This may or may not make sense, so ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’
Many, many years ago, I decided that my brain probably did a lot more processing than I was aware of and that although I could never access it directly, it probably manifested itself in soft, fuzzy terms like intuition and insight. I’d always thought that anything that didn’t filter through the tiny little pinhole camera that was my conscious mind had to be complete bull. In the very unlikely event that sometimes it might not be, it didn’t matter since I’d never be able to discriminate between bona fide intuition and indigestion.
For reasons that are now long forgotten, I had a change of heart and decided that I would try to become more attuned to whatever these other processes might be.
I don’t know that I’ve made any progress, but lately I’ve noticed that as the thought to do or not do something begins to form, I have this vague feeling that the idea is being censored before it gets out of the gate. I’ve also noticed that at least subjectively, it seems that a good number of those intuitive choices have worked out favorably.
The spooky part is that even when I go along with the censor, it’s not always obvious why exactly that was the right choice. I know I need to give some examples but I have pretty strict priorities about what is worth remembering and what isn’t and daily events in my life might not even be on the list. But next time I’ll try to make a mental note.
Now before anyone says anything, I fully realize that I’m not being objective, that my memory is undoubtedly selective, yada, yada. I wouldn’t even attempt to defend anything I’ve said from any sort of empirical standpoint.
I’m mainly interested in seeing if any of this sounds familiar to folks and what their experiences have been like.
I was able to understand very little of what you wrote. However, the title itself did strike a note. Many years of experience with success and failure have taught me NOT to follow intuition. The mantra that works for me is, “When in doubt, don’t.” There are times when you must make a decision and you go with what you think at the time. But given enough time I like to weigh enough facts so that the decision is “compelling” one way or another so that any doubt is overcome. Sadly, intuition has cost me dearly.
I know what you mean and you may well be right, but intuition tends to be a very fuzzy concept. Two people can talk about it and think they mean the same thing and it is quite conceivable that they don’t.
I think the most common perception of it has a strong emotional aspect. This is just a guess, but I’m going to assume this since people tend to categorize it as a type of ‘feeling’. And it certainly is. But I see it as a feeling in the sense of touching or hearing. I don’t think that’s what most people mean though.
One of the first things I had to learn was when my sense of something was an unvarnished projection of my non-conscious mind and when it was instead a projection of my needs and desires.
For me, that was and still is a very difficult thing to do, but I think I’m getting better at it. I’ve learned that a pure intuition tends to inject itself into my consciousness suddenly and with no warning. It’s like something that materializes out of thin air rather than something or someone who first knocks.
However to even get to this point I had work on keeping my mind open to such mercurial “thoughts.” I don’t think I can describe how that works exactly though.
This may not be what you’re talking about, or it may be an extremely specialized version of what you’re talking about, but one particular thing came to mind.
I was watching a documentary a couple of years ago (I don’t remember the name of it, or what program it was on) about a guy who could do complex calculations in his head, could recite pi up to an ungodly amount of digits, etc. When they asked him how he did it, he claims that he didn’t really know, he just sort of “sees” the answer as some combination of shapes and colors, and somehow is able to translate that into numbers.
One of the commentators speculated that his brain was actually performing the calculation without his conscious mind knowing anything about it, and was giving his conscious mind the answer.
I think that probably is the same thing, except he has higher level of conscious awareness than I ever will.
However it could also be synesthesia. I think I saw the documentary you did and I remember the part about numbers being different colors. I might be imagining this part, but I think the pattern of colors also helped him remember. That makes sense to me since we seem to have the ability to remember fairly detailed patterns which can imbed a lot of information.
I used to know a girl who saw different letters and numbers in different colors. So for example, if you asked her something seemingly ridiculous like what color is 3, she would say red or blue or whatever. Unfortunately she was very reluctant to talk about it.
I don’t often have a strong sense that I should change my mind - but when I do, I’ve rarely regretted changing it. I highly recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink on both the usefulness and dangers of relying on intuition. Good stuff.
I do tend to listen to my intuition as much as possible, and it usually is right. I agree that my so-called intuition is my brain taking in everything and crunching numbers in my subconscious and coming up with an answer that my conscious mind might miss, or might overlook due to conscious preferences. I don’t tend to get a strong sense that I should change my mind - I take my intuition into the decision-making process more often than not, and I’m usually pretty happy with the results. I have one issue right now where I’m waffling (which clay to use - should I stick with Cone 6, or go back to Cone10?), but it isn’t a clear-cut issue, and I’m letting it sit for a few days to work it through, because either option has it’s pluses and minuses.
My brain’s attempts to change my mind are usually due to fear or avoidance, rather than based on any rational or logical reasoning. It can be very distracting. It’s like having a scared little old lady in my head (and I’m only 27). It overwhelmingly tries to change my mind about doing necessary things. Like when I think, “Hmm I should go to the grocery store and do laundry today,” my subconscious says, “Why don’t you just order a pizza and play video games all day instead?” If I think, “Hmm, I should get out of bed and take a shower and go to work,” my subconscious counters with, “Stay in bed for another half hour, and just take a quick shower. You need the sleep anyway.” Or, if I have accumulated enough PTO, my subconscious argues SHOCKINGLY STRONGLY for me to call off work. Even though I know going to work is good for me because it will force me to shower and get dressed and get outside in the sunshine and talk to people, my subconscious insists I do the comfortable, easy thing instead.
And then just a couple weeks back, I wanted to go to a sushi/Japanese/Chinese/American buffet I’d never been to before, by myself. My subconscious kept whispering, “They’re going to make fun of you for being the fat white chick all by herself, pigging out at the buffet.” But the waitstaff was very pleasant, and (for example) actually went out of their way to offer to cook fresh potstickers when the ones out there were getting tough. I’ve been back since then and, again, had a good time. So ignoring my subconscious was definitely the right move.
Because of this, I have learned that my subconscious cannot be trusted. It will consistently undermine me at the next available opportunity. It should be not just ignored, but outright contravened as much as possible. If my subconscious recommends something, I endeavor to do the opposite (unless I’m feeling too weak to resist it, which happens too often). But I have social anxiety, so maybe other peoples’ subconsciouses (subconsci?) are more reliable than mine.
@ rachelellogram - I have social anxiety too,dyou think it’s related to the whole subconcious voice-drive thing?All I can say is I have extremely frequent inner conflicts, and when my subconcious is on autopilot it takes an awful lot of concious persuasion on my consciousnesses part to get myself to the right thing…but then I’ve perhaps let the subconciousness too far into my conciousness, which is probably just bad habit. I know it’s terribly ‘convenient’ to blame this all on daydreaming, but I’m also fairly notorious for that, so I tend to run the auto-pilot alot.
I feel exactly the same way that you do and have a constant battle with me inner thoughts as well. It has not worked out for the best as I’ve missed out on a lot. It is important to try to put yourself out of your comfort zone atleast once a day, even if its something small.
You may come to like it.
Social anxiety is quite normal. You’ve gotta think. When you are out in public, how often are you thinking about how weird others are? Barely ever right? You aren’t even paying attention.
And if something weird happens out there, who cares? How does it affect your life? It will only affect it if you let it. You’ve just got to learn to brush your shoulders off a bit.