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Faculty of intuition

Updated on July 3, 2015

No matter how deep a study you make. What you really have to rely on is your own intuition and when it comes down to it, you really don't know what's going to happen until you do it.

— - Konosuke Matsushita

Intuition is an innate ability to know something directly without analytical reasoning, facilitated by the unconscious parts of the mind. Intuition obliterates the gap between instinct and reason. Instinct is a sensation that appears in our consciousness without us being fully aware of the reasons for its occurrence. Normally, we need both instinct and reason to make the best possible decisions for ourselves, our businesses, and our families.

In actuality, we have a distinct advantage of both instinct and reason at our disposal. It rests totally on us how we take advantage of both of them and to what extent. Instinct is a faculty of unconscious part of the mind, whereas reason is dependent entirely on the conscious mind. Studies now show that only 20 percent of the brain's gray matter is dedicated to conscious thoughts, while 80 percent is dedicated to unconscious thoughts. Unconscious mind consists of processes that occur automatically and are not available to introspection. They include thought processes, memory, affect and motivation. Thus, unconscious mind can be a source of dreams or automatic thoughts that appear without any apparent cause, forgotten memories, and storage of implicit knowledge of things that we have learned but do them without thinking.

According to Sigmund Freud and his followers, mind can be divided into conscious mind (ego) and unconscious mind. The latter is then further divided into id (instincts or drive) and superego (conscience). Thus, the unconscious refers to the mental processes, of which we are not aware. Freud proposed a vertical hierarchical architecture of human consciousness: the conscious mind, the preconscious mind, and the unconscious mind, each lying beneath the other. The preconscious mind (or subconscious mind) contains thoughts and feelings that a person is not currently aware of, but which can easily be brought to consciousness.

Freud believed that significant intuitive events take place "below the surface" in the unconscious mind like hidden messages from the unconscious. He interpreted such events as having both symbolic and actual significance.

Normally, people experience intuition, which communicates the message either directly or indirectly.

  • Direct intuition – It means that the person knows exactly what the intuition is communicating. For example, a person has a dream in which his dead grandmother says, “Slow down in life, my son.” This is direct intuition communicating the exact message.
  • Indirect or symbolic intuition – It communicates the message indirectly. For example, a person is jogging on a running track quite fast and, after jogging for a long period, the person all of a sudden collapses down on the track. When the person wakes up, he will interpret the dream, which is communicating that he has been running quite fast in life, he needs to slow down lest he shall harm himself. In this dream, the person gets a symbolic image that communicates the message indirectly.

Intuition is sometimes referred to as inner guidance. Most of us have intuitive experiences in life, which we cannot notice so many times and are, therefore, deprived of benefit of their guidance. There are different ways people can experience intuitions as mentioned below –

  • Intuitive seeing – This experience is also called clairvoyant. People see the image of what will take place in near future with their intuitive eye. For example, an individual can see the image of the house, which one is going to buy.
  • Intuitive hearing – This experience is also called clairaudient. For example, a person driving a car will hear something as if someone is warning against a danger lurking ahead. The person heeds the warning and avoids running over a lady who suddenly appeared in front of his car from nowhere.
  • Intuitive feeling – This experience is also called clairsentient. People are likely to have strong sensations in their bodies, when they have such clairsentient experiences.
  • Intuitive tasting and smelling – Few people experience intuition as different tastes and smells, which can guide them to events that may take place in near future.

Characteristic of intuitive persons –

  • We all are connected to intuitions but we don’t pay attention to them. Highly intuitive persons pay attention to their inner voice rather than ignore their guidance.
  • They spend some time in solitude, which helps us connect to our deepest inner wisdom. In the middle of craziness of everyday life, one cannot recognize intuition.
  • In fact, creative people are highly intuitive. So, one can boost one’s sensitivity to intuitions by indulging more in creative work. Carla Wolf, an author, says - creativity does its best work when it functions intuitively.
  • Intuitive persons are highly observant. They closely notice when odd things happen. They have ability to sense co-incidences and surprising connections, thus taping into the faculty of intuition.
  • Such people have above average mindfulness. They are more willing to accommodate with others by being considerate to them. For example, they will move to the other side of the sidewalk so that someone can pass. They will give up their seat to a lady or an elderly when traveling in a bus.
  • They work well in a team setting because of their ability to sense the feelings of others. They also respond to needs of the team by extending full co-operation to the team members.
  • Highly intuitive people connect deeply with others because they seemingly have ability to assess someone’s mental state from their words, emotions, and body language. They are empathetic towards others. They can easily experience social emotions like guilt, shame, pride, embarrassment, disgust and lust by watching others. Reynold says - tuning into your own emotions, and spending time both observing and listening to others face-to-face can help boost your powers of empathy.
  • Such people mindfully let go of negative emotions; they cloud our intuition. Our intuition will fare better if we are able to mindfully accept and let go of negative emotions for the most part, rather than suppressing or dwelling on them. A 2003 study published in Psychological Science showed that being in a positive mood boosted the ability to make intuitive judgments in a word game.
  • Such people are not constantly busy; they don’t multitask and depend less on digital devices because these things stifle intuition. They also enjoy downtime instead of getting stressed, when their digital devices are not functional.
  • Highly intuitive people pay attention to their dreams. Both dreams and intuition spring from the unconscious mind. At night, when we dream, we receive information from the unconscious or intuitive mind. If a person can attune to the dreams, one can get lot of information about how to live life.

Highly intuitive people are a group of sensitive persons, who constitute about 15% to 20% of the population. Such people are calm, and care deeply for others; they are perceptive and extremely wise. Such people have a magical ability to take full advantage of their faculty of intuition. It is significantly known that people, who are not so sensitive to intuitions, can develop their faculty of intuition.


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    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Nadine for your valuable comments. I am looking forward to reading your article on Synesthesia.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you for that interesting article. I'm at the moment in between other jobs working on an article about Synesthesia, because I use this ability a lot in my novels, so your article was a great read.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks thumbi7 for reading my hub. If your connect more often with your inner self, you are more likely to have intuitions. Similarly if you are more mindful of things around you, you are more likely to find intuitive clues.

      Thanks Padmajah for finding my hub informative.

      Thanks HealthbyMartha for your nice comments.

      Thanks Dana for your comments and enjoying my hub.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I enjoyed this article as always. I also am a very intuitive person. I take no credit for this I believe it was given to me from the Creator to help with my ministry. He started out by showing me my own weaknesses and then healing me of them. The healing and humbleness which I experienced took away any judgement I may have felt for weaknesses in others. Its my opinion that people who lack empathy have many problems they have not dealt with. So therefore, they are unable to sympathize with anyone else. But as I said that's just my opinion. Excellent points. Voted up- useful and shared.

    • HealthbyMartha profile image

      Martha Montour 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I really enjoyed this article. You made some excellent points. I feel that I'm in that 20% of highly intuitive people, and only recently tapping into that vast potential. As you say, the more we lean in and "listen" to our inner knowing the more inner knowing that we have. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Padmajah Badri profile image

      Padmajah Badri 2 years ago from India

      Voted up.Informative article

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

      From your article what I understood is that you get more intuitions if you pay attention or if you look inward

      Thanks for sharing this

      Voted up and shared