A Brief Study of Intuition
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What is Intuition? Intuition is the ability to know directly and instantaneously without the aid of thought, reason, observation, inference or deliberation.
The dictionary meaning of intuition is quick and ready insight, immediate apprehension or cognition. Intuition is an automatic mental process, that defies logical thinking.
The psychology and philosophy of intuition
Hence, Karl Jung described it as an irrational function. Intuition is part of our survival instinct. It is an ability that is not confined to human beings alone. Some animals seems to perceive threats in their environment intuitively. They have an uncanny ability to identify an enemy and stay away from danger.
Intuition is a rapid response mechanism of the brain that does not operate according to a set procedure or adhere to predictable conditions. Much of the intuitive process is hidden, beyond our grasp. We know it only when it happens in the form of a feeling, physical sensation, thought or gut feeling.
In philosophical terms, intuition is viewed more or less as a kind subjective belief rather than a rational thought. It is also considered a mental state or disposition to believe in certain possibilities.
Karl Jung believed that extroverts and introverts differ in their ability to make use of their intuition. Although it is unpredictable, intuition is a right brain activity, which plays an important role in problem solving, creative thinking, innovation and decision making.
While psychologists stayed away from intuition for long, presently cognitive scientists believe that intuition is an unconscious cognitive process, which is difficult to explain but nonetheless an experiential fact.
Intuition as a spiritual faculty
Intuition is a faculty of the higher intelligence or the spiritual mind. It also goes by the popular name, the sixth sense or the inner voice. Spiritual people have better intuitive ability because they are well connected with their inner consciousness and free from the usual distractions and disturbances of the mind. Spiritually speaking, a calm and stable mind, which is free from afflictions, desires, attachments and expectations, is better equipped to receive intuitive thoughts and sublime messages. From a spiritual perspective, your intuition may arise from within yourself or from an external source such as a divine entity or the Universal Mind when you are in harmony with it.
You may also consider intuition a kind of higher mental awareness in which the usual inner chatter is absent and the mind is free from the burden of fears and anxiety and the influence of the negative self-talk. If you are not careful, you may consider you self-talk as intuition. The purer a mind is, the greater is its ability to process information and provide insight and intuition into the nature of things.
What makes one intuitive?
While intuition is a mysterious process, certain factors tend to increase our intuitive ability. They are knowledge, experience, mindfulness or heightened observation, pattern recognition, sensitivity, empathy, feelings, effective listening, open mindedness, non-judgmental awareness, visualization and creativity. People with years of experience in a particular field or profession develop intuitive way of understanding things and make on the spot of judgments about people and problems. Probably knowledge, experience, habit coupled with confidence give them that unique ability and perspective. People who are sensitive, introverted, spiritually inclined and those who practice yoga, meditation, visualization and similar practices regularly also show greater receptivity to intuitive and subliminal messages.
Myths and facts about intuition
Following are certain important myths and facts about intuition.
1. Intuition is a mental faculty or ability whose functioning is difficult to determine.
2. People differ in their intuitive abilities and the method and the manner in which their intuition works.
3. There is no such thing as an intuitive person.
4. With effort and practice we can become more intuitive.
5. Intuition has no correlation with birth, intelligence or education.
6. There is no guarantee that your intuition will always be correct or right. Hence it is not always reliable.
7. Intuition alone may not solve all our problems. We have to combine intuition with other methods to resolve our problems and make intelligent and balanced decisions.
8. Intuition may be triggered by perceptions or it may happen internally during sleep or dreaming.
9. Intuition is not a magical ability. It cannot be enhanced through magic or mantras.
10. In long-term relationships, people tend to become more intuitive towards one another.
11. Intuition seems to develop with repeated use and testing.
How to Develop Intuition?
The following factors are conducive to intuition.
1. Calm mind
2. Believing in yourself.
4. Curiosity and interest
5. Freedom from judgment
6. Freedom from attachments, prejudice and expectations
7. Freedom from fear and anxiety
10. Steady breathing
11. Positive relationships
Your intuition arises from accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experience. Its source is what we call in Sanskrit higher intelligence (buddhi) which gives us the power of discernment or the ability to know one thing from another. Ordinarily human intelligence is adulterated with many impurities such as desires, greed, fear, anxiety, instability and other afflictions and modifications. Therefore, self-purification and inner transformation greatly enhance our intuitive faculty. A calm mind, a healthy body, virtue, character and integrity are important factors to cultivate intuition. Intuition suggests to the evolutionary possibilities of human mind and in which direction we may eventually evolve as a species.
Suggestions for Further Reading
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- Being the Best - A Book on Self-help
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