You’re like, “Part 3? Where are parts one and two?”
Here they are.
Since 2010, I spent a lot of time on this blog talking about using your intuition.
I was so off-base.
But that’s how this work goes. We are ignorant. We do the work. We discover our ignorance. We learn. We let go.
And I’ve continued to grow from what I’ve learned, and I have more news to depress you about intuition.
Is There Intuition?
Let’s start here.
Well, what are we defining as intuition?
If intuition is getting “correct” answers from feelings to “best” support us in living life, I would say that it is highly doubtful that such a thing exists. If it is a magical hotline to God, I would say, “No.” And yes, I once said the opposite. This is how we are humbled on this path, and humility is the doorway to true spiritual growth.
Are we getting feelings and sense of things all the time?
But what are those really?
This is where we can turn to neuroscience and all the wonderful experiments and discoveries they’re making about how the brain functions.
In “What Is Intuition? Part 2,” I mentioned a book called Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow. I still recommend it. Today, I’m mentioning a book called, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently by Beau Lotto. Once again, I get no revenue from mentioning these books. I think they’re useful, and I have read them.
This makes so much sense. We don’t like uncertainty/the unknown. In fact we deeply fear the unknown.
Lotto says that in the times in which we evolved that “to not ‘know’ was to die.” It’s best to stay in the places of certainty where we know where the food is and where the predators are not, right?
We’re deeply attached to knowing what is safe. We fear the unknown because we have an underlying assumption that if it is unknown then it probably is not safe.
What Is the Function of Intuition?
I would say that
intuition is a physiological sense that makes us feel certain about a way of acting.
Think about it.
We don’t have enough intellectual information to evaluate much less evaluate well all the different situations there are in life. Intellectually, we know that all of life is unknown to us. But vast reality of the unknown and the mountains of data available about every and any kind of situation could lead to analysis paralysis and other issues.
So we need to create some semblance of certainty to make decisions and take actions.
Enter your subconscious ego.
Intuition/gut feelings/good senses/bad senses of people, places, and things come with a sense of certainty. You feel like you know this person, location, etc. so now you know what to do. You can relax into a self-created sense of certainty even though you don’t really know anything.
The Problem of Uncertainty
I want you to take a moment and see what it feels like to be certain. Focus on your body.
What are the feelings that arise when you feel certain?
Doesn’t it feel good to be sure about something?
Even if you are sure about a bad thing, at least that gives you something to react against.
When we find something that gives us the “feeling” of certainty, we will return to it again and again and again.
And if that sense/feeling/intuition seems to lead to outcomes that we want, then we’ll hold onto it for dear life.
For many people, intuition is the experiential sense of certainty that helps them to combat the great big problem of living in an uncertain world.
The Problem of Certainty
Here’s an even shorter definition of intuition:
Intuition is an attempt to FEEL certain in an uncertain world.
Let that sink in.
Note that feeling certain doesn’t actually mean that you’re correct.
This is where intuition becomes a major problem. If our feelings of certainty and knowing what to do are wrong, then we’re acting poorly. Perhaps we’re even causing ourselves or others harm by taking action from these feelings.
Let that sink in.
I told you that this post might depress you.
The Truth Can Handle Inquiry
But let’s not get stuck in depression. You have a secret weapon. It’s your amazing intellect!
Your thoughtful, self-reflective brain has the power to figure out what is truth and what is not. Turn your attention to these feelings and senses that you call intuition instead of agreeing with then. Come back to awareness to observe them, and now start to question where they are really coming from, what are they responding to, and so forth. This is how you figure out what your “intuition” is actually saying, which generally has very little to do with the present moment.
What you’re going to find are past emotions and memories that are in your subconscious and which have become part of your decision-making. You can learn to figure out what past experiences are being associated with the current experiences, and you can find out if there is any truth there.
The Power of Your Perception
The thing about human beings is that we store an enormous amount of information, and we are very, very perceptive. As we begin to understand our “intuitions,” some of them will be seen for being incorrect, projections of ourselves based off of past experiences. Others are no longer considered intuitions as we begin to understand the nuances that we notice in different situations that we’d learned in the past but long forgot that we knew.
For example, a bad feeling about a friend ends up being understood as seeing similar behavior patterns as your mother displayed when she was suicidal in your childhood. Now that you can identify what those behavior patterns are, you can get your friend the help that they need.
You no longer call that intuition. It is now a very rational identification and assessment of a situation.
And this form of perception is exceptionally useful.
The Gift of Deep Perceptiveness
Human beings are incredibly perceptive.
But ideas about intuition and ego can get in the way of correctly using that perception.
Using inquiry to get to the root of what you’re perceiving and why will help you to get rid of the nonsense and spiritual fluff and leave you with the kernels of truth. It’s that truth that becomes a powerful force of certainty to help you navigate the many forms of uncertainty that will always be present in the changing world around you.