Issue No. 14
What is Intuition?
Table of Contents
- Why Important
- What is not intuition
- Nature of Intuition
- Two types of intuition
- Applications of intuition
I. Why Important
Intuition is the capacity to perceive or know things directly without the use
of the logical mind. It can assess a situation correctly better than the mind.
Hence it is a very valuable faculty for understanding things and in decision-
making. Pure intuition is also the gateway to spirituality. The development of
intuition is the next step in human maturity.
II. What is not intuition
Intuition is not the same as extrasensory perception (ESP), although intuition
may make use of ESP. A person who experiences ESP, telepathy, or clairvoyance
is not necessarily intuitive. Some animals have ESP but we cannot speak of
them as intuitive at all. ESP is but the extension of sensory perceptions,
whereas intuition is a deeper level of consciousness, superior to the thinking
III. Nature of Intuition
To better understand intuition, we must realize that each individual has many
levels of consciousness, starting from the physical body, emotional nature,
mental nature, etc. Intuition is a faculty of perception that is beyond the
body, the emotions and the mind. It resides in a level of consciousness that
is called by several terms: intuitive consciousness, spiritual consciousness,
buddhic consciousness, etc. It is clear and active in some people, but not
Carl Jung: "Intuition as I conceive it is one of the basic functions of the
psyche, namely perception of the possibilities inherent in a situation.
IV. Two types of intuition
- Pure intuition: This is perception of an essence, a principle or
a truth in the spiritual plane and is essentially inexpressible through
words or descriptions. Pure intuition is in itself a spiritual
- Applied intuition: This is the application of intuition on the
concerns of the personality, whether in relationships, profession,
science, art, etc. Intuition can assess the information gathered by the
senses, feelings and thoughts, and integrate them to arrive at a wiser
and faster decision or conclusion.
V. Applications of intuition
- In Assessing Situations for Decision Making
Intuition is a very valuable faculty in making major decisions in life,
such as in deciding to:
- Migrate or transfer new residence: One feels whether it is right to
migrate or to buy a particular house.
- Entering into partnerships or in deciding whom to marry.
- Undertaking long-term projects: intuition can assess whether it is
worth the long investment of time or not.
- Making evaluations (such as interviewing applicants, or when a judge
decides a case). Example: Cardozo.
- Accepting or rejecting opportunities in life: such as promotion,
- Others (such as Aquino's return and Gandhi's salt march)
Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winner in medicine: "All great men are
endowed with intuition. They know, without analysis, without
reasoning, what is important for them to know. A true leader of men
does not need psychological tests, or reference cards, when choosing
his subordinates. A good judge, without going into the details of
legal arguments, and even, according to Cardozo, starting from
erroneous premises, is capable of rendering a just sentence. A great
scientist instinctively takes the path leading to a discovery."
(Man, the Unknown)
- In Interpersonal Relationship
Intuition helps us understand another person deeply, beyond the surface
behavior and expressions of other people. We feel or sense whether a
person is deeply troubled, or whether the person is not being truthful.
Some doctors are able to diagnose correctly even without physical tests.
Example: Eric Berne.
- In Understanding Deeper Natural Principles
Logic has its limitations. In understanding deeper principles, intuition
is needed as a faculty that can synthesize. Discoveries in chemistry,
physics, and other fields have been attributed to intuition. Example:
Albert Einstein: "There are no logical paths to these laws, only
intuition resting on sympathetic understanding of experience
can reach them." John Maynard Keynes on Isaac Newton: "It was his
intuition which was preeminently extraordinary. So happy in his
conjectures that he seemed to know more than he could have possibly
any hope of proving. The proofs were dressed up afterwards; they
were not the instrument of discovery."
- In Understanding Spiritual Truths
Seeing deep truths in religion and spirituality requires insight that
transcends logical thinking. This includes such truths as compassion,
unity, religion vs. spirituality, etc.
Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."