Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”  Oprah Winfrey

There is an unseen force that lives within each of us, and that connects us all.  We are energetic by nature, and that energy can guide us if only we can tune in to it.  One of the simplest ways to do this is by learning to honour our intuition.

There are many ways to do this, but today I’m going to focus on one: gut feeling.  Gut instinct or feeling is a primal response hard-wired into every human.

Gut feeling really does come from that area of your body – your abdomen.  It’s not a mind-based wisdom.  It doesn’t come from your heart.  It comes from that primal genetic material that is encoded and passed from parent to offspring.  In humans that is your original eight cells, which are located near your solar plexus.

So how do we tune in to this?  It’s easier than you think. Gut instinct does not use words or images.  Gut instinct uses emotions, and rockets along our central nervous system, which can also produce physical reactions.  It operates in 3 modes – neutral, forward and reverse. Some people call this the ‘sixth sense’. Some call it ‘mother’s intuition’.  Whatever the name, I’m sure you’ve all felt it and are familiar with it, whether you honour it or not.

In ‘forward’, we literally feel that we want to move closer to something.  We feel good about it.  We feel excited, happy and positive.  We can’t explain why, we can’t find the words for it, but we KNOW that something will work, that the person is good or honest, that this situation will be for the best, that this job/car/person/product/idea/food is the right choice.

In ‘neutral’ we feel indifference. There is no strong emotion or physical reaction either way.

In ‘reverse’ our gut is telling us to back away.  We feel unsure or uncomfortable.  The warning bells go off.  If it’s a mild response, this is where our brain often kicks in and invalidates our emotion (that can happen in ‘forward’ situations too!) by persuading our logical mind with rational thoughts and justifications.  In a strong response we may feel anxious or ill, we want to move back from this job/person/situation, we want to get to safety or a neutral space.  We can’t say why but we KNOW this won’t work well, this person can’t be trusted, something is wrong, it’s going to end badly…

This basic instinct is like a muscle – the more we use it, the stronger it becomes.  If we learn to trust it with the smaller things, eventually we’ll be able to hear and honour it with the bigger things.  This can be especially hard for people who are governed by their mind, which is why I recommend starting with small things that have no big ramifications in your life.

Here are some examples you may be familiar with:

  • Driving to work you suddenly feel like taking an alternative route.  You ignore that instinct and a minute past the turn-off you get stuck in a gridlock that makes you late. If you’d gone the other way you would have missed the traffic snarl.
  • In the supermarket you are drawn to a special: roasted chicken and a vast tub of coleslaw.  You really want to buy it, but that’s crazy.  There’s only you and that’s so much food.  You don’t buy it, and when you get home your sister and her family have arrived and that chicken and coleslaw would have been perfect…
  • You meet a guy, and your immediate reaction is one of dislike and distrust.  Everyone tells you how great he is, so you brush that initial feeling away.  Down the track your instinct is proved right when he turns out to be not-so-nice or trustworthy after all.  You kick yourself because you KNEW it all along!
If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll know that Master Yoda, the great Jedi has much to say about the Force.  Here’s some of what he told Luke Skywalker…

“My ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us… and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this… [nudging Luke’s arm] crude matter! You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere! Even between the land and the ship.”

If Luke learns to master the Force, as other Jedi have done, the Force can provide access to even higher levels of awareness and intuition.  Yoda explains, “Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past…old friends long gone.”

Animals don’t question that Force.  And because of that they are guided in incredible ways.  They trust their instincts. This youtube clip illustrates that energy and trust.  It’s magical…

Postscript: I’m a channel, and often that connection informs my writing. It means I sometimes write about things I don’t consciously understand or remember, which I then go and google (welcome to my life!) to find out their meaning.  That’s how I found out about the eight cells.

19 thoughts on “Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

  1. Interesting that you follow your intuition in matters of writing too, Nicole. I’m very much a thinker rather than an intuitive, although I think I have a strong sense of intuition. It would be good for me to follow my intuition more.

  2. Wow! That’s amazing what you said about the eight cells, and googling it afterwards. I also love that you quoted Master Yoda. That little speech always makes me tear up. Such a beautiful part of the film. Really, I cry every time the X-Wing rises out of the swamp. Geeklove. xxx Mani

  3. Another great post, Nicole. I’m very much in tune with my intuition, but can often talk myself out of it as being nonsense, but of course I pay for it every time. I just lurrrve the video – how amazing! Thank you for sharing such an honest and beautiful post ♥

  4. You are such a gift in my life Nicole…everyday your post’s touch me deeply. Intuition…yes…I do need to listen to it more…and it’s about trusting my self. The video was awesome…just beautiful!

  5. Hey Nicole, really great post on such an important topic! Totally backing up what you’ve said is the latest findings from neuroscience that we have complex and functional brains in both our gut and heart. These neural networks have intelligence, and we can learn to communicate with them and harness their wisdom. We’ve just completed 2 years of behavioral modeling research on the core competencies of the heart, gut and head brains (our multiple brains) and how to align them and utilize their deep intuitions. If you are interested, check out http://www.mbraining.com for more info on our findings. They totally match and support the ideas in your post.

    smiles, Marvin and Grant

      • Hey Nicole, THANKS!! We think the models we’ve uncovered are pretty cool and exciting too! And we really appreciate your passion and support 🙂 hugs and love back your way xxx

  6. Pingback: Trusting Your Instincts In Relationships | Cauldrons and Cupcakes

  7. Hello Nicole – I get so confused around this area – what if you make a decision about something big and feel excited and happy – although nervous – it’s quite far away.. but then find yourself worrying and yes having a negative gut reaction but then swinging towards and back again. Oh so tricky – is fear always a warning.. especially if we take steps in the meantime to deal with what’s worrying us so that when the time comes we’re better prepared. It’s the ifs and buts – the unknowns… love G

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