“The leap of intuition can be felt because there is a gap … but it cannot be explained.” Osho
Over the past few years I have transitioned from working on gender balance out there in the wider world to looking inwards to find greater harmony between my logical, corporate, rational (masculine) self and my emotional, sensing, intuitive (feminine) side. Ultimate gender balance comes from within.
Finding and getting in touch with my feminine side has been a humbling, joyful and at time painful experience.
Instinctively we know the masculine and feminine energies need to be balanced in the world and in ourselves, but for millennia western cultures have applauded one while subjugating the other.
The yogic traditions point the way to balance, with emphasis on establishing the dynamic flow between Shakti (energy from the earth, the feminine) with Shiva (energy from the heavens, the masculine).
Having previously spent so much of my life in the corporate world I had pushed away my intuitive side and it wasn’t until a Reiki attunement in 2002 that I started back on the path of retrieving the diminished feminine, intuitive part of my being.
Since ceasing working in the corporate world 10 years ago, exploring my being has been an ongoing and relentlessly fascinating journey.
Counting it up the other day I realised I’ve spent one complete year out of the last 10 exploring the mysteries of life on one retreat or another!
Intuition is just part of what has been studied but it is an important part and something women both connect to and often misunderstand in themselves, not surprising really when you consider the conflicting information on the topic out there in the world. (With much of it written by men!)
So before we can explore the topic maybe we need to spend a bit of time defining what is and isn’t Intuition?
Turning to the body of teaching by Indian Mystic and Guru Osho we find this quote: –
The very word intuition has to be understood. You know the word tuition—tuition comes from outside, somebody teaches you, the tutor. Intuition means something that arises within your being; it is your potential, that’s why it is called intuition. ― Osho, Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic
But how do we discern when it is our intuition speaking to us when we have been conditioned by the rational world to ignore such things in favour of scientifically proven, evidence-based cause and effect logic?
Wikipedia described intuition as: –
the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired.
Different writers give the word “intuition” a great variety of different meanings, ranging from direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition and the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Other publication such as Psychology Today have taken a much more mechanistic approach to explain away the “magical” element of intuition.
It is common to think of intuition as a magical phenomenon—but hunches are actually formed on the basis of past experience and cumulative knowledge. Gut feelings have their value, but they do not always lead to good decisions. Psychology Today
Personally I would rather the term mystical rather than magical, but would proffer that whether we call it magical or mystical this phenomenology is definitely a part of intuition, while gut reaction maybe subtly different?
To research the unconscious programming side of gut reaction, two interesting pieces of work include: –
In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2006 book “Blink – the power of thinking without thinking”, he argues that all human beings are innately good at find patterns and reading situations.
He calls the cognitive theory behind this natural impulse “thin slicing”. A form of mental short-hand to arrive at answers without applying rational logic.
Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman goes into more detail in his 2012 best seller “Thinking Fast and Slow” where he distinguishes between System 1 and System 2 thinking.
Kahneman considers the first system – System 1 – to be fast thinking, performed instinctively, with almost no effort or feeling of control. Kahneman explains how this system of thinking is incredibly important as it influences almost all judgements and choices.
System 1 executes skilled responses and generates skilled intuitions
The book goes to great lengths with numerous examples to show the dangers of relying on System 1 thinking as much can be proven as false when System 2 thinking is applied to the facts.
System 2 – is slow thinking, more complex and mentally draining. Kahneman explains how System 2 is easier to identify with as it is the conscious self, the version of us that makes decisions, choices, has reason and beliefs.
Ultimately both systems need to work in harmony for the normal human operations. System 1 rapidly processes information so the slower conscious mind can be left to the process the more difficult problems.
Who am I to argue with a nobel prize winner, maybe I don’t even want to, but this all still feels very mechanistic and somewhat masculine to me!
What has happened to the spiritual? To the mystical? To the great unknown mystery of life in either Gladwell’s or Kahneman’s versions?
Osho says that intuition cannot be explained scientifically because “the very phenomenon is unscientific and irrational.”
He argues that intuition is operating at a higher realm than intellect and therefore cannot be understood by the intellect, whether it’s a nobel prize winning intellect or not!
Mystics talk about there being 3 realms – the known, the unknown and the unknowable, the latter can never be known by the human mind.
Osho maintains intuition works from the unknowable realm.
Thus intuition can be felt by the intellect, intellect can know something has happened, but it cannot explain it.
Sophy Burnham, bestselling author of The Art of Intuition, agrees with Osho. “It’s different from thinking, it’s different from logic or analysis … It’s a knowing without knowing.”
In 2011 I first encountered the world of Systemic Constellations, knowing little about the methodology I signed up for a weekend in London, only to walk into the room with the most intense feeling of having at last arrived home – my intuition in action!?!
Systemic Constellation as a methodology is hard to describe since it is one that is both experiential and phenomenological.
The Systemic Constellation view of intuition is it allows us to access our own deeper intelligence as well as giving us access to the Jungian concept of the collective unconscious, collective intelligence of families, groups and other organisational systems.
According to some “systemic constellations emerge as the problem solving method of the future” as it creates “a way to quickly get an overview of the current situation as it is.”
Since first encountering Systemic Constellation work, I have undergone further training and the methodology has become an embedded practise in both my own personal development and coaching work.
Systemic Constellation work is how I contact my intuition and so much more.
And I’m so aware that nothing I can really write on this topic is going to convince a sceptical intellect!