Intuitive experience journaling represents the primary tool in our work. This approach uses a structured format to tease out the subtle dimensions of intuitive experience. Before getting into the journaling guidelines, an orientation to the process will lay a clearer foundation. Journaling is experiential since we write about what happens when an intuitive insight occurs. Undertaking this work, we commit to a process of inner exploration to discover the subtleties of daily experience.
The experiential approach is in the grand tradition of intrapersonal discovery down through the ages. As suggested by the perennial wisdom, the place to begin our observation is in the experiences of everyday life. Attending to our intuitions, we find they are numerous and often deal with commonplace occurrences: anticipating a phone call, waiting for a delivery, reviewing for a presentation, changing a job assignment, etc. We have found that the more attention we pay to intuition, the more attention it pays to us!
Becoming an Inner Explorer
The study of intuition requires a broader perspective than traditional science. In addition to the physical sense data of the objective tradition, we need to use the self reports of subjective experience, the consensus of expert judges and the self reports of trained "inner explorers" that are characteristic of "noetic" science. This interdisciplinary study of mind and consciousness meets the challenge of understanding intuitive experience. Engaging The Intuitive Self requires us to become an inner explorer with the broadest possible scientific perspective.
The sine qua non for inner exploration as well as intuitive experience seems to be a quiet, relaxed mind focused in the present moment relatively free of distractions. For us this means being a "Meditator in the World." One way to connect with intuitive experiences is to pay close attention when our mental state spontaneously has this focused, reflective character. Then we can go one step further and evoke this state of mind for ourselves. Many practices to encourage the necessary attentive attitude are explored elsewhere on this web site.
We should include "unsuccessful" as well as "successful" intuitions. Those that are on target and from which we gain personal benefit are generally easier to identify than those which miss the mark and consequently provide no benefit or even a loss. We learn from both types of intuitions although the lessons may be different. So pay special attention to unsuccessful intuitions since they are easy to ignore. We need to track our "misses" as well as our "hits."
One key to understanding misses is that they represent situations when we were not attending to the moment. A strong sense of "not being in accord with what is happening" is a clear signal that we are not in a quiet, reflective state of mind. This is sensed when we are feeling "out of the flow." When things seem to be going wrong, we may have an insight about not being intuitive when The Intuitive Self recognizes that we missed an opportunity to deepen the quality of life!
Recognizing our Misses
What are the cues that will let us know when what we think is an intuition, really is not? Two behaviors seen to get at the heart of the matter: 1) when we flip flop back and forth over what to do and 2) when we are obsessive or paranoid about the outcome. Both situations are characterized by the absence of the simple clarity that marks insights which are right on the mark.
A businessman once said intuition is "what we know for certain without knowing for sure." For instance imagine saying, "I'm certain that so and so will happen, but I'm not sure why!" This means that we cannot rationally demonstrate our certainty, but we are clear about what is going to happen. That clarity is absent in situations where we are flip flopping or obsessive.
Accepting Bad Intuitions
We also need to accept intuitive insights that are disturbing. For instance we may "forsee" unfortunate circumstances or situations. Try not to be frightened away from the direct and honest Intuitive Self when this happens. That part of us does not discriminate between so called "good" and "bad" things. The Intuitive Self is indifferent to these distinctions. So receive the bad insights along with the good while opening to the full truth that lies within our being.
When all these good or bad and hit or miss experiences add up, significant opportunities exist for improving the quality of life with a Meditator in the World presence to what is going on moment to moment. So try to capture the dimensions of all experiences whether they are hits or misses and whether they are good or bad. We usually learn the most from so called bad or missed intuitions.
Capturing Intuitive Experiences
A microcassette tape recorder or a personal note pad may be useful aids for capturing intuitive experiences. A delay of just a few hours in completing a journal entry can make a significant difference in how much we remember. As with dreams, the specifics of intuitive experiences slip away easily and rapidly. Since it may be a day or two before we write the experience down, capture enough information with a tape recorder or note pad to complete the journal entry at a later time.
It is usually easier to connect with intuitive experiences in personal life. Recognizing these experiences in professional life seems to be more difficult for most people. However the fuller meaning and deeper value of reconnecting with The Intuitive Self requires that we discover intuition in all aspects of experience. Try to include journal entries from all areas of life to gain a clearer sense of their pervasive presence.
Choosing the Guidelines
You have the option of using the detailed or abbreviated journaling format. The abbreviated form was designed for those who feel time constraints prevent them from undertaking a committed engagement with The Intuitive Self. Since benefits are more than proportional to the level of detail, the complete form is recommended. But let intuition suggest the direction that is best for you to start an intuition journal.