On Intuition

I recently discovered that whenever my intuition tells me that I want to expand in a certain direction, I am immediately met with an inner contraction, an inner force that opposes the original intention. That has been causing me plenty of frustration and I’ve been seeking to understand what is going on. This is what I found.

In order to follow one’s intuition, one needs to be able to trust the involuntary forces within one’s self, without the interference of the mind’s need to control. One needs to be able to believe that trusting these forces leads to good things and thus, to believe in one’s basic goodness. Therefore, intuition cannot function without this letting go of control of the mind and then the faith in one’s spontaneous inner movements.

As you can see, there are two sides to this… one is the excessive control of the mind, the other is the fear of the self and they are very much related to one another.

The excessive control of the mind

If one is afraid to trust their intuition because they are afraid of where it may lead to, one always needs explanations of why things feel the way they do before they can be convinced that they can act on those impressions. That means that they invest the mind with control over these involuntary forces, with the responsibility to contain things, much like a holding a horse by the reins.

But while self-discipline is needed and a degree of self-containment is necessary, this misinterpretation of how much control is needed bars the way even to positive manifestations. It bars the way to curiosity, adventure, exploration, to the sense of freedom itself. The personality not only denies themselves this freedom, but seeks external restrictions as well, such as a moral authority who can tell them what is right. There are a number of side effects that ensue:

  1. one’s inability to act on one’s own considerations and perspectives on things
  2. one’s lack of clarity about what one’s values are or what is important to them
  3. needing permission from others to act
  4. relying on intellectual justifications to the exclusion of how one feels (not taking how one feels into account as a valid argument)
  5. fear of taking independent action

The excessive control of the mind is also a way for the mind to get control in the aftermath of trauma. Trauma can mess up the structure of the being and turn it into a Picasso painting. It’s much like scrambling a Rubik’s cube: now you have colors all over the place, things are no longer where they’re supposed to be and suddenly you find yourself being willful where you should be passive and passive where you should be willful. I think that happens because the mind wants to get back in control, trying to compensate for the emotional overwhelm. Seeing so many involuntary forces coming out and feeling threatened about where they may lead, the mind intervenes and tries to bring some order to the chaos, thus creating rules and mental structures for safety – a more restrictive system to operate in. Not only that but one may find themselves completely confused about what they want or need, only having their feelings to rely on.

That’s why learning to trust one’s intuition means letting go more and more of the mind’s control and relying more and more on how things “feel” like. After all, the subconscious contains a wealth of information that the conscious mind doesn’t have access to. Always waiting to get clarity before one acts means losing opportunities that required just a bit of trust in the unknown.

And this brings me to:

The fear of the self

In order to trust one’s intuition, one needs to trust that one’s involuntary forces can lead to good things and that means to have faith in one’s unknown. The law of correspondence says “as above, so below. as within, so without”. In the same way, trusting the unknown within means trusting the unknown without. It is the same attitude, faith and letting go of control. Much like taking a leap into the wide open.

But there is one thing that prevents this trust and that is the fear of the self. If there is still unprocessed negativity that the personality has not worked through, one will continue to believe in the necessity of self-restriction. One will continue to believe in the necessity of self-deprivation because one senses that what one may want with the healthy part of the personality is mixed with other motivations. Therefore, one cannot let themselves experience that freedom and fulfillment they so ardently seek, because they are pushing against the spring of their own negativity.

In a sense, this is the law of paying the price. One needs to sacrifice these negative attitudes before one can reach towards that which they desire with a clear conscience. That’s why these resistances shouldn’t be pushed through or overcome by sheer force, I believe there is a spiritual law at play, at least that’s how I conceive of it. I really believe that the quote “the only way out is through” is the way to go. Experiencing, expressing in a contained environment and understanding one’s negativity is how one comes out the other side and learns to deal with the fear of the self.

I find that the following Pathwork Lecture is illuminating in this regard:

Part of being on a spiritual path means getting good at attuning to things, getting good at sensing how things feel like. If one considers the possibility that one is not an isolated part of the whole, but a manifestation of the whole – like a unique movement that the whole Universe is doing – one can experiment with this possibility by trusting the spontaneous, involuntary nudges one feels within themselves and observe the chain of cause and effect that this leads to.

But surrender isn’t something that one can always so easily give themselves up to, even if they are willing. To trust one’s spontaneous movements one must be unguarded, undefended and trust their goodness at their innermost levels. That is when they can go back from being the ripple in the ocean to being the ocean itself.

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