We’re all born with an intuitive sense, but it doesn’t come with a manual to help us interpret it. You can makes use of the wisdom of your hunches better by avoiding these four common mistakes when understanding your intuition. (Estimated reading time: 6 minutes)
“Intuition does not come to an unprepared mind..”— Albert Einstein
It was a breezy day in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Like most pedestrians in New York, I speed walked through the streets, on my way to the nearest subway station.
My commute was interrupted by a middle-aged woman dressed like a gypsy, complete with an ornate headband, chunky gold chains, and a hip scarf. She abruptly stepped in front of me and rattled off an alarmingly accurate analysis of my personal situation by simply reading my ‘energy field’. Even though I have a healthy skepticism of the occult, I was bowled over by her uncanny ability to pick up on very personal details. Seeing my look of bewilderment, the lady ushered me into her pagan haven filled with glittering gemstones, candles and all kinds of garish trinkets.
I hesitated before entering, but my curiosity drove me inside to get a psychic reading with her. Obviously, I was hoping to hear some exciting prophecies that would put a spring in my step, but what I got instead were warnings about impending doom.
In the sinister voice of horror movie narrator, she said, “I see demons and dark energy entering your life because of the ill wishes of people who are jealous of your good fortune. It will cause you misery and grief.”
“But there’s a way to prevent it… I can cast a spell to protect you from these psychic attacks for only a 100 dollars!” Her words, (and the cost) sent chills down my spine.“
My initial hunch about the lady was right. She was a charlatan trying to make money from the vulnerabilities of others. If I’d had faith in own my intuition I could have saved fifty bucks and, more importantly, saved myself from the anxiety that followed because of my unfounded and irrational fear of her predictions. Regardless of my belief, I still wondered if there could be a modicum of truth in it.
This experience changed my whole outlook on the nature, and purpose, of our intuitive senses and understanding intuition. It’s not a mystical power, even though it seems like it is.
Neither is it a matter of lucky guesswork. It’s a non-linear form of intelligence that goes beyond the rational thought process. At the most basic level, intuition is an instinctual awareness, its sole purpose being to keep us safe.
All of us have experienced gut feelings—that subtle ‘knowing’ that propels you to do something in the absence of explicit reasoning.
The word ‘intuition’ is derived from the Latin word “intuenor” which means “to see”. Intuition is essentially our minds’ way of seeing solutions and insights that would otherwise stay hidden below the surface of reality.
Our intuition speaks to us in its subtle language of impressions, feelings, ideas and images. We might see signs and symbols in the outside world that trigger our intuitive hunches. Even though it comes naturally to all of us, the essence and interpretation of our intuition have long eluded us, despite the centuries of research and inquiry in the field of psychology.
Influential books such as Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow have suggested that we rely more heavily on our intuition than conscious, rational thoughts. We act intuitively based on earlier experiences of intensive thinking. Consequently, these insights may appear fast and effortless, as if appearing out of thin air.
Spiritual and new-age gurus see intuition as divine wisdom that comes to us from a higher plane of existence. It’s channeled guidance from the Source of all creation. Like a mother hen tending to her chicks, it prods us in a direction that is the most beneficial for our growth and evolution.
According to Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass:
“We need to overcome cultural bias against following one’s instinct. We don’t have to reject scientific logic to benefit from instinct. We can honor and call upon all of these tools, and we can seek balance. And by seeking this balance, we will finally bring all of the resources of our brain into action.”
No matter what the origin of our intuition is, we need to be perceptive enough to pick up on it. Over the years, I’ve moved away from seeing it as an inner Oracle, and instead see it as an integral aspect of my moral core. It’s the ethically driven part of me that knows right from wrong. It’s the voice of reason that promotes truth and goodness. This realization has been instrumental in understanding intuition.
Even though we’re all born with intuition, our instinctive gifts do not come with a manual to interpret it accurately. With so much noise, clutter and distraction in the world, it makes it even tougher to tune in. Here are four mistakes that you could be making when understanding your intuition:
1. You’re too rational when interpreting it: Our intuitive senses originate from a place that does not involve logic. To the rational mind, it can seem nebulous, coming to us like the bits and pieces of a puzzle, making it tough to interpret. For this reason, we are more comfortable with using logic to understand the world. But we have to overcome this tendency and allow the fluid, open, and deeper aspect of our mental construct to decipher the messages from our intuition, no matter how ambiguous it may seem to us.
2. You only use it to predict the future: Despite what most people believe, the purpose of our intuition and intuitive tools, such as tarot, oracle cards and astrology, is not to foresee the future but to empower us with self-knowledge so that we know how best to manage our sense of personal power. Our intuition alerts us to the people, events and places that enhance, or drain us. You need to believe in yourself enough to trust your own wisdom and follow it. Its accuracy is directly proportionate to your self-esteem. Intuition can, therefore, be seen as a by-product of self-esteem.
3. You don’t trust it enough: Intuition doesn’t come with any guarantees or any substantial evidence of its accuracy, which is why it can be a little scary to follow its prompts. Sometimes, you don’t give it enough credibility because you don’t like what it’s telling you. You may prefer to ignore it and replace it with a narrative that’s more convenient. It’s easy to dismiss intuition because we mistake it for the voice of fear, or a projection of our desires. But in order to make the best decision, we need a balance of intuition and rational thinking.
4. You don’t get quiet enough it hear it: Your intuitive voice can only come through if you’re attuned to your inner world. It’s almost impossible to recognize it above all the noise of everyday life. If you want to channel your intuitive wisdom, you need time alone to engage in deeper thought and to reconnect with yourself. A little bit of solitude in a quiet, peaceful, and reflective environment will give you the space and time to access it.
Intuition is essentially the voice of grace, something that needs to be experienced, to be understood and known. It has the power to open the passageway to inner illumination. It makes itself known by filling you with a sense of tranquility and the knowledge that, no matter what happens in your life, you’re going to be okay, because love always surrounds you.
All my best on your journey,
Question: Have you made any of these four mistakes when understanding your intuition? What steps will you take to overcome them?
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