Self-Transformation Series:
Issue No. 14

What is Intuition?

Table of Contents

  1. Why Important
  2. What is not intuition
  3. Nature of Intuition
  4. Two types of intuition
  5. 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 mind.

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 in others.

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

  1. 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 experience.

  2. 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

  1. In Assessing Situations for Decision Making
    Intuition is a very valuable faculty in making major decisions in life, such as in deciding to:
    1. Migrate or transfer new residence: One feels whether it is right to migrate or to buy a particular house.
    2. Entering into partnerships or in deciding whom to marry.
    3. Undertaking long-term projects: intuition can assess whether it is worth the long investment of time or not.
    4. Making evaluations (such as interviewing applicants, or when a judge decides a case). Example: Cardozo.
    5. Accepting or rejecting opportunities in life: such as promotion, travels, etc.
    6. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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: Einstein

    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."

  4. 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.

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Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines

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