The higher Intuition is not merely an infra-rational gut feeling but a suprarational faculty which can reveal the deeper and holistic truth of things. This article presents a brief overview of the nature of intuition and how to develop it with examples from the corporate world.
The nature of higher intuition; how to develop intuition;
The Nature of Higher Intuition
In simple terms, intuition means direct, spontaneous knowledge without the need for rational analysis. However, there are many such inner movements in our mind, heart and in our subconscious, which may give the impression of such direct knowledge, but cannot be entirely relied upon. The true and higher intuition, which can lead us to the higher consciousness beyond reason, has the following characteristics:
- An all-embracing global comprehension of the totality of life and the presence of this totality in each part.
- A direct perception of the deeper truth of each thing, people, situation and circumstance, not only in their unique individuality but also in relation with others, and the larger whole or the environment or the totality of human and terrestrial life.
- Direct knowledge of the immediate and long-term consequences of a decision or action to others, and the larger whole.
- Resolution of dilemmas, contradiction, conflicts, dualities of thought and life in a reconciling synthesis.
These are the characteristics of the highest form of intuition proceeding from the spiritual consciousness of our soul, which is the native source of intuition. However intuition is not something exclusively confined to the spiritual consciousness. There is an intuition in every part of our being, in mind, heart, will and even in our body, and in every faculty of our consciousness, in thought, sensations, feeling, will, action, ethical and aesthetic senses and the instincts of our body. All these intuitions are partial expressions of the intuition of the spirit and therefore possess some of its characteristics, but very much limited and conditioned by the nature and inner condition of the medium in which it function.
A seeker of integral knowledge has to discover and develop all these intuitions but he must keep in mind that the perfect and totality of insight exists only in the spiritual source of intuition, which is the consciousness of our soul.
How to Develop Intuition
What is the path or discipline for developing intuition? One of the methods is to stretch the faculties of thought, feeling or will to its utmost limits. For example when the rational or logical mind, which is inherently incapable of perceiving the totality, makes the attempt to perceive the wholeness of life, stretching itself to its utmost limits, then it may arrive at some form of an intellectual insight or mental intuition into the whole. Similarly, brainstorming sessions, exploring multiple viewpoints some of them exactly opposites, can sometimes lead to a leap of intuition. And again, when the feeling or will stretches itself in an intense concentration or aspiration to pierce into a problem or an idea or an object, it may result in a leap of intuition. However, these method, though they can be experimented upon, are uncertain and tentative in their results, because they lack the foundation of calm and silence which is essential for receiving intuition without distortion.
There is a more effective discipline based on Yogic principles. This yogic path has four facets: inner silence, purity, alert mindfulness and introversion. The need for silence is obvious, and it is now recognized in many of the discussions on the subject. Intuition is a faculty, which belongs to the deeper and higher realms of consciousness beyond the surface intellectual and emotional mind. So to receive intuitions this surface mind has to be stilled. Here is a corporate example, Wayne Silby, founder of the Calvert Group is one of the first and largest socially responsible investment funds. When Calvert’s competitive advantage was in the verge of being destroyed due to new government legislation, Silby found an intuitive solution to the problem by meditating in a sensory deprivation tank. As Silby explains the inner state for receiving intuition:
“To get new ideas you need to have a space where your mind chatter and judgements in your mind about who you are and what you are doing are turned down. And you can get in touch with a deeper part of yourself that can start revealing patterns that are pretty awesome.”
However to arrive at a holistic solution or decisions related to higher values, mental silence is not enough. Along with silence there must be purity, which means certain minimum freedom from personal desire, impatience and eagerness for immediate results. The inner aspiration has to be a disinterested seeking for truth and knowledge without any desire for personal benefits and without any eagerness or impatience. The third factor is vigilance and consciousness. When the intuition descends from above or raise from within we must be mindful, vigilant and alert, to receive and assimilates its contents. The fourth factor is introversion. As we have indicated earlier, the source of intuition is the Soul or the spiritual self in us. So we must learn to enter into the depth of our heart and listen to the “still small voice” of the soul, and its unerring inner guidance and truth-sense. Here is a corporate example which comes close to this higher intuition:
“In the thick of negotiations to purchase New Age ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, Terry Mollner, founder of the Calvert Social Investment Funds, who is trying to buy the company-calls a time out. At this point people are ready to give up, walk out and end the discussion over a deal breaker issue. Mollner invites the table of tense, polarized people to be silent for a few moments and suggests that everyone ask themselves, ‘What is the truth here? What is the highest good for all?’ He then opens the floor to anyone to speak. One by one people lean forward and restate their position in a way that accommodates the other side. The negotiations move forward. Mollner repeats the ritual three times during weeks of negotiations, each time achieving the same breakthrough.”
The author is a student and practitioner in the path of integral yoga.