Have you ever felt something within you that you couldn’t explain with words? It was a knowing or a guide that you knew you had to trust but weren’t sure why? This is your intuition.
Intuition is your inner knowing that gives you hints and messages about the decisions you make and the direction of your life. It is the language of the soul or the highest self, perceived through the heart and translated in the mind.
Intuition can be difficult to understand, and even harder to put into work. Even though intuition requires practice and dedication, I believe it is one of the most important aspects of our lives – it shows us who we are and what the best path to take is.
What Is Intuition?
This is where things can get a bit confusing. A simple search across the internet reveals many different answers to what intuition is. That’s why it’s important to find what resonates with you and to go from there.
The scientific community believes intuition stems from our unconscious mind as a result of processing past memories and experiences. From there, the mind pulls lightning-fast insights about a situation and which direction one should head in.
On the other hand, the spiritual community believes intuition is a direct perception from the heart, which is then sent to the brain for translation. The amazing thing is that science is starting to prove what the spiritual community has known to be true; the heart is an intelligent “mind” of its own that is able to receive information, store memories, and process data separate from the mind. The heart is the center of our beings, it is the messenger of our highest self – our direct link to the infinite and unexplainable. From this place, intuition is birthed.
The heart is the center of our beings, it is the messenger of our highest self – our direct link to the infinite and unexplainable. From this place, intuition is birthed.
Author Sajah Popham shares about intuition in his book, Evolutionary Herbalism: Science, Spirituality, and Medicine from the Heart of Nature. I believe the following account fully articulates the concept of intuition:
“The intuitive heart sees life as an integrated and unified pattern, harmonizing the body and the mind together as one. Through the intuitive heart, the sensations of the body are translated into the mind, and thought patterns are turned into tactile sensation. . . . the true intuitive faculty enables us to see patterns and connections beyond the capacity of linear cause-and-effect thought. The intuition awakens as the heart and mind come into a place of entrainment and connection and as understanding dawns within us from a seemingly intangible source.”
Intuition is your inner knowing that directs you through life. It provides little nudges that we can choose to listen to or ignore. Many of us have been taught to ignore these insights and nudges, and thus we have learned to not trust ourselves or our deep inner knowing.
Our modern culture puts the intelligent mind on a pedestal, reigning it king over everything else, including the intuitive heart and instinctual gut. Because of this, we have learned to ignore the messages of our bodies and hearts, seeing them as separate from the intelligence of the mind. In this way, the body is seen only as a machine that functions based on the commands of the mind.
While this is partly true, the body needs to be honored and listened to, for it has a wisdom of its own. When this wisdom is ignored, as we have been taught, diseases and illnesses arise. This is the body’s way of communicating, listen to me, pay attention to me.
In order to listen to intuition and the messages of our body, we need to be IN our body. Quiet the thinking, rushing mind, and move your awareness down into the body. This is how one starts to listen to intuition and the messages of the body.
Examples of Intuition
It’s difficult to give an example of intuition as it’s something not easily explained with words. It’s a sensation, a knowing that is hard to translate with the language of the mind. Nonetheless, I will do my best.
For starters, it was my intuition that led me to this youtube video that perfectly explains intuition, and gives examples of what it is:
Learning to listen to your intuition takes years of practice and commitment. I am still learning how to listen to my intuition or my little “nudges” as I like to call them. One of my favorite ways of allowing my heart to lead the way is when I go out into nature. I live on a large property of wooded land with numerous trails running through it. When I want to go out for a walk, I let my intuition guide me where I want to go, rather than picking a destination beforehand and heading straight there.
As I start going along, I let my mind calm and quiet. I focus my awareness on what is around me and the sensations of my heart. The above video mentions that we have an electromagnetic field radiating from our hearts that extends up to ten feet around us. It is through this energy field we pick up on sensations and messages from the world around us.
Everyone has an inner knowing that can lead to them their greatest potential.
When I am out on my walk, I tune into the perceptions of my heart, or this electromagnetic field, and I allow it to be my guide. From this place, I will sometimes get a vision of the location I would like to go to, and I start heading that way. All the while I remind myself the journey is part of it all, it is the destination.
I pause often, tuning into the natural world around me. I encounter birds, flowing water, and the wind through the tops of the trees, and I open myself up to these sensations, being fully present to their medicine. When my heart and mind are synchronized in this way, there is a clear channel of communication between my heart and mind and I am able to pick up on the intuitive messages of my highest self, and the land I reside on. They speak to the healing journey I am on, and the path I choose to follow.
Whenever I go on these intentional nature walks, I always return with great insights from my highest self and confirmation of my life’s path.
Sensing vs Intuition
If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs personality test, then you’ll know they have two psychological preferences; sensing and intuition.
I believe this is a little different than the main subject of what I am writing about, but nonetheless, it helps to understand the two. Sensing is simply taking the world as it is – tuning into the five sensory experiences. Intuition is more about finding the meaning behind sensory experiences. At least, that is how it is explained by the Myer-Briggs team.
In my own experience with intuition, I see sensory experience and intuition as compatible and intricately linked. They are not separate, but one. In this way, my understanding and explanation of intuition are different from what the Myer-Briggs foundation sees it as. I also believe I am simply discussing a different subject than what the “sensing vs intuition” is discussing, as that specifically refers to the personality test they created.
Intuition and Psychology
Most psychologists agree with the scientific community that intuition is a subconscious reasoning mechanism produced in the mind. They believe it is formed through our past experiences, knowledge, and beliefs.
Because they believe this is where intuition stems from, they say that it can actually lead you astray and it can’t be fully trusted.
If I believed intuition stemmed from the mind and our past experiences, then I fully agree that it would lead you astray. Because our minds, or egos, do lead us astray. Our ego is constantly trying to protect us, so of course, it causes us to feel a certain way about things based on our past experiences.
Based on my experience with intuition and tuning into the ways of the mind, intuition is not what psychology says it is. What they call intuition is the basis of the human mind. I am not a scientist, so you don’t have to believe or agree with me, I just know what I have experienced of what intuition is and what it isn’t.
There is a resistance in the scientific community to the essence of the spirit – it goes back to the age-old debate of science vs. religion. Now, that’s a different subject, but my point is that I believe intuition arises from something that is undocumented and somewhat unexplainable. It cannot (as far as we currently know) be tracked or studied in a laboratory or through test subjects.
Again, finds what resonates with you. If the scientific explanation of intuition resonates with you, then listen to that. Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
If you would like to take an intuition test there are a number of resources online. I do warn you though that I don’t believe these are accurate tests.
Intuition is not something to test online in a matter of seconds by flipping through pictures and seeing how many you get “right.”
Intuition is heart perception. It goes beyond the shallow scope of online tests to see how intuitive someone is. It is a skill that most have to develop over time. For some, they have listened to it their whole lives and it is second nature, but most of us haven’t been taught how to listen to intuition. An online test isn’t a reliable source of how intuitive someone is.
Scholarly Research on Intuition
The HeartMath Institute has numerous research studies on the concept of intuitive and heart intelligence which shows intuition goes beyond the scope of the unconscious mind.
Dr. J. Andrew Armour is a neurocardialogist who has published research on the intelligence of the heart. His findings have proved, according to Evolutionary Herbalism:
“The heart even has its own memory, neurological cells, and neuroplasticity, and it directly modifies the functioning of the brain.”
What does it mean when you have intuition?
Everyone has intuition, it just depends on whether they listen to it or not. If you listen to your intuition, that means you are listening to the perceptions of the heart, your highest self, and the messages of the body. You’re “tuned” in.
Is intuition the same as a gut feeling?
Intuition and gut feeling are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t exactly the same thing. Gut instinct is formed in the gut “brain” which is where we learned to survive. It is where our animal-like instincts come from. Intuition comes from the perceptions of the heart. They are quite similar but not exactly the same.
Is intuition a real thing?
Yes, intuition is a real thing. Everyone as the capability to learn how to listen to and interpret their intuition, yielding great insights into perspective into themselves. The insights that intuition can yield are quite special.
How do I connect to my intuition?
You can connect to your intuition by quieting your thoughts, meditating, and practicing self-care. I highly recommend watching the youtube video above for more information on how to connect to your intuition.
How do you know if it’s your intuition or overthinking?
The youtube video/link mentioned earlier answers this question directly, so I highly recommend checking it out. Basically, your intuition doesn’t come through by rushing thoughts, it’s a sensation more than anything – a quiet whisper in the back of your mind; a gentle nudge. If your mind is spinning then it is just that: your mind.
Does everyone have intuition?
Yes, everyone has intuition. Intuition is an elemental part of being human, and we each have the capability and capacity to tap into and yield great insights from our individual intuition.
How Intuition Comes Through For Real People
Everyone has an inner knowing that can lead to them their greatest potential. I’m a firm believer in intuition and I was curious if my friends and family were as well. I asked them two questions, first; if they feel like they listen to their intuition. Second, how the messages of their intuition come through to them the most (walking, hiking, journaling, yoga, meditation, etc.). Here’s what I discovered:
|Do You Listen to Your Intuitions?||Times Selected|
|How Intuition Rises For Real People|
|My intuition comes out through sensing peoples emotions.|
|Through prayer; I believe a lot of intuition is God talking to me.|
|Pausing, asking, breathing.|
|Voice in my head that usually begins with “I probably should/n’t do . . .” I have learned from experience when I don’t take action on the voice something not so fun/good happens.|
|Intuition comes through the most for me when I am journaling, dancing, walking out in nature, and meditating.|
- Looking Within – My Successful Experience with Reflection
- Affirmations – Guide to the Practice with a List of Ideas
- Look Within – Learn the Source of You – From My Experience
- How To Forgive Yourself – Being Your Own Best Friend
- Self Validation – Learning the Most Powerful Source of You
- Positive Mental Attitude – My Guide to Life Changing Ideas
- Essentialism – What’s Truly Necessary for Identity
- Collect Meaning – Living a Life of Depth and Happiness
- Intuitive – Those Who Feel and Perceive Deeply Around Them
- Id, Ego, & Superego – For Understanding and Self-Reflection
By listening to our intuition, we can have direction in life and trust that our path is leading to us the life of our dreams. It isn’t always easy, and listening to these little “nudges” will take time and practice, but the reward is a life of soul embodiment.