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December 1, 1998

Developing Intuition

[Editor's note: This is the second installment of a 2-part series suggesting ways to develop intuitive skills. The first, Intuition in Business, presenting insights into the nature and uses of intuition, was published in the last issue.]

by Lynn B. Robinson

Using your intuition is about using more of your brain's potential, as discussed extensively in the first article of this series. It is also about using more of your body and spirit. Proof of intuition as brain power is abundant, as a total body function is growing, and as spiritual functioning is more tenuous but being successfully subjected to increasingly rigorous research.

As you read, you'll find a number of suggestions to take you beyond whatever level of intuition you now recognize. None of the data upholding the veracity of intuition as developmentally possible will be presented here. Your own experience with intuition is far more convincing than the reams of research available.

If you scoff at the whole idea of intuition, then the first thing you need to do, for a bit, is suspend your disbelief. That idea has been suggested often by Joseph McMoneagle. Though Joe worked in military intelligence for a number of years, he now speaks and writes about remote viewing -- the ability, regardless of the normal boundaries of time and space, to correctly perceive and describe (under conditions of strict scientific controls) detailed information about a remote place, person, or thing. Himself a subject of extensive research, Joe is now acknowledged as one of the best remote viewers in the field, viewers employed by organizations around the world. Find that hard to believe? For a while, suspend your disbelief.

Let yourself believe in the possible. Rather than live in denial, challenge what you may have been told or taught. Begin accepting things as possible until proven impossible. You may not have ridden a bicycle the first time without falling, but you believed you could, and so you kept on working at it until you could ride. Recognizing, using, proving, and developing your intuition may be no different. Like so many other things about human functioning, "Use it, or lose it"; "Don't try, do."

You'll receive intuitive messages in any of a number of ways. Through the mind, you may receive something specific or perhaps a gradual clarification of a complicated situation -- which can demand great patience. The form delivered by the mind may include hunches, dreams, symbols, visions, sounds, tastes, emotions, smells, or an awareness of the flow of events. Through the body, you may experience shifts in energy, noted changes in feelings, or muscular reactions. You may also experience intuitions through experiences you don't initiate, what Carl Jung called synchronicities.

Belleruth Naperstek, a psychotherapist and nationally recognized pioneer in the field of guided imagery and intuition, encourages you to check in with your best friend and ally -- your body. The key when asking your body to respond to yes or no questions you pose is paying attention to subtle cues.

Generally yes responses will be felt as subtle expansion, a comfortable gentle release somewhere inside. When your body is telling you no, however, you may get a tightening, a contraction, or a holding back. Try it. If it takes you a while to recognize your body's response, don't be discouraged. Once you have learned, you will have a serious and valuable ally in your business or personal life.

Test thoughts or feelings that unexpectedly appear. Begin simply. When you find yourself thinking about colleagues, friends, or relatives, call to see if they're thinking of you. Often you'll find they are or were the day before or just had a dream about you. Acting on a "hunch" or "gut feeling" with success leads to less hesitancy in doing so again. By using insights, you get reinforcement, and from reinforcement you get strength for using intuition. Test more compelling intuitions than thoughts of friends. If you enjoy keeping a journal or list, write down your experiences that you consider intuitive. Being able to recall your successes keeps your fears or disbelief suspended and lets you keep on growing. Keeping track of your intuitive "hits" tends to turn even the most skeptical into believers, and tracks the improvement of those who already believe in their intuition.

Inge Lillie's intuitive hits have proven quite remarkable. She's been the subject of statistical tracking by graduate students at schools in California. Her accuracy level far exceeds the 80+ percentage range. Now her financial forecasts are available only by subscription.

Use your breathing as a way to still intruding thoughts and sensory interference. Intuition bubbles up from within and can be overwhelmed by old mental or emotional "tapes" and by external stimulation. Focusing on your breath may help. Some people prefer the gentle pulsing of a shower, the sound of the waves at the beach, or the first quiet, drowsy moments of the day. As you learn to recognize your intuition, you'll experience it breaking through even the most distracting of noises. Relax and recognize your intuition, however it comes. Resist the impulse to concentrate. Be attentive but not intense. Playfulness and relaxation usually stimulate the intuitive process.

Read in areas you have not read before. Attend classes or seminars on intuition. Listen to tapes. Find a friend who will act as a non-ridiculing sounding board for you. No one achieves as well in a negative environment as in a positive one. Believing in yourself and the power of your intuition is a powerful stimulus for continuing development. Your intuition will work for you in a variety of ways, and it will work your way. Techniques for developing intuition can be generic, but your response will be specific to you. Your intuition is as unique to you as your fingerprint.

In organizations that encourage creativity, intuition has a better chance to flourish. Using intuitive insight to balance logic and analysis is whole-brain thinking. To do less is to short circuit the system. Knowledge and experience are complemented by intuition. For example, Sandy Koufax struck out Mickey Mantle with a surprise pitch and won the World Series. Donald Peterson, CEO at Ford, followed his intuition to produce the Taurus, America's best selling car. Eleanor Freide insisted that Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a children's book, be published for adults. And your intuition? In what ways has it worked for you?

In an organizational setting, you may find that you use different words to represent intuition. You may be saying you have a hunch or gut feeling rather than saying you have an intuition about something. Some say, "I sense there may be more to this situation than the data reveal." However you state it, until you use and encourage others to use their intuition, you're thwarting the limitless potentials that are our birthrights.

As you note you're increasingly intuitively accurate, you may be willing to embrace the demonized word psychic, derived from early Greek which is translated "of the mind" or "of the spirit." You'll find you're able to use your intuition for clear and loving inner guidance and for helping others. Tell your stories to encouraging others; listen to theirs.

A personal story, one among a multitude, one I'm sure mirrors many of yours, happened in October 1992. On a plane to Phoenix, Arizona, I chatted with the engineer seated next to me. Yes, we were each on a business trip -- that sort of thing. His questions gave me the chance to talk a little about the linkage of intuition and creativity and about my perception of their role in global competitiveness. He made several positive, similar comments.

Because of his encouraging comments and with his consent, I risked telling him what I sensed about him: a large brown bear rearing on its hind legs in front of him. He hadn't seen one lately -- live or in a museum. I attempted bringing more focus to the bear, but could only tell him that I thought it was probably symbolic. I told him I did not sense the bear was going to maul him and that I sensed more that he, the man next to me, would take control through his own assertiveness and, therefore, the bear would not present an insurmountable danger. When we deplaned, the man said he'd let me know if he figured out the symbolic (or real) meaning of the bear, whether personal or business related.

About three weeks later the phone rang, and it was the engineer who had sat by me on the plane. When he returned from Phoenix, he went with his wife to a physician. Her health had given her cause for concern, and she had had some tests done which were less conclusive than they had hoped. The results of those tests did not lessen their concern or give them direction for treatment or cure. It was at that point that the engineer said he remembered the bear, rising in front of him, threatening his life. He told me he remembered I had suggested his assertiveness kept the bear at bay. It was then, he told me, he insisted the next level of tests be done and done immediately.

The physician acquiesced. More tests were run, and a small operable brain cyst was diagnosed. Immediate surgery was scheduled. When I talked to him after the surgery, his wife was doing very well.

When he thanked me, the tears rolled down my face. Thanked me? Thanked me! I had risked telling him of an intuitive/psychic image that came to me...was given to me...was projected by him...was somehow there. I risked a picture story. He and his wife risked much more.

Powerful experience; even more powerful, positive intuitive/psychic reinforcement. Check it out. Get feedback. Grow. Be strong. Take risks. You are developing a gift that has been given to each one of us. And, as you check things out, you're also developing the gift of discernment. You're increasing your own capacity to be responsible for and to yourself -- to use your body, mind, spirit, self to the fullest.


Dr. Lynn B. Robinson is emeritus professor of Marketing, University of South Alabama. An active business consultant, Dr. Robinson serves on the board of directors of the Intuition Network, a global organization of thousands of individuals in business, government, health, science and education who are interested in cultivating and applying intuitive skills. She is author of Coming Out of Your Psychic Closet, How to Unlock Your Naturally Intuitive Self and can be heard with Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, President of the Intuition Network on audio-cassette: Everyday Working Intuition, Portal to the Soul.


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