Many spiritual teachers will urge you to ease off of logical and analytical thinking and instead follow the voice of your intuition. Oftentimes, when you approach a problem with logical thinking you keep revolving around your own beliefs about what is possible and what is not. The solutions, the possible options, that occur to you will be limited by those beliefs. Your intuition represents a much broader perspective, one not hemmed in by limiting beliefs. Intuitive insights arise from a part of yourself that sees much more of the “bigger picture” than what you are consciously aware of in the moment. But how can you differentiate between the voice of your analytical mind and the voice of your deeper intuition?
First Thought You Hear
The Beat writers had a guiding philosophy for all their creative pursuits: “first thought, best thought”. Oftentimes, although it may not be expressed as dialogue in your mind, the voice of your intuition will be the first sensation you experience when you’re faced with a given situation. Intuition is quicker than rational thinking because it does not utilize consecutive, logical steps in order to arrive at its conclusions. It apprehends the nature of a situation at once and offers up its best advice in the form of a hunch, a feeling in your gut, a strong impulse to choose one route over another.
So how do you distinguish the voice of your intuition? To begin with you need to be quiet enough to hear. That inner voice is always there, but more often than not it’s drowned out. The ego thinks it has the answers, so it always has bigger priorities than to listen to an inner voice; it’s already got its marching orders, given to itself from itself.
When the Ego Runs Out of Options
Unfortunately, a lot of people need to feel really broken before they’re willing to give that voice of intuition a chance. They need to run the race the ego’s way and see it’s approaches exhausted, to no avail, before they’re willing to try another way. It was that way for me; and it wasn’t just a one-time cycle, either, but something I had to repeat again and again because whenever I felt like I was back on my feet again my ego asserted itself and its agenda and then there was all that chatter all over again, drowning out the deeper intuition.
Intuition is therefore more often felt rather than literally heard. The feeling of intuition is always distinct from the anxiety, urgency, pressure, and fear that often accompanies logical, goal-based thinking. Intuition is a calm and measured voice; it is never frantic. While your conscious thoughts may seem to constantly waver, vacillating as they weigh this option and that, your intuition will feel very clear and uncluttered. You may even experience it as an almost physical nudge, as if an invisible and supportive entity just tapped you on the shoulder.
An Ever-Present Voice
Some people say that they recognize when they’re hearing the voice of their intuition but that those moments are few and far between. Intuition is always communicating with you. What prevents you from recognizing its voice, in most cases, is the ongoing self-talk in your mind that drowns it out. Any practice that works to quiet your internal monologue, such as mediation or even just bringing your attention as much as possible into what you’re doing in the present moment, will clear some space in your mind for the voice of intuition to be more easily heard.
Recognizing the particular feeling of your own intuitional voices will become easier with practice. You’ll learn to distinguish the more grounded and centered presence of intuition from the wordy and busy activity of your logical mind. Both types of thinking have their value. Ideally, they should work together, logic tackling tasks that involve discernment and critical analysis and intuition providing a larger perspective when you’re considering your overall path in life and asking questions of a broader and more fundamental nature.
Ours is an age wherein the intellect finds itself more and more at the limits of its reaches. It can't navigate the jungle of modern life alone. It can't fully grapple with the complexity of its own creation.
There's nothing wrong with logical thinking. It's just that human intuition was always meant to uphold and support it. And our intuition also opens up to vast inner avenues that logic can't reach. It is this wellspring of wisdom and insight that holds the answers to the questions that most deeply concern our race now.
Our dreaming consciousness - which we can consider as being composed of the same 'stuff' as the 'world' of our intuition - is actually much more attuned to physical reality than our physically-oriented rational consciousness could ever dream of being. Pardon the pun.
And like our dreams, the voices of intuition ring more clearly, and we're more easily able to decipher their whispers, when we give them attention. Just making this inner world a priority can open us up to the recognition of both insights within us and meaningful coincidences outside of ourselves.
This is the lantern light with which we can take steps into the future, a future that will look very different from our past and even from our present.
Our survival necessitates this change, this step in our spiritual evolution. The more people who tune into and act upon the voices of their intuition, the more resolutions will emerge for the conflicts and crises that beset us.
- A Human Metamorphosis, by Saul Mason
From the novel Awaken to the Wilderness