People tend to wrap intuition, psychic abilities, and energy sensitivity in a shroud of mystery, usually laced with fear and intrigue. This makes for great TV, but it’s just not helpful to those who are trying to understand or develop these skills. I tend to lean the other way and take a very analytical approach to extrasensory perception. It will all be explainable by science, once we develop instruments capable of measuring subtle energies.
First, we need to discuss how we process information. We use our 5 basic senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste) as an interface to understand the world around us. This information comes into our brains through either direct contact or what we call imagination. There are endless studies showing that the brain treats both methods identically, which is the power behind visualization. The brain fires the same neurons, releases the same chemicals, for both the real deal and the imagined image. Want proof? The simplest, if not a bit crude, is the sexual fantasy. Your body reacts the same way if your partner is physically present as it does with an imagined liaison.
Next, we need to get comfortable with the imagination. This takes practice, and you will naturally be more adept with some senses than others. Let’s start with a rose. Close your eyes and visualize a rose. Add as much detail as you can. Then begin to add in other senses: How does it smell? Can you feel the petals? The thorns? Spend some time with this image, and really explore your senses. Then try this with an orange, or cinnamon tea, or petting the cat. As I said, this takes practice, so try a few different images each day and see what happens.
Now we get to the good stuff… there are two ways the imagination is activated: by creating with the mind, and by the intuition. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked! If you are actively thinking about imagining a rose, then you are creating that experience yourself. If you are minding your own business, getting groceries or cleaning the house, and the image (visual, smell, whatever) of a rose pops up by itself, then it is intuition that put it there. The only difference between intuitive people and non-intuitive people is how they react to this unexpected information: Non-intuitives justify this experience, while intuitives simply accept it with curiosity. The difference sounds like this: Non-intuitives say, “I must be thinking about a rose because I saw some in my neighbor’s yard yesterday,” while intuitives say, “A rose? I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I wonder what that means.”
Intuitive people are open to accepting an experience with wonder and curiosity. Non-intuitive people have to justify there experience.
You can see the appeal of justifying an experience. We are conditioned to believe it is neccessary to control our thoughts, and that we are solely responsible for anything that happens in our mental process. It can be terrifying to accept that things can appear in your brain without you putting them there. Kind of a control freak’s worst nightmare, really. It’s so much more natural, at least in this society, to justify a thought or feeling than it is to accept that you’re experiencing something you didn’t generate.
So how do you strengthen your intuition? Awareness. Trust. Practice. It takes time to build this muscle of intuition. Practice using your imagination, and be aware of your thoughts so you notice when something unexpected slips into your awareness. The more you work with it, the stronger it gets.