Intuition Is for Everyone - The 3 Stages of Intuition and How to Develop It
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Learn to live life more from your intuitive guidance
Intuition is not exclusive to a select few chosen by a power to possess such higher faculties. It’s available to all of us, albeit in different forms. Of course, not all of us have equally refined intuitive capabilities.
Still, we experience touches of intuition every day. You may often have had the feeling that something will happen and it did happen! Like thinking of an old friend and receiving his call the same day.
Many people during the 9/11 attack did not leave for their offices or turned back to their homes because they “just felt like doing so.” No one knew what was about to happen but they had a strong feeling that they shouldn’t proceed.
Let’s see one example of the 9/11 tragedy. Barrett Naylor, a Wall Street executive, far from any kind of psychic abilities, had a life-changing experience in 1993.
While stepping off a train in New York’s Grand Central Station, he had a sense that he couldn’t describe — something telling him he should turn around and go home. He followed that inner voice and was glad he did — that day in 1993 turned out to be the day of the World Trade Center bombing.
He got the same feeling on the morning of September 11, 2001. “Something told me … that it was time to go home,” he said. “I should just turn around and go back home.” So he did, thankfully.
In some cases, the people who did not get on an elevator that crashed afterward said that there was a definite feeling that they shouldn’t go inside even though they couldn’t explain it logically.
All these are examples of the presence and working of intuition in daily life.
Paramahansa Yogananda describes intuition as the “directly-perceiving faculty of the soul that at once knows the truth about everything, requiring no medium of sense experience or reason.” Real, true intuition can never be wrong. Because it’s not about believing in something, rather it’s about knowing it unmistakably.
On average, the faculty of intuition remains significantly underdeveloped in most people. However, since it’s a faculty, we can develop it through practice.
In your practice to train your intuitive powers, you will find yourself at three stages.
The Crude Level
The crude level of intuition is the occasional hunch that turns out to be true. It’s a calm feeling, where you just know something is wrong but can’t put a finger on it.
This form of intuition is dangerous to rely on. Because it’s so crude, it’s highly likely to be mixed with emotions, likes, dislikes, and other factors. For instance, a person may invest thinking that he’s made an intuitive decision but in fact, it may just turn out to be greed.
Many people also misguide others about their intuitive capabilities thinking that “because it happened before, it will happen always.”
At this stage, Yogananda recommends one to develop intuition by:
- Exercising common sense — because intuition never defies logic or works against it. It gives a direction to logical thought so we can find what we’re looking for. However, it’s important to exercise common sense lest we become fanatics and do something crazy.
- Daily introspection and analysis
- Depth of thought and ongoing activity in one direction — a distracted, restless mind cannot possibly reap the crops of soul-knowing. Only when the mind is trained to focus calmly on one thing at a time, can it receive the intuitive insights that the soul already has.
- Calmness — Expanding the last point, since intuition manifests itself as a calm feeling, it’s important to keep our body and mind calm. When we’re working frantically running from one place to another, the world seems chaotic and we feel lost. Yet, as soon as we take a shower or relax with our morning cup of coffee, we find all the ideas we’re looking for.
Why? Because calmness helps us find the pearls of intuition in the sea of our consciousness. If the sea is agitated, it’s impossible to find the pearls.
- Meditation — there’s hardly (or really no other) practice to develop intuition like meditation. It not only calms the mind and body but also the heart which makes it possible to distinguish between different subtle feelings that can put us on the right path.
We reach the level of semi-intuition when our feelings are calm and our reason is pure. Meaning, when we’re able to calmly discriminate between things without getting riled up in our emotions and egoistic desires, we’re better able to see the truth.
Distorted reasoning and emotional feeling on the other hand obscure intuition.
Yogananda says that this form of intuition is seen almost invariably in great scientists whose work leads to breakthrough discoveries. A good scientist is a perfect example of pure reason and calm feeling. He tries his best to test every assumption without letting his emotions get in the way.
While we may think professions as logical as science are not intuitive, it’s really the opposite. Because intuition is always in tune with logic and reason, scientists and many others exercise their intuition albeit unaware of it.
This is the stage of course, when you’re intuition is completely free of error and unmistakable. While this stage is usually achieved only by high spiritual souls, one shouldn’t be discouraged.
Even if we don’t yet have fully developed intuitive faculties you’ll be amazed at how much you can do as your intuition gets stronger. “Spiritually advanced souls,” Yogananda said, “use their intuition in everything they do, and thus accomplish the seemingly impossible.”
He recites a story in Autobiography of a Yogi that shows the power of intuition at play.
Yogananda was once at the hermitage of his guru Swami Sri Yukteswar. His guru was away for a few days and wrote a letter to him saying that he’ll arrive at 9 o’clock at the station. A friend of Yogananda, seeing this letter said to him “It’s close to 9, let’s go!”
When Yogananda said “Not yet!” the chap was surprised. Yogananda had intuitively perceived his Master’s message that the plans were changed and he’ll not be there on the same train.
His friend did not believe him and went anyway, only to find no one there. Shortly after when his friend came back, he said, “Let’s go now.” Reluctantly his friend went with him. Even on the way to the station, his friend did not believe him.
To make him believe he told his friend, “Never mind. You will see. The train will be arriving just as we get there. It will be filled with light and my Master will be on that train. When he approaches us, a little boy with a silver jug will be walking in front of him. Master’s first words to me will be, ‘Did you get my message?’”
And so it turned out to be. There was a little boy with a silver jug walking ahead of the Master and the first word he said to Yogananda were “Did you get my message?”
Yogananda’s friend, also fellow disciple, was surprised. Sri Yukteswar then looked at the chap and said, “ “Your mind is too restless and that is why you didn’t get my message.”
Only a calm mind like Yogananda’s could grasp the message their Master transmitted.
So it’s not that there’s something wrong with our intuition itself. The intuitive insights are already there. We just need to be in the right state to receive them.
How to Develop Intuition Through Meditation
Regular meditation is the best way to develop intuition. Here’s how.
Most people attest to the feeling of calmness they feel after their practice. Yet, they have a tendency to get up as soon as they’re done and go on with their day. Yogananda advises otherwise. He says,
Intuition is the feeling that causes you to enjoy the peace felt during and after meditation. After meditation, sit still for a long time, enjoying the inner peace. Just as you don’t cook your food and then run off without eating it, but sit down and enjoy it, so also with meditation.
The meditation techniques help to prepare the mind, but afterwards sit quietly, enjoying the “meal” you’ve prepared.
Through experience, I’ve seen that even though there’s a small urge to get up as soon as I’m done with meditation, there’s always a sense of deep peace if I sit for some more time enjoying that feeling and elongating it further.
By doing this, we learn to hold on to the peaceful after-effects of meditation. Thus, with practice, we can hold on to that peace even when we’re working, eating, and doing our daily jobs.
Further, he gives an important technique to solve problems through intuition:
- Whenever you want to solve a problem intuitively, meditate first and enter a state of perfect calmness.
- Do not think of your problem during meditation, but meditate until your breath becomes calm and a sense of calmness fills the inner recesses of your body.
- Then concentrate simultaneously at the point between the eyebrows and the heart, and ask God to direct your intuition so that you know what you should do.
This technique works almost invariably. Focusing at the point between the eyebrows (or Spiritual Eye) helps to raise your energy in the spine toward the brain. This point is also called the doorway to superconsciousness where lies the solution to every problem.
Intuition is for everyone. With continuous practice, we all can develop our intuitive faculties to assist our daily decision-making. By living our life through that intuitive guidance, we’ll find it to be more harmonious, happy and blissful.
Limiting ourselves to the intellect is a spiritual handicap. Let’s expand beyond the boundaries of what’s familiar and dive deep into the pools of superconsciousness. Are you coming with me?