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Monday, October 15, 2007


Some Thoughts on the Sixth Sense: Intuition

Many of my friends, men and women of all ages, lamented at one time or another, “I wish I’d trusted my intuition. If I had, I wouldn’t be in this predicament.” It’s fascinating to think of the people who related these comments, their respective situations, and their matching conclusions. Why didn’t they listen to that “sixth sense” at the time of their brewing conflicts and situations?

What is intuition?
Intuition involves insight that develops independent of conscious reasoning; yet, it means more than following one’s instincts alone. Intuition senses the right direction for a person to follow based on past experiences and it alludes to the future. Intuition is context-based. It involves spontaneity, but not reckless leaps into the unknown. It’s as if it involves a different kind of focus and another way to perceive.

How do writers and others view intuition?
Jane Yolen wrote on her website journal, For Writers, “Someone online asked me how to use intuition. Well, intuition works best when you remember that "tuition" is part of it. You need to have paid ahead of time (i.e. done your prep work) so as to prepare the ground for intuition.”

Albert Einstein stated, “There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.”

Carl Jung wrote that “Intuition (is) perception via the unconscious.”

I could have chosen a thousand more quotes. We’ve read countless definitions, quotations, and thoughts on intuition, yet they all allude to an alternate way to approach and perceive different aspects of life, people, concepts, etc.

Hindrances to intuition
Technology continues to inspire us to do more and more in our jobs, careers, avocations, and our daily lives. We’re surrounded by so many devices that we’re constantly working like robots to get everything organized in such a way that we have even more time to relax. But we don’t relax. We often use the time to accomplish even more. Our culture is moving into a strange robotic wave where we become almost obsessed with our goals and work to the point of exhaustion. How many people do you know who are “burned out” in their current jobs or roles?

Cultivating strong intuition
Intuition isn’t something we’re either born with or not; it’s a sense that we can feed and practice using if we’re interested in learning how. Of course, I’m not an expert. I never took psychology courses in college. I just observe people, events, and my own mistakes and strong suits, like many writers.

I notice that my best fictional works come from tapping into my intuitive sources, rather than sitting down, outlining, or organizing my thoughts ahead of time. Research articles and fact-based pieces require order up front, but not fiction. If we allow our subconscious minds the freedom, we can manage to work out diverse problems in our sleep or during the day. This doesn’t have to apply to fiction.

Have you ever had a problem that troubled you to no end, and yet the solution came only after you let it “rest” for a while in the back of your mind? It doesn’t matter whether you slept or went onto “other” activities and finally released the problem from your conscious mind.

Intuition serves as a guide in many parts of life, including writing. I’d love to hear from others writers on this subject. I’ve read that some writers like to take walks in nature, surround themselves with animals, and escape technology to get in touch with their intuitive side. This sounds like a logical way to get back to that sixth sense. Doesn’t it?

Meditation, I’ve read, is another way to feed one’s intuitive nature.

How often has intuition played a role in your first impression of a person upon first meeting? Was your intuition correct? How does intuition play a role in your writing? Do you let it play a role? Or do you prefer to outline, arrange, and plan out all writing works?

This isn’t my most organized blog post, and I’m not sure I’ve addressed my questions clearly. I just really want to know what others think about intuition. Thanks!


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Anonymous Annette said...

Sue, what a thought-provoking post! I could probably write a list as long as my left leg of all the times my intuition told me to "watch out!"

BTW, did I mention that the list would be of all the times I didn't listen and thought, "Nah...everything will be fine."

I have an extremely strong sense of intuition, but my optimism is an old-school G.L.O.W. wrestler and always manages to get my intuition on the mat in a headlock. LOL

I guess, for me, it's more about actually *listening* to the intuition rather than developing it.

As far as intuition and writing, I can't really think of when I've used it to organize, plot, or craft any of my stories. Though, maybe I use intuition to help decide where to *start* my story--what feels "right" and organic to the story I want to tell. I guess that could be attributed to a certain kind of intuition...

Meditation? I wish! Every time I've tried to meditate, I've just ended up falling asleep sitting up! LOL

Any writing intuition tips out there, ladies?

7:36 PM  
Blogger Chynna said...

Sue, this is a great post! I often follow instincts in my writing and in life. I've actually freaked a few people out with my Sixth Sense! ;oD

Thanks for writing this, Sue.


7:43 AM  

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