What Is Intuition And How Does It Work?

There is knowledge, there is information, but there is also such a thing as a deep inner knowing. But what is that inner knowing, where does it come from and how do you get it?

Everyone is sometimes advised to ‘follow your gut feeling’ or to ‘listen to your gut feeling’. Your inner voice and internal knowledge, also called your intuition, gives you support and help with difficult decisions and situations. But even though we often want to be more intuitive, in many cases it still seems very difficult to trust your intuition.

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and suddenly you know something. Something you didn’t know the day before. At night, when your waking consciousness is turned off, a knowing can arise from the depths that you, with all your frantic remembrance and daytime worrying, could not reach.

It is not for nothing that we are sometimes being told; “sleep on it for a while”. It’s like we can access a larger, deeper reservoir of knowledge and information when we’re not fully awake, when we’re not on our guard, thinking less concentrated than usual. That reservoir is of course in our unconscious – but what that unconscious exactly is, is not yet clear at all.

Predictive dreams are real

Spiritual experiences give access to a much greater consciousness. In fact, spiritual master Barry Long said that we have dreamed almost everything we experience before—but we don’t remember most of it.

Even in deep meditation, crystal-clear insights often surface. People with near-death experiences sometimes say that they had a ‘preview’ of the future, or that they saw and understood the whole pattern of life and death in one colorful pattern. That cannot be explained in words later on; it just doesn’t fit into our much smaller frame of mind.

Inner wisdom according to science

The current view of materialistic science is that our consciousness is produced by our brain cells. So there is no consciousness outside our brains, let alone knowledge.

But there are more and more scientists, such as doctor and writer Arie Bos, who have completely different views. They argue that our brains are more like filters. There is an ocean of information in the universe in which we float, so to speak. The brain doses all that information into tolerable, human portions.

‘Our ordinary consciousness processes information in language,’ Bos explains in his book, ‘and that is always linear; first comes one fact, then another. But reality is not linear, everything happens simultaneously. Spiritual experiences are also holistic, not linear: they often consist of images that show everything at once.

Why intuition is so mysterious

When you have to make an important decision, you are often advised to make a list of advantages and disadvantages. But even if your list of advantages is so long and your list of disadvantages so short, you can suddenly decide completely instinctively or intuitively not to make that choice. With a flash of insight, you know it’s not right for you. The better you know yourself and the more overview you have about your life, the more often you have such flashes of insight.

We often tend to weigh choices with two options. “Do I go to the party, or do I stay at home?” or “Am I eating salad or pizza today?”. This thinking in two opposites, also expressed in thinking in body (mortality) or soul (immortality) causes us to be disappointed no matter what choice we make.

The solution often lies in the middle. By following your intuition, in almost all situations there are often more than just two options. You can also choose to go to the party for an hour and then hang out on the couch at home. Or to eat both the salad and pizza. Create a certain peace and calm for yourself in the choices you make, so not every consideration has a certain warning status.

Where intuitive knowing passes into something more mysterious, something paranormal, is unclear. Firefighters can sometimes intuitively sense the exact moment they really need to get out of the burning house before it collapses. You could explain this by pointing to their experience: they might hear it from the way the wood crackles or the fire roars when it gets dangerous.

Intuition may be solidified experience: you pay more attention to minute details that a novice doesn’t notice simply because you’ve been trained to pay attention to them. But that doesn’t explain everything.

Stranger is that some women know they are pregnant before they even know it, if there are no outward signs of it at all. They just “know” and they certainly do. Their bodies know it and communicate that knowledge to their consciousness.

Can that left hemisphere shut up for a moment?
So it is clear that there are all kinds of scientists who take something like ‘inner knowing’ seriously.

‘The spiritual world only gets access to you if your left hemisphere shuts down,’ says Bos. In the left hemisphere are the language areas of Broca and Wernicke, he explains, which play a role in concept formation and judgment.

Keeping your left hemisphere still means you are bypassing your ordinary waking consciousness, which is constantly judging, to access a deeper source. That is why meditation is so important in all spiritual traditions: it also bypasses that ordinary waking consciousness with its constantly judging voice.

Be kind to yourself

The fear of making the wrong choice is always lurking. A little self-compassion can help create calm and relieve the pressure on your shoulders. So ask yourself a few questions as soon as you feel this pressure coming on:

How does my body feel now?
What am I saying to myself?
What do I believe about this situation?
How do I feel?
What part of me feels troubled by this decision?
What expression of compassion do I need now?

Really listen

The intuition is not usually loud. To follow your intuition you need to relax and listen in a patient and attentive way to what it wants to tell you. When you start to feel peaceful, clarity arises and then the answer you seek begins to be more glaring, and decisions can be made.

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