We often think of intuition as some mysterious wisdom that arises inside ourselves, though we can’t say exactly where it is located. Does it live in your mind, or does it arise in your heart? Many people would say it’s a gut feeling as well and I go for all three. But I’ve noticed that intuition is not just inside ourselves. So often an external event will trigger that creative aha moment when something that has been confusing becomes clear or something calls your attention in a new direction.
For example, I had been torturing myself over the subtitle of my book. In the process, I asked all my friends, took polls on Facebook, opened the Thesaurus to find other words for search, quest, mystery, etc. Then a friend suggested Making Peace with a Forgotten Past. I didn’t use that exact wording, but all week I was struggling with the theme of the Afterword, and when I saw her email, I knew that was it. Suddenly all my random, chaotic thoughts fell into place around the theme of “making peace” and I knew how to finish the very last segment of the manuscript. Her comment focused my intuition.
Carl Jung said that what is unconscious often comes to us from outside, as if by chance. Taking some liberty with interpreting his words, you are walking down the street and you see someone who looks just like your old friend and you suddenly realize that it’s been way too long and you run home and call her. Or you are trying to make a decision about a trip to New York, and you pass a store window with a photo of the statue of liberty and you know it’s the right time. These are silly examples, but these outside cues really happen all the time, if you choose to notice them.
For me the great miracle of intuition is that your thoughts can be all jumbled, then it’s as though a breeze blows through and clears the air, and what was so chaotic becomes clear, becomes obvious. The whole process of writing my book has been like that. I wondered how I would ever make sense out of so many disparate details that occupied different periods of time and didn’t always follow a logical sequence. But I had to be willing to stay with my own doubt and confusion and not give up. I had to trust that intuition would be my companion and I had the willingness to go over the chapters again and again, and again, and listen to the feedback of critics, and trust my head-heart-gut sense to prevail in the end.
Intuition comes when you pay attention to your external and internal experience. Breathing in, breathing out, what do you notice? How does life speak to you – through images, sounds, the words of a friend, a song on the radio (that’s often a good one)? Tell us how you count on your intuition.