This is the ninth in a series of “feelings”. Our most recent addition, Feelings VIII had to do with the feeling of joy, specifically related to the joy that one experiences in one’s five physical senses. Here we would like to explore joy that comes from what we might call our sixth sense, which I am calling intuition. This joy from intuition is something like when you say, “I don’t know why, but I just feel good (or joyful, or happy, or content).” Let’s consider together how we might understand, value, and express this intuitive joy.
What is intuition?
This word “intuition” is sometimes used too much and sometimes not used at all, so I want to be careful in how I suggest we use it for the feeling of joy. Importantly, I subsume this word intuition under the heading of the word feelings that we have been studying these recent weeks. Recall that the word “feelings” as I am using the term is very important but does not lend itself to any exact definition. Succinctly put, feeling is first a physical feeling, secondly an emotional feeling, thirdly a thinking feeling, and fourthly an activity-based feeling. People tend to express their feelings in one of these arenas. For instance there are people who express their feelings primarily with their body experiences, others with their emotion, others with their thoughts, and others with their activities. I think feelings encompasses all four of these phenomena in life, and that emotional maturity requires us to become more fluent in all of these ways of expressing feelings.
Some people call intuition a “gut level feeling,” and such people profess that they experience these sixth sense feelings during dreams, whether awake or asleep. Some people consider such intuitive feelings spiritual. And while some people would use the term “spiritual” to explain this experience, but certainly this sixth sense is not limited to religious experiences however profound they might be. When we talk about a sixth sense, we might even be talking about one of the five senses operating at a level beyond our awareness. Neuropsychologists might be able to see what part of the brain is firing when we have this intuitive experience, but we will defer that discussion to folks who are more skilled than we are in matters neurological. We can say that times of joy come with people and without people. Consider the following.
Times of joy with people
People of some personality types have their greatest times of joy with people, while others find joy in other avenues. People-based joy can come in many forms including:
- In depth conversation
- Simple weather-related brief interaction
- Sharing an experience with someone
- Being in a familiar group of friends or family
- Being in a lecture where everyone is intent on learning the same thing
- Caring for a child or playing with a child
- Planning or thinking about a future event with people
Times of joy without people
Consider the many times you have found joy being alone, perhaps when you were:
- Reading a new book or a favorite poem
- Appreciating some special aspect of nature
- Remembering a very special time you had when you were alone
- Writing something, like this blog
- Playing by yourself, whatever that might be
- Working alone on a project without any interruption
- Praying or meditating
If you acknowledge that you have this feeling, this “sense of something,” you will then be able to consider whether it is a simple thought or emotion that has passed through your head, or a profound understanding of something important to you. If this sixth sense feeling stays with you beyond a few seconds, you need to take a moment and allow it to run its course. If this feeling comes and goes within a few seconds, you don’t have to spend time trying to bring it into consciousness, but if this feeling stays with you, your next task is to give it some room.
Giving intuition room
Giving intuition “room” means allowing yourself the freedom to experience intuition time to unfold. Again: you might notice something physical, emotional, intellectual, or action oriented. This is easier for some people than it is for others, probably due to personality type and temperament. If you do this easily, you may be predominantly an intuitive person, but if giving intuition room is difficult, you may be a person who is more practical, rational, or analytical. It is possible to give intuition room by allowing yourself to feel something that has no exact cause, which again, is easier for some people than it is for others. Everyone is intuitive in some way, but not all people acknowledge this intuition, even to themselves.
Giving intuition room is quite simply allowing yourself to experience this feeling, this gut-level, analytical, emotional, or physical thing without knowing what “it” is. Just feeling it. True intuition can lead to amazing scientific discoveries to which many scientists attest, or to insights about oneself or the universe at large. “Just feeling” an intuition means allowing yourself to experience intuition in the way that is most natural to you: physical, emotional, intellectual, or activity-based. There are times when you feel an intuition about potential danger, but most intuitions are quite apart from danger and the fear that accompanies danger. Once you have given intuition room, you often will discover that you have a feeling of joy. Let’s consider how that might happen:
- For people who are primarily physical in their experience of intuition, they might experience a very pleasant physical experience, perhaps a physical calm, a physical strength, or better yet a feeling of general body pleasure
- For people who are emotional, they will most likely feel inclined to cry, crying being an expression of joy (and of course of sorrow), but joy that is born of love
- For people who are intellectual, they may experience this intuition in a sense of knowing something or understanding something
- For people who are activity-based, they might experience intuition while doing something, very often having success in some physical endeavor.
Consider the joys in your life. Consider writing them down. Consider putting them into a poem…or a project. Consider sharing them with someone. Trust your intuition
Feelings 1-VIII blogs
Pillard, N. (2015). Jung and intuition. London: Karnac
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper and Row.
Schutz, W. (1967). Joy: expanding human awareness. New York: Grove Press
Freedman, J. (1978). Happy people: what happiness is, who has it, and why. New York: Harcourt Brace.