Have you ever had a moment where you felt as though something wasn't right? Perhaps stepping into a parking lot late at night, or feeling negative around someone without knowing why? And if you've experienced this before, have you shrugged it off, dismissing it as illogical nonsense?
As a culture, we have learned to believe that rationality is what should prevail when making decisions about anything from crucial business mergers to what to eat for lunch. But what of that "inner voice", that gut feeling, that little something instinctual from within that tells us how we feel beneath those layers of logic?
Instinct and Intuition, as I define it, is this:
• Instinct is our innate inclination toward a particular behavior (as opposed to a learned response).
• A gut feeling—or a hunch—is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted on if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.
• Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.
In essence, we need both instinct and reason to make the best possible decisions for ourselves, our businesses, and our families. Unfortunately, many of us—even when we experience success using this lesser acknowledged part of us-are uncomfortable with the idea of using our instincts as a guidance tool. We are embarrassed to say that we follow hunches, we mistrust the sometimes-cryptic messages that our instincts send to us, and consequently we diminish our capacity to leverage the power of our own instincts when we need them most. Our discomfort with the idea of relying on our instincts is based on millennia of cultural prejudice...
We don't have to reject scientific logic in order to benefit from instinct. We can honor and call upon all of these tools, and we can seek balance. And by seeking this balance we will finally bring all of the resources of our braininto action. Until about a hundred years ago science wasn't even aware of the role of our unconscious, but studies now show that only 20 percent of the brain's gray matter is dedicated to conscious thoughts, while 80 percent is dedicated to nonconscious thoughts...
1 - Keep a journal. Writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper—even if you "think" you have little to say—helps the nonconscious mind open up. You may find you're writing words and phrases that don't make sense to you, or stir emotional responses rather than intellectual responses. When this happens, it leads to:
2 - Turn off Your Inner Critic. Often times we rationalize away those voices within. This time, listen without judgment. Allow the inner dialogues to happen without fear or ridicule.
3 - Find a Solitary Place. A place where you can allow emotions to flow freely is an imperative part of finding and retaining the building blocks of intuition. Here you may also want to create an emotional connection to an object, a color, a piece of music or literature - anything that will allow feelings to stir that are solely from within and do not carry intellectual or rational reasoning.
These three exercises will aid you in creating a new, deeper relationship with the self, help clarify that inner voice, and allow you to bring your true instinctual awareness back into your rational everyday life."