The Personal Application of Intuition
Bringing It All Back Home
“If you have intuitions at all, they come from a deeper level of your nature than the loquacious level which rationalism inhabits. Your whole subconscious life … [has] prepared the premise, of which your consciousness now feels the weight of the result. And something in you absolutely knows that the result must be truer than any logic-chopping rationalistic talk, however clever, that may contradict it.” [William James]
It easy to forget, with all this talk of expert intuitives, verification and evidence, that the primary and most directly valuable application of intuition lies in its integration into one’s personal life. Intuition plays a crucial role in how one grows in mind in parallel with growth in body. This “application” supplies not only factual information to help solve one’s daily problems, similar to the practical applications already discussed, but it also provides the inner and less specific knowledge that enables one to recognize and understand his relationships, his selfhood, his identity, his purpose in life and his place in the greater world of which he is a part. His intuition reveals to him how he may draw more fully upon these built-in aspects of himself and function more happily and effectively as a human being.
This self-enhancement is possible because his intuition supplies the hidden communication link between his waking, thinking and conscious mind, on one hand, and his invisible, non-material and mostly unconscious core self, essence or “soul,” the Higher Self that is continually growing and developing and mysteriously directing the entire drama of one’s life, on the other. By bridging outer and inner, intuition induces the two parts to cooperate and support one another, instead of allowing their common disassociation. This shortcoming plagues almost every Western person to some degree and leads to the occasional state in which he becomes two separate and often divergent beings trying to coexist within the same mind.
The opportunity being set before you now does not require that you become an expert intuitive, though this is one option, but rather that you orient your attention to an on-going awareness of this inner-outer growth process and deliberately take charge of it, rather than letting yourself develop unconsciously through default, accident and circumstance. For most persons it’s an awakening to a new and fresh kind of living.
When you choose this way of being you release almost automatically your natural intuitive capacity to guide you in how the development proceeds. It becomes more and more proactive and harmonious as this inner knowing faculty takes on the space given it in your consciousness. Its effect is not just sporadical for a few minutes every morning, or in rare serendipitous moments or times of particular need, but continuously in every thought, choice and deed, even in your sleep. Can you envision living your life in this enhanced, more fulfilling and aware way, even before you actually begin it?
Embarking on an Intuitive Life
The good news, if you are still uncertain, is that this awakening and change in lifestyle is not inherently difficult but is ready to fall into place when you are ready. This means that you do not have to create it from scratch but only allow its emergence and manifestation, which is infinitely easier. It’s not wrong to say you were “programmed” for it from your very beginning, simply because it is everyone’s natural human opportunity even though few choose to take advantage of it.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s try to understand how it works to achieve the promised results.
You have already been reminded in preceding pages that intuition is the inspirational and informational resource that underlies and informs all conscious mental activity, and some of the subconscious and the unconscious domains as well. That is, intuition is the enabling agent in thought, imagination, creativity, communication and some cognition and outer expression. It also facilitates compassion, empathy and selfless giving. It nourishes relationships of all kinds, letting the best ones emerge and evolve as gracefully as they do. Moreover, intuition is your personal link to your cosmic origin: where you came from and why, your root identity, who you really are, to your changing personality and life purpose, whatever you perceive them to be any given time. Your in-born intuition can therefore be said to be your greatest inner attribute, since it participates so essentially in your very humanity, in your uniqueness and how you choose to live your life.
Rather few humans have allowed their intuition to expand to the upper limit of this possibility, though examples from both past and present testify that a minority have achieved it. This statistic that tells us that it is humanly possible and not confined to one particular type of individual, culture or time period. Moreover, countless numbers have harnessed this potential enough to have reaped proportional benefits. As you win these changes for yourself you may rightly expect them to impact in turn your attitude, outer behavior and other accomplishments, thereby raising them to a more fulfilling level through the positive feedback.
If you have not been aware of this ever-present potential in your life, then it is high time to learn about it and see if you want to take advantage of it. Rest assured: it has not disappeared into the void while your attention was diverted elsewhere. It still awaits recognition and personal application.
A Solo Experience
“We have here … a whole new way of thinking and feeling, a flexible and open way of perceiving reality that is not based on certainty or security.” [Pema Chödrön]
It will help to come to know more about how this process works, first so that you may better understand that these acclaimed results are real and actual, not just a list of optimistic claims, and second to learn how to start manifesting them for yourself through selective intention, commitment and personal choices that will lead you in your desired direction.
The informational step of this personal application is covered in detail in this website: the various salient properties of intuition, how it has been practiced and experienced by expert intuitives and others and how it has been actually employed by those who practice it. Other resources can also be drawn upon to fill out and reinforce these descriptions and broaden the base of available know-how about the intuitive faculty itself.
The next step is not informational but a individual experience, not much different than learning any inherent, non-intellectual skill—be it walking, speaking, drawing, singing, swimming, interacting socially—which almost every child and growing person must do. Classes, teachers, exercises and practices can be helpful so long as you realize that the central task is yours alone: no one else can do it for you. A few such aids for the experience of intuition were described under intuition development. You may also benefit from an intuitive counseling session, which can provide personalized guidance to help you open your intuitive gate and set a suitable goal for what you feel is possible for yourself.
But what are the elements of this individual experience?
Integration and Sensitization
Your general approach must be one of integrating your innate direct knowing capacity into each and every facet of directly mind-based activity in which you ordinarily engage. This includes solving problems, interacting with others in relationships, looking for creative ideas, making practical decisions (small and large), interpreting events for personal significance, serving others, envisioning future events and even in dreaming while you sleep. All of these activities involve the use of your inner mind to perceive normally unconscious “information” along with familiar and conscious perception. You must learn now how to access these unconscious signals and clues from the inner mind, and gradually do so consciously so you may come to trust them and incorporate them into your way of relating to the external world.
This stage is essentially one of sensitizing yourself to your neglected intuitive faculty by exercising it actively for each of these mental activities, one by one in turn (those just listed and more), which are already familiar to you but may be lacking full intuitive participation. For each you may ask yourself, “What have I been missing here that is important?” Your ready mind tools for this sensitivity practice are your feelings, your imagination, an attitude of openness and your receptivity. You may use your imagination, for example, to suppose that the importance of an attribute is much greater than it appears to be from your present limited perspective (and it surely is). Your openness may be tested by a self-inquiry, “Am I ready to hear anything, the best or the worst?” Your feelings, being closest to the surface of awareness, call for a full breath of honesty to avoid denying or distorting them. This honesty may become your best friend. Eagerness? Do you really want to know more, or are you content in your private world of ignorance and apparent security?
You may choose to call this process remembering, which is how some who have broken through suddenly say they experience this broadened inner state of mind. Expert intuitives say much the same about their regular practice: a question is asked, and the answer comes into their mind, no different than if I asked you what you had for breakfast this morning and you immediately know. What else might you call such an emergence into your mind of a piece of information which is already there, but to which no attention was being paid? You may rightly assume that intuitive information is also already present.
The most common obstacles to this reception practice are (1) an overactive intellect (which is always looking for reasons); (2) unregulated emotions, (which can run your mind for you); (3) an excessively strong ego (which may need a dose of humility); and (4) a fear of what you think might emerge as parts of your unconscious mind are opened up. Do you believe that your unconscious is really so alien and dangerous? These four liabilities are not the equal for everyone, of course, so they can be addressed and must be dealt with only individually, not by prescribed formulas and techniques.
Don’t forget: you are not creating intuitive insight but are allowing it its natural space in your mind. It naturally seeks to fill in gaps in your psyche that have never been sufficiently “intuitionized,” and it may replace portions previously so overwhelmed by intellectual or emotional interference, as just noted, that the intuitive function has been suppressed. Either way, you must now give permission for a reallocation of your mind space to permit the deeper intuitive knowledge to be accessible and become more active.
These inner intuitional processes are difficult to discuss explicitly in our highly factual Western languages. While sometimes acknowledged and even encouraged in books, school classes and training programs, they are too personal and experiential to be taught effectively through these aids, as you can probably detect from the clumsy description above. They are better demonstrated through example, which occurs naturally in childhood and later in the most intimate relationships. Otherwise you must learn them through deliberate intention and practice, as I am proposing here. For most of us, this acquisition is unfortunately slow because it seems to take time to gradually clear the space. And it requires some conscious “effort” despite its natural reception at other times. Two analogies may help.
Intuition and Love
Living an intuitive life has much in common with being in love, which is also an undoubtedly worthy aspect of life. Both intuition and love require the actual, individual and lived experience of it—nothing vicarious will do. When either occurs it overrides all preparatory learning and education and takes center stage—no substitutes are possible.
Both intuition and loving are unique, dynamic and parallel processes of personal change and growth, among other attributes, and not static states of being. If you are familiar with one, the other comes more easily. Moreover, you never have to chose between the two because they are mutually supportive, not contradictory. They share a common cosmic root, coming from the same ultimate source as does the rest of your on-going inner nourishment, whatever you choose to call it.
Intuition and Truth
Also in a complementary way, your intuition is your direct and ultimate connection to truth. Intuitive information may become faulty after it passes through your or someone else’s subconscious mind before it reaches your consciousness, and even then you may deny, neglect or distort it. But expert intuitives agree: dig just a little deeper, cut through the “noise” or deception and you will reach its genuine, trustworthy source, for intuition does not lie. It can become your reliable channel to inspiration and motivation, not only for day-to-day factual information but for the deep knowledge you need to follow your path and fulfill yourself as a human being.
Intuition, Service and Self-knowledge
It’s fair to say too that intuitive knowing is behind all unselfish action. It is the informing agent for leadership and the enabler of the “urge to merge” with other human beings in a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and collective endeavor. Intuition serves equally in your personal relationships, which are your main growing ground and the area where you are learning how to love ever more unconditionally. Finally, intuition invites you into a state of internal peace, so that you may participate with the external world instead of finding obstacles and opposition at every turn.
These promises are sound because intuition is your prime inner link to your true identity, your essence or soul and therefore your individual life purpose. It is what allows you to acquire all the knowledge and understanding you need to live fully and fruitfully as a human being. Intuitive knowing therefore dwarfs all modern, civilized, scientific and philosophic attempts to gain this deeper knowledge and understanding by rational and intellectual means and arduous trial-and-error experiences. Armed with a well developed intuition you are free to go directly to this source within you, draw from it what you want and need, and reap the benefits thereof.
The Perennial Philosophy
“Intuition is disturbing. She does not believe in guarantees or insurance or schedules. She is not interested in how well you write your grant proposal, or what you do for a living, or why you are too busy to see her. She will be there when you need her, but you have to take her on trust. Surrender! She knows when you need her better than you do.”
It can be helpful as you tread this path toward greater understanding and awareness to have at hand a simple affirmation or guiding philosophy to return to from time to time and “stay on track.” This is just as religious persons do as they hold to the aphorisms of their bibles, as nervous graduates do when showing up for their final oral exam, and as soldiers do as they march in discipline and chant their allegiance to battle objectives. Spiritual practices, including intuition, can also benefit from a little ritualistic review and inspirational reenforcement.
It can be difficult to find a simple statement of personal philosophy that is without a sense of externally imposed “duty” and free of someone else’s persuasions. One option is to examine what the age-old wisdom teachers have to say about the most central core knowledge that has emerged from their intentional, deep and long maintained intuitive practices (meditation, prayer, contemplation, etc.).
It is not difficult to learn what these ancient and honored teachers have to say about the inner nature of human life and how one may to find his natural place in it. Modern attempts, beginning centuries ago, have sought to bring these teachings together and create a consensus of what has been found. These pursuits have come up with a simple set of truths which are the core principles shared by all of man’s major religions and philosophies. They have been separated them from the doctrines, creeds, ritual elements and worldly practices. “The universal truth which lives at the heart of each religion has been rediscovered in each epoch by saints, sages, prophets, and philosophers.”
Different names and formulations have been put forward for this consensus, especially since the sixteenth century. (Huxley 1945, Smith 1992, Sotillos 2013), and they are not without controversy from quarters which disdain universals and prefer their own creeds. A modern uncompromised formulation of this hard won wisdom, stated simply, concisely and without explanations or defenses, can be found in the Perennial Philosophy. Its four principles can be expressed like this:
- There are two realms of reality: the familiar everyday realm of physical objects and living creatures (first realm), and a more subtle and profound realm of consciousness, mind and spirit (second realm). The latter is timeless, spaceless, immaterial and not perceivable by the senses or the instruments of science. It embraces the first realm entirely, and is the source of it.
- Human beings partake of both realms. We are not only physical beings but also spiritual beings, intimately linked to the second realm. We have, at the core of our being, in the depths of our minds and souls, a center of transcendent awareness, which is the sacred ground and foundation of all that exists.
- Human beings have the inherent capacity to recognize this sacred ground of being. Each one of us can test for himself the validity of this profound connection by directly experiencing it. When the mind is still and clear one can contact this greater “Self.” Such is the original purpose of all spiritual and religious practices.
- Realizing this spiritual nature is the highest goal and greatest good of human existence. This conclusion is a testimony of the rich experience of those who have tasted these fruits for themselves. Recognition of this goal is at the heart of all the great religions and philosophies. They are here to help us discover our inner Selves, and our true relationship with the second realm.
You will recognize in the third principle the universal capacity and potential of clear minded intuitive experience. The fourth principle expresses the highest value and the rewards of accepting and actualizing this potential.
Much has been written about the Perennial Philosophy, its evolution and history and how anyone (you too) may find an acceptable personal center and focus within which he may enhance his personal connection with the second realm. You too are invited to do the same.
“Every one of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, known as intuition, . . . is the only faculty by means of which men and things are seen in their true colors. It is an instinct of the soul, which grows in us in proportion to the use we make of it . . . .[It] awakens the spiritual senses in us and the power to act.” [Blavatsky]
- Blavatsky, Helena P. (1877, 2013). Isis Unveiled, Vol. I & II. (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House)
- Chödrön, Pema (2010). Everybody Loves Something. Shambhala Sun (March 1998); http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/blog/2010/Mar/23/everybody-loves-something-pema-chodron/
- Huxley Aldous (1945). The Perennial Philosophy. (New York: Harper)
- James, William (1958). The Reality of the Unseen. In The Varieties Of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature, Chapter 3, (Macmillan); http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/WJAMES/ch03.html
- Smith, Huston (1992). Forgotten Truth: The Common Vision of the World’s Religions. (New York: Harper).
- Sotillos, Samuel Bedeck (2013). Psychology and the Perennial Philosophy: Studies in Comparative Religion (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom).
- William James, 1958, p. 72. ↑
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy ↑
- Blavatsky, p. 433-436