The importance of trusting your gut instincts is something we need to relearn. Our modern culture emphasizes intellectual skills, but instinct and intuition are overlooked. They are the key components of the process used by Einstein. Want to learn how to think like Einstein?
When facing tough decisions, we often find ourselves at a crossroads of intellect, instinct, or intuition. In these moments, we may wonder whether we should follow our gut feelings. Are these feelings valid or not? What are the factors at play in these situations?
Let’s explore the dynamics between these powers of the psyche. By delving into these elements, we gain a deeper insight into the mechanisms that we use to make decisions. If we understand how these tools work, we can make better use of them. We can even cultivate them, and we’ll look at practices for enhancing intuition and instinct.
Intellect, Instinct, or Intuition?
Most people associate the word intellect with logic and rational thinking. This is partially correct. The intellect also uses intuition, imagination, and instinct depending on the need.
According to researchers (1), the accuracy of intuition depends on two things. First is the depth and breadth of our life experience. The second is our proficiency with critical thinking skills. The greater our experience with the subject, the more accurate quick decisions. We can increase this accuracy if we combine the study of rational thinking skills.
Instinct Versus Intellectual Analysis
While the intellect holds a prominent place in our society, it’s crucial to recognize its limitations. Logic is invaluable for analyzing data, solving problems, and making rational choices. However, it can sometimes hinder creativity by confining us to conventional thinking patterns. To unlock our creative potential, we must embrace a broader perspective to include instinct and intuition.
Rational thinking and intellectual analysis are the foundation. When you build a house, you need a solid foundation. Then, instinct and intuition make up the rest of the home.
Let’s Compare Instinct and Intuition
Instincts, often influenced by our genetic makeup and ancestral memories, are a primal force within us. They enable rapid decision-making, often in situations where we lack time for thorough analysis.
Our instincts are hardwired preferences. These preferences drive thinking and values. Most people are unaware of how instinct shapes their likes or dislikes. We each have a mixture of the triad of instincts, self-preservation, social and sexual, but one is dominant.
We each have a mixture of nine personality traits. The combination of personality and instinct gives us the default settings of Ego. Since these operate subconsciously, we don’t see them unless we do some inner work. The Enneagram system uses a questionnaire to identify these mechanisms of the mind.
The subconscious mechanisms of the Ego have nothing to do with our conscious thinking processes or intuition. The Ego houses our instincts and personality, but not intuition. It is easy to confuse their operation. We learn to discern the differences between Ego and the intuitive mind. Intuition works outside the Ego beyond the conscious or subconscious. It operates in that place we call the spirit, the soul, or the observer. When you learn to compare instinct and intuition, you discover that messages come from different places. These differences complement one another.
It’s not Intuition Versus Instinct
Your instincts and intuition are not opposites but rather complementary tools of the mind. It’s about learning to understand which one to use.
For example, you (2) are driving down the road singing along to your favorite song. Suddenly, you swerve the car to the middle of the road. You don’t know why you did that.
Then you realize you moved in time to miss an open utility hole. You don’t know why you swerved. It was a “feeling” that took control. In reality, the car ahead of you swerved, and your subconscious mind picked on this activity. Your subconscious mind knows you aren’t paying attention, so it takes control to help you avoid the hazard.
The evidence leads us to conclude that the source of the intuitive voice is a powerful force in the mind. It is a complex collection of different things, some of which are beyond measurement. But we have yet to find a way to measure the aspect of consciousness we call the soul, the spirit, or the observer.
Cultivating our intuition and instincts requires good self-observation skills. We must learn to listen to our self-talk, our bodies, and our emotions. Practicing mindfulness meditation, being present, and paying attention to gut feelings is essential. These mind tools assist in harnessing the full power of the mind. They lead us to deeper insights and innovative problem-solving. So, don’t think of it as instinct versus intellectual analysis. These are two skills that complement each other to make balanced, accurate decisions.
Enhancing intuition and instinct provides insights that transcend logical reasoning. Intuition whispers to us, offering subtle guidance connecting us to a collective consciousness. Albert Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” Often mistaken as mere guesswork, intuition taps into the deep well of consciousness. This well includes the collective consciousness linked through our DNA. By quieting the mind through meditation and reflection, we can access the wisdom of our intuition.
Enhancing Creativity Through Intuition and Instinct
The essence of problem-solving is creative thinking. Creative thinking involves instinct or intuition to some degree. Intuitive thinking is a way of reaching conclusions without using rational thought. We run into situations where we need to make a quick decision. We don’t have time to analyze data or conduct research. The answer is to practice intuitive thinking so this level of creative thinking can be ready when needed.
Einstein used intuitive thinking to go beyond the data. He then used mathematics and physics to prove these conclusions. Intuition works outside the boundaries of the data which is available. Intuition is not irrational thinking; it’s just not quantifiable. Enhancing creativity through intuition and instinct is also the core of art.
Intuition is a method used to decide without conscious consideration. As rational people, we like to show we have made an informed decision. All we are doing is finding ways to justify a conclusion already made by the subconscious. We decided to buy a new vehicle based on emotional concerns. We find ways to rationalize our decisions. In fact, most people buy vehicles based on emotion, not rational and objective criteria.
For example, suppose you have childhood trauma related to the basement of your childhood home. When you decide to buy a home, you bring your childhood experience into your decision-making process. You may not even realize how this experience affects your rational thinking. If you visit a home with a basement that “reminds you” of your childhood home, you’ll decide not to buy. You may not consciously register the similarity. (3) In this case, it is not intuition driving your decision but past trauma.
Instinct Versus Inner Knowing
Intuition goes beyond instinct and analytical thinking. It is a hunch or a feeling based on our subconscious awareness. These feelings cannot be easily explained. It taps into our intuition, a sixth sense that guides us towards the right path, even when all other options seem equal. It is trusting that there is an underlying wisdom within us that can guide us in making decisions.
At the same time, intuition often communicates through our instincts on the subconscious level. So, it’s not intuition versus instinct; they are working together.
The Importance of Trusting Your Gut Instincts
To trust your gut means using the combined power of the intellect along with instinct or intuition. It comes in handy when we face situations where we don’t have time for research involving rational thinking. When people try to use rational thinking in emergencies, it often leads to analysis paralysis.
The inner knowing of our instincts can help us make quick decisions, especially in high-pressure scenarios. These learned scripts can detect potential dangers, which analytical thinking cannot. If we live in the city, we learn which sounds may be a sign of danger. The screeching of tires, for example. With practice, we can improve our ability to distinguish between instinct and intuition. Here, too, we should not think of it as instinct versus inner knowing. Intuition and instinct are partners in keeping us safe and developing solutions to problems.
Learning to trust ourselves to make the right choices is part of life. Some people are better at this than others, but we can all benefit from practices for enhancing intuition. They also boost our self-confidence. Find out what kinds of things you are good at and those where you have some opportunities for improvement. We’ll talk more about the processes for enhancing this in a moment.
Trusting your gut instincts takes practice. We see it exemplified in what is known as automatic muscle memory. For example, when a movement is repeated over time, the brain creates a memory for that task. This allows us to perform routine tasks with little to no conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and maximizes the efficiency of the brain. There are other ways besides repetition to enhance these natural abilities. So, as you can see, you already possess the innate capability to improve in these skills. Now, you just need to know how.
Practices for Enhancing Intuition and Instinct
While trusting your gut instincts is valuable, you must learn when and how to use it. Instinctual responses are not always the right choice. It is important to learn how to balance instinctual and analytical thinking.
Overreliance on our instincts can lead to impulsive decisions. But, relying on analytical thinking can hinder our ability to tap into our intuition. Striving for a harmonious integration is the key. A balanced mindset allows us to leverage the strengths of both approaches and make well-rounded decisions. Let’s look at the tools that will help you increase and balance these abilities.
1. Inner Knowing Meditation Practices
The proper meditation technique allows us to cultivate a calm and focused mind. Meditation sets the stage for heightened intuition and deeper self-awareness. Methods like Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM) are effective in quieting the mind. They open a conduit connecting us to our inner wisdom. With regular practice, we can access a state of relaxation, clarity, and enhanced intuition.
Learning to reach the transcendent state of consciousness is, without a doubt, the most direct way to expand awareness. Japa or TM helps us silence the internal chatter. It is one of the most important practices for enhancing intuition and instinct. When your mind is silent, your intuition and instincts can communicate more freely. When your mind is silent, you can think more clearly.
Body scanning techniques are also useful. Body scanning involves paying attention to the body in a gradual sequence from feet to head. By mentally scanning yourself, you bring awareness to every single part of your body. This is a good self-diagnostic tool that helps us notice any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort.
The Shamanic Journey is one of the most direct ways to interact with the intuitive mind. It uses an age-old process of rhythm and creative visualization to unlock the power of the psyche. Inner knowing meditation practices like the Shamanic journey are found worldwide. They are the core spiritual tools in many indigenous cultures.
2. Practice Sutras and Affirmations Daily
Sutras and affirmations are concise statements or phrases that encapsulate profound truths. By repeating them daily, we imprint these empowering thoughts on our subconscious mind. These tools help us remove and reprogram negative thought patterns. In turn, this helps strengthen our connection to our intuition and instincts. Many of these are devised for specific life situations. Find one that resonates with you and start your practice today. You’ll see positive results.
3. Practice Mindfulness and Moving Meditation
Mindfulness meditation, yoga, or moving mindfulness facilitate our ability to be present. When we are fully present and in the moment, we take control of awareness from the Ego. They sharpen our awareness of instincts and intuitions that may arise.
Honoring the present moment is fundamental to deepening our intuition. Mindfulness meditation and practices, such as conscious breathing or body scans, heighten awareness. Additionally, moving meditations like Tai Chi or Yoga help integrate mind, body, and spirit. This fosters a deeper connection to both our intuition and intellect.
4. Practice Self-Care and Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to the physical sensations that accompany your thoughts and decisions. Notice how your body reacts when you consider different options or encounter specific situations.
Caring for ourselves is crucial in developing a strong connection to our intuition. It teaches us the importance of trusting your gut feelings. Nurturing our physical, emotional, and mental health allows us to tune into our bodies. Regular exercise, meditation, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep contribute to our health. Proper self-care restores the balance of body, mind, and soul.
5. Enhance Critical Thinking Skills
Analytical thinking and logic play essential roles in decision-making. When we use them in balance with intuition and instincts, we unleash the full power of the mind. Cultivate your critical thinking skills by reading.
The study of logic and rational thinking is the foundation of a healthy spiritual practice. You can also improve critical thinking skills by engaging in thought-provoking discussions. Embrace learning as a lifelong strategy. A balanced intellect supports intuitive insights, resulting in more informed decisions.
6. Embracing Empathy
Practice putting yourself in other people’s shoes. This helps to develop a deeper understanding of their motivations, enabling you to make more informed judgments. Empathy is the bridge that connects our intuition and intellect to the emotions and experiences of others. By sharing thoughts and feelings, we develop a more profound connection with our intuition. Practice active listening and seek to understand different perspectives. Allow empathy to guide you in decision-making.
7. Enhancing Intuition Through Journaling
Maintain a daily journal to record your thoughts, dreams, and intuitions. Over time, patterns may emerge that highlight recurring themes or insights. In the digital age, the simple act of writing with pen to paper seems old-fashioned. But this process holds immense power. Using handwritten journals connects us with our intuitive mind. By writing down our dreams, thoughts, experiences, and goals, we gain clarity. This helps develop self-reflection skills and unlock subconscious insights.
Automatic writing is a powerful tool for enhancing intuition through journaling. Automatic handwriting reveals our inner wisdom.
8. Spend Time in Nature and Solitude
Set aside regular time for solitude and reflection. Disconnecting from external distractions allows you to hear your inner voice. Thus enhancing access to intuition and instinct.
Nature provides a sanctuary for nourishing our intuition, instincts, and intellect. Take regular breaks from the chaos of daily life, immersing yourself in the beauty of the natural world. Nature inspires introspection and stimulates our senses. Nature awakens our intuition and nurtures our intellect. Spending time in solitude also allows us to hear the whispers of our inner selves more clearly.
9. Conduct Inner work, Create a Healthy Mind
A healthy mind is free of negative bias and prejudice. Delve into inner work, such as the Enneagram, therapy, and self-reflection. By addressing past traumas and limiting beliefs, you develop a healthier mind. A healthy mind is the foundation for a more profound connection to your true self. Inner work fosters emotional intelligence and strengthens our intuition. It paves the way for a balanced and fulfilled life. This step is probably the hardest of the nine methods but yields the greatest return.
These practices for enhancing intuition and instinct provide the framework for a healthy mind. When you combine them with analytical thinking, you unlock your hidden potential. There are several tools to help you do this. Learn Japa or TM meditation, practice sutras, affirmations, and mindfulness meditation. Make learning a part of your life strategy. Enhance critical thinking skills and practice empathy.
If you do these things, you cultivate a stronger intuition, sharpened instincts, and a more refined intellect. Be courageous with inner work to root out any harmful beliefs and values. Take the first step today and embark on a lifelong journey of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. Remember, your true power lies within you. It starts by trusting your gut instincts and enhancing intuition, instinct, and intellect.
(1) A deliberate choice? Exploring factors related to informed decision-making, Science Direct
(2) The science behind going with your instincts: The World Economic Forum
(3) Can We Rely on Our Intuition?: Scientific America