Where does Intuition come from? Opening to Unconscious Cognition

Intuition is a natural part of being human. It is a universal human attribute, yet there is a vast range in how much each person pays attention to intuition or utilizes intuitive information to navigate life. For myself, being an “intuitive” is simply a matter of being hypersensitive and paying close attention to the information coming in. Learning to discern and utilize this information is a skill that anyone can develop.  

Intuition provides the bridge to your Non-Conscious Mind

In our western culture analytical thinking and logic, left brain hemisphere centered activities, are more highly valued than intuition. These left hemisphere mental abilities reside in the conscious part of you which makes up only about 5% of your consciousness as a whole. The conscious part of you is the part that relates to the world and interprets your experiences. In our culture left brain conscious cognitive functioning is prioritized. That leaves 95% of your consciousness and most of the information governing your functioning, outside of conscious range. So how do you get to this valuable information? Intuition is the key. It provides the bridge between the conscious and the non conscious parts of you. It furnishes you with the ability to know things without analytic reasoning. 

Where does Intuition come from?

Intuition comes from within you, specifically your systems; your body, heart, mind and spirit. As you engage life your systems are constantly receiving, processing and responding to the energy of life. Most of this occurs without your conscious awareness. Raising consciousness is simply a matter of tuning in to more of the information you are walking around with everyday. All of the systems work together, interdependently, receiving energy on a physical, emotional, mental and energetic level. There is a massive amount of information coming in each moment through all the different senses and receptor channels. 

Cognitive Functioning occurs both Consciously and Unconsciously

Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Your mind system governs your cognitive functioning. Only a small percent of the information is highlighted to form your conscious mind while the vast majority of this information and the functioning of your systems occurs unconsciously. The cognitive functions of the mind include attention, memory, perception, learning, problem solving, language and decision making. 

Unconscious cognition is the performance of these functions and the processing of energy without you being aware of it. To give an example of this; within the body systems, many of your basic needs such as breathing, digesting and making memories is handled by your unconscious cognition. Greater awareness, consciousness, of the information being generated is available through your intuitive channels. 

Where are the Intuitive Channels to your Unconscious Cognition?

There are intuitive channels within all of your systems; body, heart, mind and spirit. I will touch on this by talking about the body systems which are the easiest to relate to. Within your physical body and brain specifically, intuition centers in the right hemisphere. In the brain your intuitive awareness, in the right hemisphere communicates with your cognition in the left hemisphere and becomes a part of your conscious mind. The body as a whole though, is full of neural pathways with receptors (Receptors are biological transducers that convert energy from both external and internal environments into electrical impulses.) which are taking in and interpreting information. 

I will give you a few examples of where you can connect with these neural pathways. Your heart and gut each contain their own neural network, similar to the brain. Your gut network provides an intuitive channel to that “gut feeling” about the physical world and life situations. It is particularly good at warning you about danger.  Whereas, your heart network provides you with an intuitive channel into the meaning of emotional input and life events. This may be experienced as a strong pull towards one thing and a recoiling from another. And finally, the sensory organs are chock full of receptors providing you access to perceive and engage the world around you. Each of your senses provides you with a distinct intuitive channel. This is why intuition is often referred to as the 6th sense, ESP or extra ”sensory” perception because it is most commonly understood as it is expressed through an individual with a heightened sense perception. 

Different Types of Intuitive Channels 

Human beings are intricate and complex in the reception of life and as such intuition takes many forms. When a sense or other receptor is hypersensitive and highly developed it provides a clear channel to the information coming through those particular neural receptors. The key being it is a “clear” channel. To give a few examples of commonly known types; there is clairvoyance (‘clear seeing’), clairaudience (‘clear hearing’), clairalience (‘clear smelling’), clairgustance (‘clear tasting’) and clairsentience (‘clear feeling’) and claircognizance (‘clear cognition’). These intuitive abilities represent an extra-ordinary, beyond the typical range, capability. Intuition is really not all that mysterious when you break it down. 

Opening to your Unconscious Cognition

  1. Stop Dismissing Your Intuition and Practice Paying Attention         

First, you must stop dismissing your intuitive awareness, even if you do not act upon it. Pay attention to those gut feelings, strong emotions when around certain people, inspired thoughts and ideas that seem to come from nowhere,  synchronicities or vivid dreams. Notice the things that pull you, particularly if they seem illogical. Simply make a mental note and approach the experience with curiosity. 

Observe your intuitive awareness and pay attention to when the information proves to be accurate. Ask yourself: How did you receive the information? Was it a vision or dream, something you heard, a gut feeling …? And, how did you feel when it came? Over time you will learn how your human instrument (body, heart, mind and spirit systems integrated into one whole being) works and how you personally access your intuition. You will learn to trust yourself and be able to utilize this information to inform your choices in life. 

  1. Prepare Your Vessel and Create the Time & Space        

Preparing your vessel is essentially clearing out the clutter and distractions to create the room for intuitive awareness to come in. Basic health hygiene plays a role. When you have adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration your body is a clearer channel. The same is true of a healthy heart, mind and spirit. 

Create the time and space to open to your intuitive awareness. Be still, quiet and present. You can meditate or focus on your breath as you clear your mind and heart of distractions. And then just open, allow and notice without challenging what comes, trying to figure out what it means or judging it. Be patient, it takes time and practice just like any new skill you learn. 

  1. Know Yourself and Know Your Filter to Exercise Discernment      

Self awareness is key. Individuals tend to have more clarity in receiving information through particular intuitive channels, than others. The same is true regarding different domains of experience. You may be spot on intuiting in one area of life while others are not within reach. It is important to know these things as you begin to utilize intuitive information to navigate life. Always begin with your clearest channel and domain of experience when integrating this information into your decision making.

Know where your “stuff” is. This can be conditioned beliefs or prejudices that are limiting(not universal), wounding or unresolved issues. Your “stuff” will block or distort your access to clear intuition. Just as it is important to know when you are likely receiving clear information it is equally important to know when you are likely not because you have “stuff” in the way. The only course of action here is to address your issues and blocks to begin to clear out the channels.

Exercising Your Intuitive Muscles 

Once you have a foundation in place of opening to your unconscious cognition, proceed with the following exercises to extricate more intuitive information. 

  1. Ask Questions

Start in a quiet, still place and then pose a question to which you desire the answer. The key here is patience and the willingness to accept that an answer may not come. Wait for the answer. Don’t “think” about it or try to figure it out. Intuition is received, it is not found. Become an empty vessel with the curiosity of a child. Remember, it’s okay if you don’t get an answer, don’t give up, it can take time to develop the ability to listen within. Pay attention to what does come, even if it seems unrelated, just make a mental note of it. 

A truly clear answer will have some form of visceral response attached to it. This can be a body sensation, an emotional surge, a sudden clear view of the situation or an unshakable sense of knowing. These will be the exception rather than the rule in approaching this exercise. This is why it is important not to dismiss the seemingly unrelated information(visions, thoughts, sensation…) that comes before a clear answer does. The key is to keep the energy channel open, the energy flow generated by your curiosity and your focus on receiving the answer. 

  1. Open to a Free Flow Stream of Consciousness 

A stream of consciousness is opened when you allow a flow of energy to move through you and take the form it chooses, rather than you imposing form upon it. This can be done in a variety of ways. Some suggestions you can try are writing, speaking, singing, playing an instrument or drawing. Give yourself a half an hour to write, speak, draw… whatever moves through you. Just begin, don’t wait for inspiration to sing, dance, write… anything. Give yourself (your conscious mind specifically) over to allowing the unconscious parts of you to express. 

Don’t stop to think, analyze or reflect upon what is occurring. Just keep going with whatever is coming through and allow the energy flow of your unconscious awareness to take form for a half an hour. I suggest doing this at least once a week as it stimulates the flow between the conscious and unconscious parts of you. 

  1. Keep a Sensory Journal 

Pick a time, or a few, throughout the day and set an alarm. When the alarm goes off take a few minutes to open and observe what you are sensing through your seven basic senses; tactile(touch), gustatory(taste), olfactory(smell), auditory(hear), vision(see), vestibular(movement) and proprioception(position). Keep a record of your observations. Your focus ought to remain on what you are sensing, drawing conclusions from this information comes later. This is a time to open to your body’s sensory awareness. 

Once a week, read through your sensory journal allowing for clarity to emerge. Notice your sensory response to reading your journal. Don’t analyze the information, just feel it and let it go. Sometimes intuitive awareness will become conscious during this part of the exercise, but not always. Sometimes it will simply stimulate your intuitive receptors and the intuitive awareness will emerge at later time, often when you are not thinking about it. 

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