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Developing Your Seventh Sense

May the Force Be With You:

Developing Your Seventh Sense

 

 

In grade school we’re taught that we have five senses–sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste–that help us navigate and interpret the world around us. Each of these senses uses an organ or body part (eyes, ears, skin, nose, tongue) to interface with and analyze the environment. We also have what is often referred to as a sixth sense–intuition.

Intuition is an inner sense and it emerges from subtle, barely perceptible body sensations. Intuition involves a feeling of having received information without having used any apparent method to access it. Sometimes we just know something, without having to analyze it, remember it or even think about it. Intuition is information that simply “pops” into awareness without any apparent prompting. It brings new and novel ideas, it warns us of danger and it guides us toward our highest good­–if we learn to recognize and capture the fleeting ideas and subtle sensations that are the hallmark of intuitive sensing.

Perhaps you have had an instance, where, in hindsight, you realized that, had you previously been nudged by an intuitive awareness, but it was so faint and fleeting that you passed it off as just another any random thought. Wouldn’t it be great to have a warning that an intuition is coming, an intuitive cue, that alerts us to the fact that an intuition is about to emerge? Well, there is such an early-warning system that can help us capture those elusive and unpredictable intuitive insights. It is sometimes called the felt sense.

I call it pre-intuition…the seventh sense. On occasion, I also call it “the niggling,” because that is what it feels like to me–a gentle but definite sense of something stirring within the pit of my stomach, producing sensations of slight unease and a mental feeling of snapping to attention. It is a a brief and subtle, but clearly recognizable alert signal, a message to myself to “pay attention.”   

Psychologist Eugene Gendlin, who popularized the term, felt sense, describes it as a sensation within the body that forms at the border zone between conscious and unconscious awareness. Although unclear and unfocused at first, as we pay more attention to it, this pre-intuitive sensation gradually becomes more conscious and its meaning more clear. These sensations offer us a whole, fully-formed and complex message, even though it may surface into consciousness as only a single word, phrase or image. As we become more aware of the bodily sensations that make up our own unique felt sense or pre-intuitive message system, we can learn to more easily recognize it. Each time we do, each time we react to it and use it, it becomes strengthened through the conscious-subconscious feedback loop. Over time, it becomes a clear, strong easily recognizable cue, an efficient and effective early-warning system.

Common pre-intuition signals include pit-of-the-stomach sensations, like my stirring, “niggling” sensation, or a sense of one’s stomach “dropping.” Sensations in other parts of the body include a “catch” in the breath, a sense of your skin “crawling” or a sudden feeling of cold or dread. As you begin to notice your pre-intuition sensations and use them, they often become accompanied by a mental sensation as well. You may have a subtle but noticeable sense of heightened awareness, much like the mind state that accompanies a one-focused meditation, where you are both relaxed and alert at the same time, and highly focused on the present moment, as you await the experience that will follow. Over time, you become more attuned to these sensations and are able to notice them more readily and clearly. When this happens, the process becomes automatic and you then have a reliable and extremely valuable pre-alert system always in place, available to alert you to any intuitions or creative insights that may surface. You will never again have to look back in hindsight and regret a missed opportunity to respond to an intuitive message.

 



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