What is intuition?

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”

-JONAS SALK, creator of the polio vaccine

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Intuition is becoming a popular topic, so we ought to all get on the same page about it. What is intuition? Who uses intuition? Can intuitive development lead to personal growth?

What is intuition?

Intuition is that which is known through non-rational processes. We are using our intuition when we get into a mental “flow” state. When we’re in the middle of doing something we love, whether it’s cooking or gaming or playing an instrument, we find this flow state. We find ourselves making decisions using the instinctive, creative parts of our minds rather than the rational processing part. It’s possible to find a similar mindset during moments when the mind is alert, but not attempting to solve any particular problem. This can happen while on a walk, especially in nature, or when wrapped up in a conversation with a friend. In these states, the mind is receptive to its environment in ways unlike it normally is. The activities that inspire passion within us allow us to forget about the surface of daily life and get connected with different aspects of our settings, and thus, of ourselves.

The manager of the mind

Unfortunately, too few of us find time to pursue our passions. This causes a severance between our mind and our intuition. The typical daily stresses that we manage compel us to wear a certain kind of mindset for too long. We can become trapped in a single state of being, that of the executive life manager. While we have a lot to thank our executive life manager for, it can hardly be argued that living from the seat of the executive manager is fulfilling. We have no time for passions, no time to be inspired, and thus no time to experience to serendipity of intuitive thought. Life divorced from intuition can start to feel stale and pointless.

Developing our intuition

There is good news: developing our intuition is possible. In fact, the process of intuitive development is often joyful as well as enlightening. While developing our intuition requires commitment, it’s a process which is accessible to any person. It’s about making time to slip out of the mindset of the central executive manager. When we enter mind states in which we can be receptive to to subtle stimuli within our environment, we can develop our intuitive understanding. With a more finely-tuned intuition, we may find it easier to make decisions and take action in our lives. Any activities which inspire a high level of active creative engagement will help a person develop their intuitive skills.

If you are interested in reading about the brain science behind intuition, please check out these links:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/intuition-may-reveal-where-expertise-resides-in-the-brain/

http://www.scn.ucla.edu/pdf/Intuition.pdf

Here’s what I’m wondering: does intuition have a specific feeling? When you have intuitive experiences, is it present in your body? What does your intuition help you with?

intuitionRachel Wallerstedt