Are intuition and instinct the same thing?
No, instinct is described as a natural drive that lets human beings and animals react on certain environmental stimuli without thinking. Instinctive behaviour is innateand serves primarilydanger avertingand survival. Often completely without cognitive control. It is an unconsciousdrive, also referred to as an innatemechanism of behavioural control. In everyday language, instinct is often confused with intuition, since both are a kind of automatic action which lets us do right things. Intuition, however, does not serve to avert acute danger, but opensup new ways and is therefore often associated with creativity. Intuitive action is often playful, sometimes daring, and then needs again instinct which saves us from danger.
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What exactly is intuition? Our sixth sense?
Albert Einstein said: ‘Intuition is a divine gift, the thinkingmind a faithful servant. It is paradox that nowadays we have startedto worship the servant and profane the divine gift’.
Intuition is by some scientists attributed to the potential of individual experience, which is tied rather to the functioning of our non-dominant brain hemisphere. In this context, Prof Gigerenzer speaks of gut-feeling- decision-making as the intelligence of the subconscious. A characteristic of intuitive decision making is for him that it cannot be substantiated. For him, the human will is symbolized by the triangle head, stomachand heart. This will, Gigerenzer says, is determined by the ratio and intuition, with courage helping to find the right way. Gottlieb Guntern describes intuition as a specific approach of perception and knowing, which works largely on a subconscious level and then suddenly, and mostly rather unexpectedly, hurls a specific, ready formed insightinto our conscious mind.
Ervin Laszlo goes beyond this understanding by speaking of an overarching field that connects the most elementary particles and processes. This field acts like an information storage and creative primal sourceof being, which is constantly interacting with all structures of matter, the aliveand the spiritual.
Swiss psychologistC.G. Jung speaks in this context of the ‘collective subconscious’, which represents a deeper layer of the psyche, supra-personal and of a general nature. Intuition is ultimately the basis for creativity and new inventions.
It is important to perceive intuition as such and separate it from wishes and desires, bias, emotions and fantasies. With the help of intuition, there is a possibility to grasp the increasing complexity and open up freedom of actionto make faster and better decisions.
How can I strengthen my intuition muscle?
The ability to recognize and use one’s intuition is based on a balanced level of body, mind and soul. When we live in harmony, we have better access to our intuition and do not confuse it with emotions or gut feelings. Techniques like meditation or other relaxation techniques can help us to feel our inner centreagain und to connect with the collective field. Also, looking at and contemplating pictures and images as well as the art of emphatic identification with objects, animals and human beings strengthens our ability to use intuition. When we do this successfully, we experience moments with sudden inspiration, new thoughts, ideas or solutions that appear before our inner eye and help us. Being present in the here and now is import and cannot be enforced. ‘Letting go’ needs to be practiced regularly. For example, through breathing exercises, connecting to nature and the conscious experiencing and recognizing of inner processes. Noise, stress, overfatigue and exhaustion are rather contra productive.
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Stomach brain, heart or right brain hemisphere – Where does our intuition live?
Goethe already said: ’As soon as man feels how the idea lives and operates within him, he will look at him and nature as a whole, and what appears to be subjective within him, is considered valid as objective at the same time; he knows he no longer faces nature as a stranger, but feels grown together with the whole of it. The objective is being completely permeated by the spirit.’
Following this insight, intuition is an inner experience, which originates from the soul and the heart, permeating the whole body and going beyond it. It is a feeling of being connected with one’s own and the cosmic field.
What can I do if I find it difficult to feel my intuition?
Every human being has intuition and intuition opens up particularly in moments when you are not looking for it. Peter Senge says about this: ‘You can’t be intuitive when trying to be right.’ This means, intellect and the cognitive mind need to step back so that intuition can be felt. It is another form of perception which can be trained, but needs to be practiced regularly. Too often one is distracted by external factors or one gets lost in trifle. Simply perceivewith patience the small things and reactions in your body and do not judge, but simply feel and become curious for what is to emerge. ‘The ambition does to intuition what the grain beetle does to the granary’ (Ram Dass). A good environment for experiencing intuition is for example being in nature or a quiet, pleasant space.
Can intuition make me more successful at work? How?
According to statistics, intuitive decisions account for only about 20%, although it has been scientifically proven that intuitive decisions are usually the right ones. True innovation rarely happens in front of the computer or in the work environment. Most people have their ‘flash of inspiration’ in the shower, while walking or pursuing other relaxing activities.Inner tranquillity, relaxation and being for yourself do not only support creative thinking but also help self-perception. Taking ‘time off’, in an environment which allows us to relax physically and mentally, lets us perceive our own potential and lets us make harmoniousdecisions which are in resonance with ourabilities and wishes. This helps greatly with your career.
Can intuition make me happier in my partnership? How?
Access to intuition opens a deeper understanding of our own experiencing and, in combination with our feelings and reason, also increases our creativity. It enables us to make spontaneous decisions without having to weigh the underlying context and allows us to subconsciously grasp the personality structure and emotions of ourselves and other people in the split of a second. In connection with the collective consciousness, unimagined potential opens up for a fulfilled and happy partnership, since there is no room for an ego. Intuition perceives and knowswithout judgements and understands without expectations.
- Take 5 minutes several times every day in which you set out not to think or do anything.
- Breath regularly, deep and evenly.
- Observe yourself and your own reactions without judgement.
- Write down once a day and without thinking what has moved you. Write in one go and flow.It does not have to make sense.
- Connect with nature once a day. This can be linked with the moments of mindfulness.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and notice the emotions which these thoughts evoke in you.
- Start every day with a positive thought and intention
- Try to identify and then avoid the basis of your judgement
- Be grateful for every moment of your life.
- Share your joy of life with others.
Come to our Wisdom Together conference in Munich 28th and 29th June 2019