What is intuition?
What is intuition in practice?
How does intuition work, and how do we know if our intuition is speaking to us or if it’s the fears in our mind?
This is what I will try to explain to you in this article.
From a very young age, I have been very connected to my intuition and my creativity (which for me is one of the most concrete manifestations of intuition). My intuition has guided me to make important decisions about my career choices, from my studies to my reorientation as a coach in 2019.
But in this article, I’m not going to go through how intuition has changed my life (if you want to know more, I invite you to read my story in the “About me” section 🙂 ). I share with you my experience of intuition, how I feel it, and how I perceive the difference between my intuition and my critical mind daily.
The question “how do you recognize your intuition” is the one I get asked the most by my clients and people I meet. So if you’ve been asking yourself the same question, know that you are not alone! 🙂 Together, we are going to see how you can consciously begin to distinguish the voice of your intuition from the one of your logical mind.
What is intuition?
For me, my intuition is an inner feeling in the form of emotion, energy, or physical sensation. It also manifests itself in dreams (this will be the subject of a future article!).
It is not a voice that guides us explicitly, but rather in a subtle way. Personally, my inner voice always manifests itself in thoughts. And if they are thoughts, then it is my mind that has taken over and is interpreting information received on a certain channel (the intuitive channel, for example) to translate it into language so that I can “understand” it.
Our minds are made of two parts: the logical analytical critical mind, and the creative benevolent and encouraging mind. In the following section, I will talk about these two forms in more detail because it is not possible to understand intuition without talking a little bit about the brain!
Intuition is a channel that collects information from external elements and situations that we face and that brings it to our consciousness. Unlike the logical mind, which thinks, calculates, and deduces (it’s a process that requires a certain “effort”), intuition is easy, quick, and does not require any effort. It has an obvious, instantaneous, and present feeling to it, and we usually can’t explain it logically. Yet, we “feel” that it’s right for us in the moment (because there is no universal truth, but if we can at least distinguish what’s right for us, it makes life much simpler!)
Our two brains:
You have probably already heard about the left and right brain. To put it simply, these two parts of the brain are of course not separate: they work in symbiosis.
But the “left” and “right” brains have quite different roles, which helps us understand a little better where intuition comes from at a physiological level.
The left brain: the analytical brain
This is the mind that is responsible for logic, analysis, criticism, and judgment. It is its role to structure, plan, coordinate, and calculate so that things follow certain steps and fit into a certain order. It is the pragmatic part of our mind that needs certainty, proof, is very afraid of the unknown, and is related to our survival. It is also the part of our brain that is responsible for language.
It is the part of our mind that we have learned to rely on most since our school years, and the part that we are conditioned to use most in our daily lives in our current society. It is the part of the mind that we trust the most because we haven’t been told otherwise.
So if you feel that this is not just the left side of your brain, but the whole of it, you are not alone in this case haha! 😀 Sometimes I laugh when I catch my critical mind taking over – when I’m far too perfectionist or stressed when nothing goes right or nothing’s good enough 😉 The first thing before wanting to change it is to observe it in action!
The right brain: the intuitive creative brain
This is the creative part of the mind that is inspired, has ideas, and does not think in analysis mode but with images and concepts. It captures information visually and spatially. It is the part of the mind that enables face recognition.
The right brain has a fluid and instantaneous way of functioning, and it inspires us with the right and obvious solutions to our problems even though they may be perceived as complex to implement in practice (and again, the “complex” side is a left-brain judgment 😉 ). This is our creative and “resourceful” side. The right brain is also involved in emotional attachment.
In summary: how to distinguish the voice of intuition from that of the analytical mind:
Intuition is for me the direct expression of the heart.
It is a subtle and gentle voice that brings you information with kindness and always for your own good and growth (I insist on this!!). Your intuition wants you to evolve whereas your analytical mind has a tendency to limit your personal growth because it is scared of the consequences.
Your intuition is not a product of logical reflection: it is felt in your body in the present moment. It’s therefore essential to learn to reconnect with your physical sensations, your 5 senses, and your emotions if you want to learn to develop your intuitive skills.
The analytical mind (the one that takes up too much space :p ) is here for your SURVIVAL: it doesn’t care if you are happy or not. It wants you to follow the rules because that’s what allows you to fit in at the risk of being rejected if you did otherwise. It is connected to the archaic part of our brain system (the reptilian brain), the one that prevented us from being eaten by bears in prehistoric times.
It is often critical, judgmental, oppressive, and tiring, which can be experienced as exhausting and demanding.
A short disclaimer though: intuition is not always experienced positively! Sometimes intuition can present itself as an energy of disgust, or unease. This is what happens to some people when they “feel” that they should not go to a certain place, or that they should leave where they are because they do not “feel” it. The difference with the fear in the logical mind is that intuition does not last: if it does, it’s because the mind has taken over!
Intuition is a very difficult thing to explain because, until you have experienced it, you cannot fully understand it. Intuition has this very experiential dimension to it, unlike logical thinking which is purely intellectual.
The most important thing is to learn to work in harmony with both your intuition and your analytical mind. Because they both have a function (we’ll talk about this in a future article)! It’s a balance to be found, but currently, we tend to rely much more on our logical mind than on our intuition (because that’s what we’ve been taught!). So there is a certain amount of trust in your intuition to be rebuilt before you can harness it to its full potential.
And that’s ok! 🙂
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what intuition is all about just yet! That’s because intuition cannot be understood: it has to be experienced. I know, it’s frustrating for our logical minds which always want to understand and control everything. 🙂
But don’t worry, they will get used to it 😉
The most important thing is that you start right now to put some awareness back into your inner dialogue and that you begin to observe your intuition vs your logical mind talking!
I hope this article has given you a few clues and answers on your journey to better understand your intuition.
In my next article, I will talk about the spiritual dimension of intuition, which is an additional frame of reference that is extremely insightful to gain clarity on what intuition is, where it comes from, and why it is a key skill to harness if we want to build a fulfilling, soul-aligned life.
I’d love it if you left me a comment to tell me how this article has helped you!
Intuitively yours – Marion x