Before moving on to that topic, I should say that in my opinion what we currently call intuition is little or not at all different from what used to be called ESP or extra-sensory perception. It is a bit safer and more politically correct, but it describes a very similar, though somewhat broader phenomenon; becoming aware of something without having any apparent logical source of that awareness. ESP is a bit more extreme in this sense, in that its definition specifically rules out ANY "normal" input whatsoever, whereas intuition can be based on input that is received through normal sensory means but comes in at such low levels of awareness that we are not conscious of it.
However, that is by way of definition and not the main focus of this article. (Though I have a fairly extensive background in parapsychology, which is the scientific study of ESP and other related topics, that is not the topic on which Grounded/Reaching usually centers.)
Where are the connections between spirituality and intuition? Many of the practices recommended in our spiritual development - practices such as meditation, centering, attempting to become aware of "the still, small, voice" - also tend to result in increased intuition. As a result, some segments of society tend to regard highly developed intuition as an indication of highly developed spirituality. It may be, but I am suggesting that, while highly developed spirituality usually involves highly developed intuition, it is not the case that highly developed intuition necessarily involves highly developed spirituality.
It is precisely for this reason that many religions warn against the development of "paranormal" abilities. As (and if) the abilities develop they can bring their own set of problems and they can also be a distraction that detours people away from their original primary goal.
One aspect of these problems is the ego thing. Worldwide, people tend to develop almost cultish devotion to individuals with unusual powers, and once this begins it is difficult to withstand the siren call of the influence and authority that can accompany being the center of such attention.
Another, related problem is the apparent arrogance that one sometimes sees in people who are beginning to develop their intuition, and who immediately start to assume that they cannot be wrong. There are many ways in which we can misinterpret our intuitive awarenesses, and although "go with your gut" is advice that is often correct, to expect other people to go with YOUR gut may not always be appropriate. Rather, I prefer to see each all of us encouraged to develop intuition for ourselves, and for the most part applying it to our own problems rather than to the problems of others.
As to how intuition can be wrong, we need to remember that whatever message comes in, it passes through many neurological connections and filters before it comes to consciousness and even more before it is turned into words. Those filters can include our own biases and expectations, and our inability to express some things in words so that we reach for the "nearest" description - which may involve a tweaking of the original meaning. Think of pure water running though a coffee filter. Once it has run through the filter, it is no longer pure water. If the original intuitive impulse is the water, and your mind is the filter, just as the result is coffee, not water, so the incoming intuitive information may change in the process of coming into awareness and being articulated.
To clarify, here are three examples:
A man was participating in an informal intuitive experiment in which the "target" picture, hidden in an envelope, was a wagon wheel. He described a flower, with the petals radiating out from the center, just like those of the wagon wheel. In other words, he had the right concept (lines radiating from the center of a circle), but translated it into something different from the original.
Another man attempted to "read" an object belonging to someone in a class on psychic phenomena, without knowing who it belonged to (the object was a very small screwdriver). He announced that he was getting an impression of a goat, and that this meant that the owner was on a spiritual journey up to the mountain top, butting his way though all obstacles. The owner commented somewhat sheepishly (no pun intended),
"Well, I don't know about that, but I do keep goats."
Apparently the "reader" had received the impression of a goat, which was accurate, but he translated it as being symbolic rather than actual, probably because keeping goats is an unlikely hobby in the community where this occurred. In fact the goat owner lived far away in another community.
Lastly is an experience of my own, some years ago when participating in some "remote viewing" experiments. Well shielded, I was attempting to "receive" impressions from a "sender" who was repeatedly viewing a brief video clip. As I spoke my thoughts and impressions into a microphone they were both recorded and transmitted to an experimenter who, also shielded and not being involved in the selection of the clip, did not know which of four potential video clips was being used. At the end of the hour I was shown all four clips and selected the one I thought had been the target. The experimenter, separately, did the same, basing his guess solely on my stream of consciousness words. I selected the wrong one. The experimenter, without my internal blocks and biases, selected the right one. Like the two people above, I apparently received fairly accurate impressions, but interpreted them incorrectly.
This is not to say that one should ignore one's intuition. When taken as a gut feel, it is often correct. My concern is simply that whenever possible we need to seek additional information before making major decisions based on intuition, and that we should not interpret the development of intuition as the development of our spirituality.
If spirituality, the growth of our connectedness with the Infinite, is our goal, then that is where we need to keep our focus. In this context, perhaps intuition is a tool. Although we can most easily connect with the Infinite through our senses via beauty, nature, some music, etc., these are in some ways indirect connections. More direct is that inner voice which may, or may not (we really do not know) use the same conduit as intuition.
Certainly the practices that develop one, develop the other, which is why this article in the first place. For either, spirituality or intuition, the simplest practices involve meditation, prayer of some kind, and the ongoing listening to what is within. Combine this with the constant flexing of the "muscle" of will to do what is right, so that our lives become more and more in harmony with the Creator, and our awareness and connectedness, and our sense of comfort and well-being, can grow... and grow.
� Diana Robinson, Ph.D. Work in Progress may be reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line. Disclaimer -The contents herein are solely the opinions of Work in Progress owner, and should not be considered as a form of therapy nor advice. There is no guarantee of validity or accuracy. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, services of a competent professional should be sought. TO SUBSCRIBE to Work in Progress send a blank e-mail to workinprogress-On@lists.webvalence.com. To offer feedback e-mail Diana