Let’s start by remembering that intuition is a natural part of who we are; always has been, always will be. It isn’t something that we choose. We are born with it – even the cynics, sceptics, and doubters. And, whether or not we believe in or are open to anything other than science, we will still have intuitive experiences – but call them coincidences. Which doesn’t really matter; after all, what’s in a name?
We are wired to be intuitive; it is a vital part of our survival kit. However, despite our so-called enlightened and modern age, it remains massively misunderstood and is often ridiculously misrepresented. There are two main ‘enemies’: mainstream science and the airy-fairies. The first has traditionally done its very best to kill the idea that intuition exists, and has created in people a fear of being seen as woo-woo and weird. The second has hijacked it to satisfy a desperate need for attention and validation, discouraging ‘normal’, grounded people from becoming involved. And, on top of that, the first group gleefully presents the second group as proof of what happens when you are naive and deluded enough to ‘believe’! It is a shame, but, in cosmic terms, we are still the new kids on the block. We just have to accept that it’s still going to be a very long time before intuition is considered ‘normal’ and utilised in everyday life. Luckily, millions (possibly billions) of human beings are brave enough to make their own minds up and are exploring the role that intuition plays in everyday life.
Having said that, do we always listen? There was an occasion on which I was at the supermarket, and suddenly found myself drawn to the aisle where the light bulbs live. I almost went down there, but, deciding that it was boring, moved on. That night, a light bulb blew, and I didn’t have any spares. Damn it.
There was another time when I was walking up the stairs and the thought that I should check the electricity meter popped into my mind. We had one of those pay-as-you-go set-ups, in which you took the key to the shop and paid for it to be topped up, before inserting it back into the meter. I had no idea how much credit was available, but shrugged the thought off, thinking, “oh, I’ll just take a look later, when I’ve finished what I’m doing”. Moments later, the power went off, much to the disgust of the children who had all been engrossed in their computer games. Oops, sorry!
You have no idea how many times I have done this kind of stuff. I am always saying, “oh dear, I did think about buying this or doing that… but, for some reason, I just didn’t!” And you have no idea how many times the family has said, “Mum, why do you keep doing that? Why don’t you listen to yourself?” And I have no answer!
Of course, these are not examples of serious intuitive flashes; nevertheless, intuitive flashes they are. We all have them, and I bet we all ignore them, too. All of a sudden, out of the blue, we might think about or taste something… say, for example, jam. We think, “what was that all about?” and get on with our day. And then, later on at home, someone asks for jam on toast – and we discover that there is only a teaspoonful left in the jar. We think, “oh, isn’t that odd? I thought about jam today. Shame, I could have bought some on the way home!”
I was once driving along a road, and, as I approached a bend, a Pet Shop Boys song suddenly drifted across my mind. As soon as the road straightened out, I noticed a large sign saying, “pet shop now open”, in front of a store that had previously been a computer shop (I had no idea that it had changed hands).
None of us are immune to this form of intuition and we don’t tend to take it too seriously. It just is. What we are forgetting (or haven’t realised) is that it is only the merest tip of an immeasurable iceberg. From tiny acorns spring forth mighty oaks (think about it: all of the strength and stature of an oak tree, inside of a wee, small nut!). The more open we are to these droplets, the more we notice them, which in turn increases the flow. We aren’t going to build our entire lives around these intuitive little flashes, but they are, at least, a starting point.
Another example would be when we suddenly think about someone we haven’t seen or heard from in years, only to bump into them on the street, or receive a text or phone call. Or, when we realise that we are humming a random tune, only to turn on the radio and hear it playing. I believe that our intuitive mind is always one step ahead of us, continuously transmitting through thought, sight, sound, and feeling. Mine was flowing ahead of me as I rounded that bend, sharing its observations through the medium of song. It was ahead of me even before I went shopping, knowing that I was going to need a lightbulb; if only it could have bought the bloody thing itself!
How about when we meet someone for the first time, and immediately ‘sense’ something about them? We might instantly warm to them… or, we might feel inexplicably repelled by them. We need to be a little careful with this one, and about trusting our initial assessment. It isn’t always intuition at play, and we have all been unconsciously influenced or triggered by association, rather than gut instinct. A friend of a friend, a man whose company I was in maybe half a dozen times, was always cool and offhand with me, and I could never figure out why. I hadn’t done anything to him, and we hadn’t disagreed or fallen out. However, the mystery was finally solved one day when he commented that I reminded him of his ex-wife (of whom he wasn’t very fond!) I myself have been drawn to people because they look like someone I like and admire, and I have made judgements against others because I unfairly associate them with negative experiences in my life. I have seen friends do the same thing, and I have heard too many critical individuals making unpleasant, snap judgements about others, claiming it to be ‘instinct’! It is a tricky one, but I think that it is possible to be able to differentiate between negative/positive association and actual intuitive prompting. Given time, I have definitely changed my negative beliefs about some people. I have also had to rethink my initial positive assessment of a few who turned out to be complete s**ts! However, there are times when that instant, uneasy sense just cannot be shaken off or ignored, and we end up being proved entirely right – sometimes too late. The best thing to do, I think, is to sit with our feelings for a while, and be honest with ourselves. Is something personal going on, where our initial impressions about a person we have just met are concerned – or, is what we are experiencing a genuine intuitive insight? Remember: wise souls respond to life; unwise souls react!
Intuition is as old as life itself; it is a tool in our survival kit, and all sentient beings possess it to one degree or another. I imagine that early man (and woman, before people write in!) relied heavily upon instinct, given that so much was still unknown. We all have within us an alarm that will sometimes sound, warning us of forthcoming trouble (I say sometimes because either it doesn’t always work, or we ourselves tend not to hear it). One evening I dropped my youngest daughter off at work, and, instead of reversing and going back the way I came, I decided instead to follow the narrow, bendy road I was on. As I pulled away, I experienced a sudden sinking feeling – and I knew that it was a warning. But hey, why listen to your nagging gut when you can simply ignore it? I carried on, and as I rounded the bend, I saw that an ambulance was blocking the road ahead. “Aha,” I thought. “So that’s what that was about!” I looked around to find a space to reverse into and spotted an opening that led on to a small, rough patch of land. “That’ll do”, I said and eased into it. I suddenly became aware that a guy in a white van had pulled up on my left and was waiting to turn in; I gave a little wave of thanks and drove around him… and he slammed his hand on the horn, leaving it there for seconds. Now, the sensible thing would have been to ignore him and go about my business. But instead, I reacted. I stopped dead, opened my window, and asked, “what’s the problem?” The driver immediately launched into a tirade, and it became clear that he was furious that he’d had to wait for me to get out of his way. Not only that, he accused me of not even thanking him. Now, I was incensed – I always acknowledge other drivers, and I told him that I certainly had done; he called me a liar and swore at me, and I swore back (it definitely wasn’t my finest hour) – and his sneering response was, “what’s the matter love – going through the menopause?” That was the point at which I told him that he was a pig of a man, and we parted company. I remained angry for days, mostly at myself for becoming involved in such an unpleasant exchange. And for behaving so badly. Clearly, he had triggered something within me, but still, there was no excuse. I recognised that the intuitive warning had had nothing at all to do with the ambulance: it was all about white-van-man and the argument I’d get myself into. Sheesh.
So, you can see how intuition weaves its way through our everyday lives, but also how oblivious to it we can be. We tend to think that it should be grander or more dramatic. However, the more attention we pay to the occasional whisperings, the louder and more abundant they become. We don’t have to make a song and dance about it all; we can simply recognise it, and, where necessary, learn from it. In the meantime, let’s spare a thought for our patience-of-a-saint intuitive selves – forever talking but often ignored!