How Intuition Works: Ways to Develop Your Intuition

Roulette Wheel
Roulette Wheel | Source

We often use the word "intuition" in order to signify something indefinite, illogical. For millions of years human beings have relied exclusively on their intuition. The very survival depended on a well-developed intuition for a very long time. Nowadays, intuition still plays a very important role.

Most of the knowledge brought to us by philosophy, art, science is acquired intuitively. Creation of an artwork, understanding its meaning, a pathway to any discovery and invention, anything new, understanding an idea and a law of nature require not only the knowledge of facts and theory, science or esthetics. Transmitting the spirit, the essence and the power of an idea that we are trying to incarnate in any kind of form is vital. It is difficult to formulate this spirit or to explain it with words.

What Intuition Is

Intuition is the way through which our heart and soul talk to our consciousness. It goes far beyond logic and common sense. Human intuition uses images, symbols, metaphors, archetypes, extraordinary ways and forms accumulated throughout human history. That is why intuition is a much richer way of cognition than any other way familiar to us.

Logic is a limited instrument of our consciousness. It is only an instrument of thinking, not the thinking itself. It can analyze information but it cannot create any new knowledge. It is responsible for the correctness of judgements but it cannot see the truth beyond them.

The fact is, it is impossible to think in a fully logical, rational way. This means that there should be some recognition of the truth before we can actually analyze things. This capacity to recognize the truth even before putting it to words was called "intuition" since Ancient Times. In Latin, intuition means "looking attentively".

Human intuition uses images, symbols, metaphors, archetypes, extraordinary ways and forms accumulated throughout human history
Human intuition uses images, symbols, metaphors, archetypes, extraordinary ways and forms accumulated throughout human history | Source

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Difference Between Intuition and Rational Thinking

Where the thinking mind works step by step, gradually coming to the conclusion, intuition works like a flash, or a lightning. It does not require explanations, nor does it rely on reasoning. Intuitive thinking works in a hidden way, naturally. It is not as tiresome as logical thinking that requires some effort.

As soon as we stop thinking and start to trust our intuition, we plunge into a chaos of inner states, unclear emotions and premonitions, images and symbols.

On the contrary, if our brain works in a logical, aware state, it loses the connection with intuition.

Thanks to intuition we can imagine the whole picture of reality. We can foretell the events that are going to take place. We can understand where the drama leads even though its participants are not aware of it. But we will have difficulty wording this picture, nor will we be able to explain how we got the clue of what is happening except for, maybe, our life experience.

According to American psychotherapist Eric Bern, "intuition undermines that we know something without knowing how we learned it."

Psychologists have a vague idea of how intuition works and especially how they can study it. Most of the time they use the term "insight".

Creation of an artwork, understanding its meaning, a pathway to any discovery and invention, anything new, understanding an idea and a law of nature require not only the knowledge of facts and theory, science or esthetics.
Creation of an artwork, understanding its meaning, a pathway to any discovery and invention, anything new, understanding an idea and a law of nature require not only the knowledge of facts and theory, science or esthetics. | Source

Intuition: Theories of the Present and the Past

Many contemporary psychologists think that the source of intuition can be found in the subconsciousness. To be more precise, in its interaction with our conscious mind. Investigations prove this theory. When intuition reveals itself, it works with premonitions, archetypes, symbols. It is not by chance that intuitive foresights take place in dreams, in a drowse, or while daydreaming.

When human intuition works well, then we are able to capture subconscious information in a very subtle way: by intonation, mimics, gestures, eye expressions, even if nothing is said. Most of this information does not fall into the field of our attention but we capture it intuitively and we can form a very special kind of intuitive experience. This experience is acquired despite our will and wish, and it cannot be revealed intentionally. But it does have an essential impact on our behaviour. Intuitive experience determines the path of thinking.

Ancient philosophers, Socrates and Plato, for example, had a deeper understanding of what intuition is. They perceived it as an integral human capacity to a whole, complete cognition of the truth in its different aspects: the Past, the Present and the Future, Life and Death, Evolution, Space and Time, Eternity, the Visible and the Invisible, Archetype and Form, Spiritual and Material. When it comes to intuitive experience, it is not only about external things that penetrate subconsciousness, but also the ability to recognize, to remember. It is about the experience of the eternal soul, that it has accumulated during a long sequel of incarnations. It is also about the capacity to capture ideas-archetypes, the possibility to transcend the material world, and penetrate the world of ideas. This integral quality has not been developed well enough yet.

Roman replica from the 1st century AD of a Greek portrait of Socrates.
Roman replica from the 1st century AD of a Greek portrait of Socrates. | Source

Four Stages of Creative Thinking

In 1926 English scientist Graham Wallas suggested a scheme of creative thinking that later on became famous. Wallas distinguished four stages in this process:

  1. Preparation. It includes the collection of the necessary information about a problem, conscious searching of its solution and thinking. Philosophical experience reveals it in a different way: we need time to fail, to think about the problem, time to try...
  2. Incubation. During this period the problem is being worked on. It appears that nothing is happening. But it's only on the surface. In reality, a deep subconscious work is taking place when it comes to the search of the solution to the problem. Philosophical approach teaches us that when we put a grain into the earth, we should not dig it out, thus letting it grow.
  3. Enlightenment. Discovery, inspiration, insight. It always comes up unexpectedly, suddenly and like a lightning. The decision is born symbolically, image-like, wordless.
  4. Check-up. The image can now be worded, thoughts are logically organized, the discovery is scientifically explained.

The moment of insight is the culmination of a creative intuitive process. Till now it stays mysterious, subtle, mystical.

Fast musical notes on a music sheet
Fast musical notes on a music sheet | Source

How to Awaken and Develop Intuition

Insight is always the result of inner subconscious work. There are some steps to follow to awaken and develop your intuition.

  1. Elevate consciousness. Do not let your mind get stuck in small routine problems. Find some time every day to elevate thinking. Avoid unnecessary thoughts, emotions and annoying things.
  2. Learn not to think at important moments. Intuition starts working when logical thinking stops. We do need logic, but in its time.
  3. Remove stereotypes. Try to think differently and in a new way about something you already know. Put creativity into every action.
  4. Do not stay passive. Act and be initiative. When you have a question, do everything to find an answer by yourself.

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Comments 10 comments

sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 3 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Enjoyed this very much. I'll check your other hubs and profile and follow you along. Thanks.


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 3 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Oops, I'm already following you, but I haven't seen anything come across my feed in a while. Thanks again for the depth of your thought.


sarahshuihan profile image

sarahshuihan 3 years ago from USA

Great hub! Voted up and sharing :)


brownella profile image

brownella 3 years ago from New England

Really interesting subject, it reminded me of the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. If you haven't read it give it a try, it sounds like something you'd enjoy.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

love reading your hub, Awesome article about getting to know my intuition. Mine is always misleading. My heart and soul isn't well-combined. What i see isn't what i wanted.


avorodisa profile image

avorodisa 3 years ago from Russia Author

Thank you for the interesting comments to everybody! Special thanks to brownella for the advice.

peachpurple, don't you think there is difference between desire and intuition?


articles4art profile image

articles4art 3 years ago from USA

Nice article! Definatly will try to know my intuition.


avorodisa profile image

avorodisa 3 years ago from Russia Author

articles4art, thank you for your interest in this subject!


Valleypoet 3 years ago

I believe that intuition is a feature (not sure if that is the right word) of the subconscious mind, and I think the more you practice using it, the better, or more effective it will become. In our modern world we seem to rely on it less as we use reasoning and logic more in our daily lives. I have encountered it many times, particularly when it comes to a phone call, thinking of that person moments before they call you...thank you for writing on this fascinating subject :-))


avorodisa profile image

avorodisa 3 years ago from Russia Author

Valleypoet, believe it or not, the before-call premonition happens to me also! I do agree that our world (especially West) relies much more on rationality than irrational thinking. This must be something culturally conditioned. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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