rational mind is constantly under the influence of past experience, emotions, ideas and countless other things. The rational mind can be focused on a single thing to the exclusion of all else. The rational mind can also be distracted. In contrast, the subconscious mind is constantly and consistently taking in every tiny detail of your surroundings, every nuance of every conversation, even the subtle body language of people in your vicinity. This means that the subconscious mind knows things that the rational or conscious mind does not!

Examples abound. You might walk into the office one morning and immediately sense that something is wrong. You haven’t talked to anyone or consciously noticed a problem yet you know something is not right. Or you might meet someone who is friendly, interesting and attractive – yet you have a nagging feeling that all is not what it seems. Conversely, you might run into someone who appears gruff and rough. Yet your gut tells you this person can be trusted. Your subconscious mind has picked up on things your rational mind doesn’t see. 

Still, intuition can go above and beyond simply registering clues in your immediate vicinity, and this is where intuition appears to cross over into the realm of the paranormal. (In fact, almost all types of psychic ability and ESP can be grouped under the general heading of intuition.)

One of my daughters gave me permission to share one of her experiences with my readers:

A few years ago, she lived in a small town and could only access the nearby big city by a winding coastal highway. She was SO excited to plan a shopping expedition to the city for a special occasion. The morning of the trip, however, brought something different.

“The second I was conscious of being awake, there was a huge thought in my head: Don’t go anywhere because you’ll be in a car accident today. It was as strong as I’ve ever felt anything in my whole life.”

Many of us would have passed it off but my daughter had had enough experiences to know that she needed to listen to her intuition, even though it meant missing something she’d been looking forward to for days.

“That day at the time I would have been on the highway, there was a big car pileup and seven people died. It was a four-lane highway, and the accident was so bad that it was closed for nine and half hours.” My daughter has no doubt that she would have been involved in the terrible accident somehow if she had stuck to her original plan.

By the way, many people report a physical sensation that accompanies this intuitive sensing. For some it may be a prickling of the skin or scalp, or even goosebumps; for others it might be a peculiar sensation in the stomach or heart region. One woman reported that her cheeks got very hot when she was experiencing this heightened perception.

As with most psychic tools, practice makes perfect. The more you listen to your intuition, the more you’ll be able to hear it.

So was there a time YOU listened to your intuition --- or wish you had?

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