Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 22: Inspiration and the Overself > Chapter 1: Intuition the Beginning
Intuition the Beginning
The spiritual nature can only be discovered spiritually--not intellectually, not emotionally, and certainly not physically. Such a spiritual discovery can only be attained intuitively.
The mystery into which we have been born is not penetrable by weaving fancy or logical intellect. But intuition, if we are patient enough and willing enough to follow it, can lead us into an overwhelming experience where we discover that IT is there, always there.
It is not through any intellectual process of reasoning from premise to conclusion that we come to know we exist, but through an immediate and spontaneous intuition.
Intuition moves thought and penetrates feeling, so that it is often mistaken for them. Yet its true nature is something other than both theirs.
Intuition is the mind's inner light.
Where ego merely believes, intuition definitely knows.
There is an intermediate entity, compounded of the ego's best part and the point of contact with the Overself. Call it the higher mind, the conscience, or the intellectual intuition, if you wish.
The discovery of its presence makes possible a form of communication between person and Overself which is passive, not active. That is, he is directed guided or corrected in and through his human faculties, intuitively. The person acts, does, thinks, speaks, and decides as if he were doing so completely alone. But he is not: he is responding to the Overself, to the effects of its presence, now unhindered by his ego.
Whether we call an intuition a "thought-feeling" or an "emotive thought," it is still something that is deeper than thinking, different from ordinary feelings.
There is a sacred oracle within, to which the problems of life and living can be carried in our calmer moments. Its laconic answers may or may not need interpretation.
In this matter we mistake the common type for the normal type. The mystically minded person is not usually met with, but he is nearer true normality than the materially minded one. For one part of his human psyche--the intuitive--is at least functioning, whereas it is "dead" in the other man.
There is a faculty in man which knows truth when it sees it, which needs no argument, reflection, or cogitation to attest or prove what it knows.
There is another way of knowing beside the ordinary way, through the channels of eyes or thoughts, a way which can be found only by quietening the mind and stilling the emotions.
Here is this wonderful potency in man lying largely unused, this faculty of intuition that links him with a higher order of being.
However arguable his theories may be, the scientific facts which Freud produced are less debatable. And he must be praised for having included among them the important fact that highly complicated mental acts are sometimes performed unconsciously. An immense accumulation of facts and experiences is contained within the deeper level of the mind as in a storehouse upon which we may unknowingly draw. The possibility--nay, the certainty--of intuition becomes perfectly explicable when the existence of this deeper level is accepted. The successful transference of any of these facts or any lessons of these experiences from the hidden to the conscious region constitutes one particular form of what we call an intuition.
The need for advancing individuals is to go beyond the intellect, to draw from the intuition or to find inspiration.
How many minds have pondered over life and searched for its meaning, only to feel baffled in the end, and held back by their own limitations? For although the active intellect naturally asks such questions, only the intuition can answer them adequately. But the latter is the least cultivated of all our faculties and the most torpid, and this is why we have no access to the answers, and why the questions remain troublesome or even torturing.
The same mind which men use to understand that two added to three totals five cannot be used to understand that he who loses himself finds himself.
The messages which come to the human race from the kingdom of heaven, mercifully come through different channels of its psyche. The Word may be received in abstract mental activity as well as utter mental stillness, in passive aesthetic appreciation as well as active creation.
The intuition is a mystical faculty, whose messages may dawn slowly on the conscious mind or emerge into it suddenly.
These intuitive feelings tell us that a deeper kind of Being is at the base of our ordinary consciousness.
It is almost impossible to put into thoughts that which is above thoughts. But hints, suggestions, and symbols may render some service. Only intuition, which comes up by itself, can come closer still to the truth and deliver what is more like it.
If intellect fails to touch Reality, what can? The answer is intuition and inspiration.
That intuition is often mistaken for insight reveals one of the defects of mysticism. There are some who even question the validity of all insight, and, indeed, this is a sensible question to raise. The whole problem needs threshing out in a paper on the subject. Meanwhile, I must remind those who were troubled by what was written in the appendix to The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga that insight is not concerned with mundane matters, but only with what is beyond our time-space dimensions. Quite obviously, no one has the right to apply such a term to views concerning such matters as intellectual theology or physical diet. Intuition can, however, deal with these quite effectively--when it is, itself, checked by reason.
If we lack the capacity to comprehend, gauge, or perceive the Infinite, we do have the capacity to feel its presence intuitively.
Spirit--impenetrably mysterious, without form or figure, yet as real to the mystic as matter is to the materialist--finds its voice in man and Nature, in art and circumstance.
Faint glimmerings fall upon our sight from above through furtive gleams of intuition.
These delicate intuitive impulses can produce no impression on ordinary minds.
We can convince the intellect that the soul exists--but the only really adequate proof is intuitive personal experience of it.
The discovery of the soul's existence is not a result of intellectual analysis or of emotional feeling but of intuitive experience.
The intuition should be accorded the highest place among man's faculties. It should always lead or direct them.
Knowledge of the facts concerning man and his nature, his general destiny and spiritual evolution, can be gained by the intuition; but information concerning the details of his personal history must be gleaned, if at all, by the psychical faculty.
The intuition appears indirectly in aesthetic ecstasy and intellectual creativity, in the pricking of conscience, in the longing for relief from anxieties, or peace of mind. It appears directly only in mystical realization.
The intuition comes from, and leads to, the Overself.
It is the strength or feebleness of our intuition which determines the grade of our spiritual evolution. What begins as a gentle surrender to intuition for a few minutes, one day resolves into a complete surrender of the ego to the Overself for all time.
The intuitive method should not be asked to solve problems which can easily be solved by the reason; otherwise it may fail to respond. On the other hand, when intuition is working, intellect should retire.
To find your way to the major truths it is not enough to use the intellect alone, however sharpened it may be. Join intuition to it: then you will have intelligence. But how does one unfold intuition? By penetrating deeper and hushing the noise of thoughts.
Intuition tells us what to do. Reason tells us how to do it. Intuition points direction and gives destination. Reason shows a map of the way there.
To the inexperienced or ignorant the conclusions of reason and the discoveries of intuition may clash, but to the matured they accommodate and adjust themselves harmoniously.
We may oppose one thing to another if both are on the same plane, but not if they are on unequal planes. Intuition is not anti-intellectual but super-intellectual.
When intuition guides and illuminates intellect, balances and restrains the ego, that which the wise men called "true intelligence" rises.
The intuition never needs to hunger for truth. While the intellect is seeking and starving for it, the intuition already knows and feels it.
Intuition is truth drawn from one's own self, that is, from within, be it a practical or a spiritual truth, whereas intellect squeezes its conclusion out of presented evidence, that is, from without.
Calculation may be pushed by the ego to the point of cunning. The first is quite proper to the business world and the mathematical sphere, but in the area of spiritual seeking it has only a limited applicability. The second is quite useless here. What is here of greater worth than both is intuition. But because this latter faculty is little developed in most people, they have to be content for the time with simple trust. But this is not a faculty; it is a trait of character. It may mislead a person if he puts it into the wrong channel, or it may serve him well if he places it properly.
While the intellect argues waveringly at length, the intuition affirms confidently in an instant. While the one gropes among the appearances and shadows of truth, the other walks straight toward truth.
Ordinarily, ample time is needed to accumulate data and deliberate properly before correct decisions or judgements can be made. None of this is necessary to make them intuitively, for the intuition itself operates out of time and beyond thought.
An intuitive idea is quite different from one derived from the customary process of logical thinking. Unless it is distorted or muddled by the man himself, it is always reliable. Can we say the same of an intellectual idea?
The best wisdom of a man does not come out of acuteness of thinking; it comes out of depth of intuition.
The danger of intellectualizing these intuitions is that they flee while we prepare to examine them. This is why our theological seminaries produce so many competent religious orators, but so few inspired religious prophets. This is why the art schools produce so many people who can draw good lines and space drawings so well, but so few who can draw something that is individual and outstanding. The intellect is necessary to the complete person, but it should be kept in its place and made to realize that when it approaches such an intuition, it treads on holy ground.
Reasoned thinking can only check the guidance or revealing of intuition, whereas the latter can actually guide and illumine the path of the former.
Where the shrewdest judgement finds itself bewildered, the mysterious faculty of intuition moves unhesitatingly and surely.
It was a period of absolute clarity, when the thought of a problem was welded into one with its solution, when there was no gap of time between question and answer.
If anyone has a clear intuition about a matter, it would be foolish of him to trust intellect alone in the same matter.
The intellect is one medium of understanding, the intuition is another.
The intuition should give orders which the intellect should carry out. The reasoning and practicality needed to do so and to attend to their details will then be provided by the intellect itself. But the original function of giving direction and the authority of giving command will be vested in the intuition alone.
Intuition reaches a conclusion directly, without the working of any process of reasoned thinking.
What the thinking intellect in him cannot receive, the mystical intuition can.
The secret has yielded itself again and again, but not to man's logical thinking; it has yielded itself only to man's subtle intuition.
"After long thought and observation I became aware of a second brain or gland, locked in the region of the heart, which commanded with authority. I discovered that most of the difficulties of life were the result of the head-brain attempting to do the work of the heart-brain. It was like a skilled laborer trying to assume the place of a high-powered engineer." (source unknown)
Cultivating, developing intuition
His first step is to detect the presence of the higher Power consciously in himself through vigilantly noting and cultivating the intuitions it gives him.
He must educate himself to recognize the first faint beginnings of "the intuitive mood" and train himself to drop everything else when its onset is noticed.
Intuitive feelings are so easily and hence so often drowned in the outer activity of the body, the passions, the emotions, or the intellect, that only a deliberate cultivation can safeguard and strengthen them.
We may ardently want to do what is wholly right and yet not know just what this is. This is particularly possible and likely when confronted with two roads and when upon the choice between them the gravest consequences will follow. It is then that the mind easily becomes hesitant and indecisive. The search for the wisest choice may not end that day or that month. Indeed, it may not end until the last hour of the last day. This is how the aspirants are tested to see if they can humble the ego with the realization that they are no longer capable of making their own decision but must turn it over to the higher self and wait in quiet patience for the result. But when finally the intuitive guidance does emerge after such deep, sincere, and obedient quest of God's will, it will do so in a formulation so clear and self-evident as to be beyond all doubt.
He has to bring his problems and lay them at the feet of the higher self and wait in patience until an intuitive response does come. But this is not to say that he has to lay them before his timid fears or eager wishes. The first step is to take them out of the hold of the anxious fretting intellect or the blind egoistic emotional self.
One of the first steps is to watch out for those infrequent moments when deeply intuitive guidance, thoughts, or reflections make their unexpected appearance. As soon as they are detected, all other mental activities should be thrown aside, all physical ones should be temporarily stilled, and he should sink himself in them with the utmost concentration. Even if he falls into a kind of daze as a result, it will be a happy and fortunate event, possibly a glimpse.
The secret is to stop, on the instant, whatever he is doing just then, or even whatever he is saying, and reorient all his attention to the incoming intuition. The incompleted act, the broken sentence, should be deserted, for this is an exercise in evaluation.
The whole of this quest is really a struggle towards a conception of life reflecting the supreme values. Hence throughout its course the aspirant will feel vague intuitions which he cannot formulate. Only a master can do that.
It is better to wait, if intuition is not at once apparent, till all favourable facts are found and till full knowledge is gained of the unfavourable ones before deciding an issue.
The intuition grows by use of it and obedience to it.
The intuitive faculty can be deliberately cultivated and consciously trained.
Intuitive guidance comes not necessarily when we seek it, but when the occasion calls for it. It does not usually come until it is actually needed. The intellect, as part of the ego, will often seek it in advance of the occasion because it may be driven by anxiety, fear, desire, or anticipation. Such premature seeking is fruitless.
When one has reviewed a problem from all its angles, and has done this not only with the keenest powers of the mind but also with the finest qualities of the heart, it should be turned over at the end to the Overself and dismissed. The technique of doing so is simple. It consists of being still. In the moment of letting the problem fall away, one triumphs over the ego. This is a form of meditation. In the earlier stage it is an acknowledgment of helplessness and weakness in handling the problem, of personal limitations, followed by a surrender of it (and of oneself) to the Overself in the last resort. One can do no more. Further thought would be futile. At this point Grace may enter and do what the ego cannot do. It may present guidance either then, or at some later date, in the form of a self-evident idea.
The commonest error is to try to produce and manufacture intuition. That can't be done. It is something which comes to you. Hence don't expect it to appear when concentrating on a problem, but if at all after you've dismissed the problem. Even then it is a matter of grace--it may or may not come.
He must watch vigilantly for the impulses of self-interest which interfere with the truth of intuitions or reflections.
We must be ready to fly in the face of worldly wisdom if our inner mentor so bids it. We shall not rue the day we acted so.
The giving up of all earthly desires, the liberation of the heart from all animal passions, the letting go of all egoistic grasping--these attitudes will arise spontaneously and grow naturally if a man is truly quest-minded, so that his intuition will assert itself little by little.
Will he be willing to follow its lead if it bears him in a contrary direction to the one he thought it ought or would do?
Often intuition does not advise him until the time for an action or a decision or a move is nearly at hand. So he must wait patiently until it does and not let intellect or imagination construct fanciful plans which may be cancelled by intuition's arisal.
Without this constant listening for intuitive guidance, and submission to it, we waste much time putting right the mistakes made or curing the sickness which could have been prevented or bemoaning the calamity which willpower could have averted. None of these are God's will, but our own causation.
Being guided intuitively does not mean that every problem will be solved instantly as soon as it appears. Some solutions will not come into consciousness until almost the very last minute before they are actually needed. He learns to be patient, to let the higher power take its own course.
"We can thank intuition for many of the inventions that surround us every day," said C.G. Suits, General Electric Company's chief of research. "I know that intuition has invariably set me on the right track. My hunches come to me most frequently in bed, in a plane, or while staring out of a pullman window. . . . When a problem really has me stumped I'm apt to write down all the details as far as I can go, then put it aside to cool for forty-eight hours. At the end of that time I often find it's solved itself. . . . In any case, the most interesting sensations are the elation that accompanies the hunch and the feeling of certainty it inspires that the solution which has been glimpsed is right. Learn to relax. Intuition can't operate when your conscious mind is tied up in knots. Among the best ways to relax are hobbies, provided they are not taken too seriously."
These intrusions from a realm beyond conscious thinking may be heavenly ones. If so, to resist them would be to lose much and to accept them would be to gain much. But they have to be caught on the wing. Their delicate beginnings must be recognized for what they are--precious guides.
The more he follows this intuitive leading the more he not only learns to trust it but also develops future response to it.
It is a loss, and a grave one, to let himself remain torpid to intuitive feeling so much of the time, while alert and alive to every lesser and lower feeling.
There are times, however, when, in a hard problem, reason will come into conflict with intuition but when the latter is so overwhelmingly strong that it seems he must perforce yield to it. In that case he should do so. Time alone can show the truth of such a matter. Let him therefore not fall into the peril of dogmatizing about it. Let him rather withhold judgement and await its issue patiently.
Intuition does not always flash suddenly out of the depths of the mind into consciousness: quite often it forms itself very slowly over a period of hours, days, or even weeks.
Who hears this quiet whisper of intuition? Who, hearing, obeys? Not only is it mostly unnoticed but its guidance is also unsought; men prefer, and follow, the ego's direction.
It begins as an uncertain and intermittent feeling: it ends as a definite and persistent intuition.
If men followed their intuition more there would be fewer tragedies that could have been prevented or regrets that could have been avoided.
The student should make his own research and observation on the need of accepting first intuitive impressions as being the best guidance.
The unregarded feeling which first comes when an object, a person, or an event confronts one is mostly the correct intuition about it. But it must be caught on the wing or it will be gone.
If we understood this capacity to receive first impressions better, we should value them accordingly.
The subtlety and depth of his intuitions will increase with quickness, readiness, and obedience of his response to them.
Intuition must be caught quickly and inspiration must be followed up at once if they are to remain and not vanish away.
If we respectfully meet each intuitive feeling and give it our trusting collaboration, it will little by little become a frequent visitor.
First, we have to become willing to receive these divine intuitions.
These intuitive feelings do not respond to direct frontal demands for their appearance. They must be gently coaxed out of their deeper levels where they reside, quietly lured out of their shy seclusion.
To open ourselves and receive an intuition we must surrender the ego and submit the intellect to it.
If he is to interpret it aright and not miss its importance, he should let himself go when he feels this inner prompting. Let it absorb his being, draw him inwards to a deepening sense of its self.
The deeper mind is so close to the source of our karma that we may at times get its right guidance not only intuitively from within but also circumstantially from without.
The interval between the coming and the going of an intuitive thought is so short that he must immediately and alertly respond to it. If he misses it, he will find that the mind can go back to it only with difficulty and uncertainty.
We can receive a new truth more easily in the mind's quietude than in the mind's agitation. When thinking is stilled, intuiting begins. Such internal silence is not useless idleness, it is creative experience.
The Overself may use some event, some person, or some book as a messenger to him. It may make any new circumstance act in the same way. But he must have the capacity to recognize what is happening and the willingness to receive the message.
To let the intuitive feelings come through requires an inner passivity which meditation fosters but which extroversion inhibits.
Submit yourself as an empty vessel to be filled with the intuitive leading of Overself. Do not stop short of this goal, do not be satisfied with a half-and-half sort of life.
The intuition first presents itself to us as a fine delicate filament which we must treat tenderly if we do not wish to lose it.
His need is to recognize these half-formed intuitions for what they are, to rescue them from their vagueness, develop, nurture, and formulate them.
When this first faint intrusion is sensed, the need is for utter relaxation, for becoming passive and yielding. Only so can the aspirant follow intuitive prompting more and more inwards until it becomes stronger and stronger, clearer and clearer.
His early development of intuition is largely a matter of confused and uncertain impressions.
When seeking intuitional light upon a subject, the aspirant is advised to put his body in a recumbent position. This, passive as it is, will correlate with the passivity of mind that he should cultivate at such a time.
Because an intuitive feeling is usually soft and delicate where egoistic ones are often strong and passionate, it is too many times not recognized for what it is, until someone else formulates it and offers it from outside, as a statement of truth or a suggestion for action.
An intuition which is vague and weak in the beginning may become clear and certain in the end--if allowed to grow.
With this beginning of the momentary "catch" in attention, he must follow by waiting with much patience, listening inwardly all the while.
Have faith in your inner promptings and accept their guidance. When you are uncertain about them, wait and they will gradually clarify themselves.
He is to defend himself against false intuitions, not only by silencing wishful thoughts, but also by purifying the personal emotions.
They are messages brought from the infinite for the blessing and guidance of finite man. But he must recognize their value and esteem their source.
Often he will not respond and allow an intuition to form itself within his mind, because he does not immediately realize what is happening, does not feel a birth is beginning.
In the search for guidance when we have to make a momentous decision, or take an important step, it is well to go into the "Silence" with our problem. We may not get the answer quickly or even directly but if we are well-experienced in this kind of seeking, a light may eventually emerge from the dark and shine down on the problem.
He should not form a preconception of what the answer ought to be, for thereby he imposes the ego's dubious solution in advance upon the higher mind's. Instead he should be entirely unbiased and try to receive the answer, as well as respond to it, in a perfectly free way.
What is sometimes so hard to do is to trust this intuitive monitor when it contradicts the voices of those who are monitorless. But in the end he will discover by results that this is practical wisdom.
Sometimes an intuition appears as a vague feeling which haunts a man and which he cannot shake off.
If he firmly believes in his own hidden intuitive powers, he will be able to ascribe much of his success to his readiness to follow their guidance, despite the opposition of logic and circumstances.
When we keep ourselves busy with everything external and our minds with thoughts about everything external, the intuition is unable to insert itself into our awareness. Even if it whispers to us, we will not realize what is happening. If we continue to ignore it, we may lose the capacity to hear it at all. It is then that we have to retrain ourselves to do so. The practice of meditation is one such way of training our receptivity.
The source of intuitive knowledge lies outside the conscious mind. The vehicle which conveys that knowledge need not necessarily be within us. It may be without us, in the form of a book, a person, or an event to which we are led, guided, or prompted.
We blunder in life and make endless mistakes because we have no time to listen for the Overself's voice--Intuition.
A change of attitude towards his problems may help to clear the way for intuition to operate on the conscious level. These inner promptings--when authentic and not ego-biased, and when double-checked by reason--can guide him to wiser decisions concerning both outward work and inner life.
If we would heed our intuitions as much as we heed our desires, the trick would be done. Illumination would come in not too long a time.
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone: "Of course, it will be a little thing, but do not ignore it. Follow it up, explore all around it; one discovery will lead to another, and before you know it you will have something worth thinking about to occupy your mind. All really big discoveries are the results of thought."
In trying to get an intuitive answer, it is important to formulate the problem or the questions clearly and as sharply as you can.
Let him wait tranquilly for the intuitive feeling to warm and enlighten him, as flowers wait tranquilly for the morning sun to warm them.
We leave the word to go away to the thought (which the mind does almost at once) but we ought to leave a wordless intuitive feeling only to go deeper into it.
Again and again his thoughts should return to whatever memorable experience brought him an intuitive feeling that he was on the right track, or to whatever sudden lighted understanding of mentalism flashed into his head after study or reflection.
If he feels the intuition but does not attend to it then, however slightly, the very faculty which produced it begins to lose strength. This is the penalty imposed for the failure, and this shows how serious it is.
If he is always alert for this intuitive feeling, he will throw aside whatever he is doing and meditate upon it at once. He will depend more and more on these casual exercises, in contrast to the dependence on fixed routine exercises in the Long Path.
Treasure every moment when the intuition makes itself felt and, most especially, when it takes the form of a glimpse into higher truth; it is then that other things should be well put aside in order to sustain and prolong the experience.
If his own scepticism, sensualism, or materialism does not offer too hard a resistance, the intuition which is working its way to formulation, expression, and understanding may finally gain acceptance. This opens a new cycle for him.
If only he heeds its intuitive message, the higher self will not fail him. He will make his way to true balanced sanity and deep inner calm. Without searching for others, knowing that in himself God's representative resides and that this can give the right kind of help, he will depend for self-reliance on an ever-presence.
If one cultivates sufficient faith, out of the cosmic mind will come the response to his aspirations and, eventually, the answers to his questions. To receive this, one must learn to keep a constant vigil for intuitive feelings and messages of the most delicate nature, and to trust his inner promptings. His attention should always have God at its centre.
By constant prayer and aspiration to his higher self, the student will get intuitive promptings from time to time. He should catch them when they appear and yield himself to them: in this way he will get the necessary guidance from within.
Once you learn to recognize the intuitive voice, follow its dictates; do not hesitate to conform with them nor try to make up an excuse for failing to do so if the guidance is unpalatable.
If the seeker will heed this intuitive feeling it may lead him to a clue, a thread by holding which he may grope his way to clearer and stronger feeling until it becomes a certainty.
Whatever be the personal problem, if reason, experience, and authority cannot solve it, carry it inwards to the deep still centre. But you must learn to wait in patience for the answer, for the blockage is in you, not in it. A day or a month may pass until the response is felt, thought, or materialized.
There is a feeling of sacredness, of holy peace at such moments, and they should be cherished for the precious moments that they are. They contain hints of the communion with the Higher Self, elements of something beyond the ordinary self, and possibilities of transcending the past with its debris of memories and mistakes.
In every important move he will seek guidance from the intuitive levels of being as well as from the intellectual.
These messages are all formulated by the faculty of intuition. Hence their lofty tone. But the emotions, desires, and intellect--being on a lower level--ignore the message in practice and action. Hence, disobeyed, they bring suffering or disappointment.
Sometimes the intuitive bidding of Overself will be in favour of his own private interests but sometimes it will be at variance with them.
Where the wakeful consciousness is not easily reached owing to its preoccupations, then the dream consciousness will be more receptive to the message.
Sometimes an intuition does not stay behind. It flashes through consciousness for a small fraction of a second and is gone. Unless it is detected and recognized during this quick passage while it is still fresh, we are hardly likely to do so afterwards.
Amid the toils and agitations of everyday living, through all the boiler pressure of crisis events, such intuitions can gain entry only with difficulty. Yet we need their help and solace more than we know: we need their stimulus to enkindle fresh hope and more faith.
Either a man possesses this intuitive sense or he does not. It cannot be created by argument or analysis.
They betray the higher part of themselves every time they resist, reject, or merely ignore the intuitive feelings which come so delicately into consciousness.
In the seeming self's activity, personal willpower is used and personal effort is made. In the Overself's activity, both these signs are absent. Instead there is a passive receptivity to its voice--intuitions--and obedience to its guidance.
The intuitive feeling or the seminal idea may be planted in a man's heart today but it may need twenty to thirty years before it comes to sufficient growth in his conscious mind.
When the inner voice says what we do not like to hear, we are apt to ignore it.
In its first manifestation, an intuitive idea is too often such a tiny spark that we are more likely to miss it than not.
It is more prudent to obey warning premonitions than to ignore them.
Take time over problems, let your final decisions wait until they are fully ripe.
Where is the wisdom in forcing a quick decision, which could easily be a wrong one, merely to get a decision at all?
Intuition is the voice which is constantly calling him to this higher state. But if he seldom or never pauses amid the press of activity to listen for it, he fails to benefit by it.
Such intuitions manifest themselves only on the fringe of consciousness. They are tender shoots and therefore need to be tenderly nurtured.
The more he follows a course contrary to intuitive leading, the more will errors and mishaps follow him.
These feelings may be cultivated as a gardener cultivates flowers. Their visitation may be brought on again, their delight renewed.
In the end he will rely on this little inner voice which, if he listens humbly, speaks and tells him which way to turn.
He will learn sooner or later by the test of experience to defer to this intuitive feeling whenever its judgement, guidance, or warning manifests itself.
"There is also his subconscious mind, his brilliant and seemingly effortless hunches. His judgements come forth spontaneously like lightning, with no supporting brief of argument. He follows his own subconscious with blind faith but insists that to have a hunch, you must first have all the facts at your command, and your intelligence must be working at full speed. Then suddenly and without conscious effort you think of a solution which is really based on facts, but is not achieved by deliberate cerebrations. With it comes an unexampled feeling of well-being."--author unknown
Do not deny your intuitive self as Judas denied his master, as Peter denied him.
Edison said that all his inventions grew out of initial flashes which welled up from within. The rest was a matter of research.
The intuitive element has to be awaited with much patience and vigilant attention.
Is he fully open to intuitive feelings that originate in his deeper being, his sacred self? Or does his ego get in the way by its rigidities, habits, and tendencies? The importance of these feelings is that they are threadlike clues which need following up, for they can lead him to a blessed renewal or revelation.
The capacity to respond to spiritual intuitions is latent in all men but trained and developed in few men.
From this hidden source comes at times guidance, warnings, attractions, or aversions which ought to be construed as intuitive messages. But for this they must first be recognized and believed: they pass too quickly.
It is not that he puts out the antenna of his intuition, so much as that he insulates its ends and thus provides clear receptivity.
We may not forecast how quickly or how well every student will progress in this art. For one may naturally possess much sensitivity but another may possess little. And even when an intuition is recognized immediately, the will may respond to it very slowly.
It is true that conscience is the voice of the Overself in the moral life of man, but it is also true that he seldom hears its pure sound. Most often he hears it mixed with much egotism.
The suppositions and anticipations, the attractions and repulsions of the ego enter into its intuitive experiences and impede or change them.
Most inner guidance is rarely purely intuitive but more often a mixture of genuine intuition with wishful thinking. Hence it is right in parts and wrong in others.
The original intuition itself may be a correct one but its reception is so inexpert and so biased that the version accepted in consciousness has deformed and somewhat falsified it.
The intuitive is so fine and sensitive a faculty that the emanations of another mind may well disturb its activity or distort its truth.
The intuitive approach is the most effective of all, provided it is not clouded by suggestion from outside sources or blurred by bias from inside ones.
Before a man complains that he is unable to get intuition, he should remember that his own moral fault may be responsible for this. It can not only prevent him from receiving true intuitions but also from responding to them in action.
Amid the general rush of today's events it is easy to miss an intuitive feeling.
Nor when the answer first comes, may we understand it aright. We may mix it up with our own ideas or wishes, our own expectations or fancies, and the result will be that the help received will not work out quite as it should have done. We may have to spend further years straightening out the message and, incidentally, ourselves. But again, it is worth doing and nothing else is so much worth doing.
He will come to find that the guidance he receives is perfect but his reception of it may still be imperfect.
The genuine intuition gets mixed up with guesses and speculations about the matter, with reasonings and ruminations about it.
His intuition is unavoidably conditioned by his own personality, inevitably shaped as it is because he is the kind of man he is.
It is not only his wishes and hopes which interfere with correct receptivity to intuition but also his fears and suspicions.
His normal everyday mind is slow to heed the Higher Power and confused in interpretation of the prompting received.
One whose mind is too sharply critical to be sensitive to finer mental radiations may fail to recognize the inner happening. This may be because he himself is not sufficiently in tune with the high frequency represented by Overself, or it may be because he is too impatient and wants something which in his case can only be had with sufficient time.
When intuition points to something unwelcome to the ego, the intellect looks for and usually finds an excuse to reject it. A man who really and sincerely wants to find the Truth should be on the lookout for hints, clues, and signs which would be useful to his Quest, for they constitute the response from the Overself to his aspiration. The Overself can furnish him with the Truth and puts these signals in his way.
Intuition and pseudo-intuition
No counsel could be safer and better than that which proceeds from a man to himself by way of intuition. But first let him be sure that it is intuition.
Intuition carries its own assurance with it. Those skilled, proficient, and accustomed to it, who are able to recognize the authentic signs, can safely accept and trust themselves to it. But the beginner and the inexperienced need to check and test it, lest they are led astray by some impostor posing as the real thing or by some impulse sincerely presuming itself to be the real thing.
To accept the ever-rightness of these intuitions is one thing; to separate them from their imitators is another.
Intuition will not mislead you but your conscious mentality, which is its receiving agent, may do so. For your consciousness may partially deviate from its message, or even wholly pervert it, in giving deliverance to exaggerations or extravagances, impossibilities or delusions, thus filling you with useless hopes or groundless fears. Consequently, at the very time when you suppose that you are being infallibly guided by intuition you may in fact be strongly guided by pseudo-intuition--which is something quite different. You may believe that you are honouring higher guidance when in actuality you are dishonouring it. The situation is therefore much less simple and much more complex than most people know. To get intuitive direction when, for example, two or more conflicting courses of action confront you is not so easy as it seems and less easy still during a time of trouble. For during such a time you will naturally catch at anything already unknowingly or knowingly pre-determined by some complex to be the best way out of it. The very desire for a particular thing, event, or action may put a pseudo-intuition into your mind. If you want to be wary of this you should seek corroboration from other sources and especially from right reason. Again, the first thought which enters your consciousness after you have decided to seek such direction and have committed your affair to the deeper mind, is not necessarily an authentic intuition. Nor is the second thought such a one, nor the third, and so on. If the impression is to be rightly received, it must be patiently received, and that quite often means that you must sleep on it, and sleep on it perhaps for several days, sometimes weeks. The trustworthy intuition is really there during all this time but the obstacles to knowing it are also there in yourself. Do not, therefore, lose the inner direction through haste nor set up a stone image to be worshipped by mistake in its place. Nor is it enough to say that intuitive truths are self-evident ones. What appeared to be self-evident to you twenty years ago may now appear self-delusive to you. Edit your intuitions with your reason.
All men at some time or other receive intuitive suggestions from within, whilst a few men receive them constantly. It is not therefore that intuition is such a rare and extraordinary manifestation. What is rare and extraordinary is its pure reception, its correct comprehension. For on the one hand we receive along with an intuition the suggestions of environment, education, heredity, and self-interest no less than the distortions of desire, fear, and hope, while on the other hand we receive the doubts and questionings of reason. Even if we correct the suggestions and adjust the distortions of the first group, we remain uncertain and unclear because reason naturally wants to know why? It wants to understand why an intuitive prompting should be accepted. And by the very nature of an intuition it is often something which neither past experience nor present logic can justify. This is not only because all the facts of the case are not at our command but, because of their endless ramifications or superphysical character, cannot possibly be at our command. These are some of the difficulties which confront man at his present stage of evolution and which render so many so-called intuitions unreliable or undependable even though their original birth was genuinely what it claimed to be. What is the remedy? Only careful, ruthless, and impartial analysis of each and every intuition, constant vigilance over and checking of the results which ensue when they are accepted, and long self-training through several years can finally bring us to the clear recognition of what is or is not authentic intuitive guidance, suggestion, or information.
He would not be so bad a judge of value as to prefer reason over intuition, whenever he had the absolute certainty that it was intuition. But past experience has shown how difficult it is to arrive at such certitudes, how deceptive are the masks which impulse, desire, rashness, and selfishness can assume. Until, therefore, his development has reached the point where a genuine intuition is at once recognized as such and a pseudo-intuition quickly detected for what it is, he must not abandon the use of reason but rather regard it as a most valuable ally.
How can he tell if inner guidance is truly intuitive or merely pseudo-intuitive? One of the ways is to consider whether it tends to the benefit of all concerned in a situation, the others as well as oneself. The word "benefit" here must be understood in a large way, must include the spiritual result along with the material one. If the guidance does not yield this result, it may be ego-prompted and will then hold the possibility of error.
An intuitive feeling is one untainted by the ego's wishes, uncoloured by its aversions.
Wrong personal intention may be negated by right intuitive guidance, but it is not easy to recognize the latter as such. The difference between a mere impulse and a real intuition may often be detected in two ways: first, by waiting a few days, as the subconscious mind has then a chance to offer help in deciding the matter; second, by noting the kind of emotion which accompanies the message. If the emotion is of the lower kind, such as anger, indignation, greed, or lust, it is most likely an impulse. If of the higher kind, such as unselfishness or forgiveness, it is most likely an intuition.
You may recognize the voice of wisdom when having to make a decision by the fact that it proceeds out of deep inner calm, out of utter tranquillity, whereas impulse is frequently born in exaggerated enthusiasm or undue excitement.
A compelling inner conviction or intuition need not necessarily collide with cold reason. But as an assumed intuition which may be merely a bit of wishful thinking or emotional bias, it is always needful to check or confirm or discipline it by reasoning. The two can work together, even whilst recognizing and accepting each other's peculiar characteristics and different methods of approach. Hence all intuitively formed projects and plans should be examined under this duplex light. The contribution of fact by reason should be candidly and calmly brought up against the contribution of inward rightness made by "intuition." We must not hesitate to scrap intuitively formed plans if they prove unworkable or unreasonable.
The promptings that come from this inner being are so faintly heard at first, however strong on their own plane, that we tend to disregard them as trivial. This is the tragedy of man. The voices that so often mislead him into pain-bringing courses--his passion, his ego, and blind intellect--are loud and clamant. The whisper that guides him aright and to God is timid and soft.
So subtle is the oncoming and so mysterious is the working of the true intuition, so open and blatant is the fantasy that is false intuition, that the first test of authenticity is indicated here.
The corrective separation of true from false intuitions, and of impersonal from personal impressions, follows a careful disciplining of the consciousness and a cautious vigilance over the feelings.
He can learn with time, and from the visible results it always brings, a better estimate of the truth or falsity of these impressions and intuitions. When the results injure him, he may know that the acceptance of that which led to them was an error; a careful study of such errors will point the way to their avoidance in the future.
The intuitive consciousness eludes common sense at some times but aligns with it at other times.
The day will come when constant effort and long practice will permit him to recognize true from pseudo-intuition with the speed and certainty with which a musically trained ear recognizes notes and times (tunes) in a played piece.
When a strong intuitive feeling contradicts--much more if it nearly swallows up--a conventional sense-impression, it is wise to become alert and reconsider the report.
Intuition is always sure of itself, but few persons are always sure whether what they feel is actually intuition or not. They may test it against reasoned analysis.
It is not surprising that after the Hitler fiasco thoughtful minds which were once prone to believe sincerely in the existence of such a faculty as intuition and willing to accept its revelations, as made by others, found their confidence in it gravely shaken. We ventured to point out that egoistic emotions and unconscious complexes frequently masquerade as mystical intuitions, that criticism should be directed solely against such pseudo-intuitions and should not be casting doubts upon the existence of genuine intuition itself.
It is admittedly hard to distinguish intuition from its counterfeits, but one way to do so is that it often opposes personal emotions. Thus we may feel strongly and naturally prejudiced against a certain course of action yet a gentler feeling may be in its favour.
If it is authentic intuition, he will feel increasingly convinced by it as days and weeks pass until in the end its truth will seem unarguable to him.
When his self-training and checked experience have gone far enough, the doubts and uncertainties regarding these intuitive feelings will vanish. By that time, they will appear in his consciousness as peculiar and unmistakable.
What intuition reveals the deepest thought confirms.
The notion that the Overself's voice is necessarily accompanied by occult phenomena or heard clairaudiently inside oneself is a very limited one. It may be totally unaccompanied by anything strange or, as if it were conscience, felt rather than heard. Or it may speak to one indirectly through any other person or any circumstantial event that touches one's path.
The passing of time will either disprove his judgements or prove them correct. He ought to note carefully this eventual result and compare it with the feelings which possessed him at the time of making his original decisions. In this way he can learn to see for himself the difference between the marks of a true intuition and those of a false one.
An intuition comes into the mind suddenly. But so does an impulse. Therefore it is not enough to take this mark alone to identify it. It is strong; so is an impulse. It is clear; so is an impulse. To separate the deceptive appearance from the genuine reality of an intuition, look for the trail of assurance, relief, and peace to follow in its wake.
It is never present without certain qualities being present with it, too. There is first an utter serenity, then a steady joy, next an absolute conviction of its truth and reality, finally the paradoxical feeling of a rock-firm security despite any appearance of adverse outer circumstances.
The process is partly an unconscious one, they know, because something is being done to them by this higher power. They cannot exactly define why they must accept its truth, but its mental effect is almost hypnotic. It is an intuition which is self-supporting, which must be accepted upon its own mysterious authority. Nor do they accept it because of its inherent strength alone. They accept it also because of its inherent beauty.
Intuitive feelings hover in him, half-guessed at, half-doubted: he does not know what to accept, what to reject, because he does not feel certain whether they are mere ordinary thoughts or authentic messages from heaven.
If it be asked how to prevent oneself from being deceived by these pseudo-intuitions, it can be said that a useful rule is to check them against other sources on the same subject and see if they all harmonize. If, for example, fifty inspired men who have written on the subject teach what contradicts the alleged intuition, then there is something wrong on one side or the other and careful investigation is called for. It is always safer to ascertain what the great scriptural texts or the classic mystical testaments have to tell on the matter and not depend solely on what one's intuition tells.
There are four chief ways in which guidance may be given. They are: intuitive feeling, giving in a general way approbation or rejection of a proposed course of action; direct and precise inner message; the shaping of outer circumstances; and the teaching of inspired texts. If all four exist together, and if they all harmonize, then you may step forward in the fullest assurance. But if there are contradictions between them, then great caution and some delay is certainly advisable.
It is also needful to remember that the higher self can only be known by the higher part of the mind, that is, the intuition. The emotions are on a lesser and lower level, however noble or religious they may be. The immense satisfaction which the ecstatic raptures give is no indication that he is directly touching reality, but only that he is coming closer to it. They may seem purely spiritual, but they still belong to the ego's feeling nature and if he believes otherwise he will fall into self-deception. Only through the pure intuition, freed from emotional egoism and transcending intellectual illusion, can he really make a contact with the Overself. And that will happen in a state of utter and perfect tranquillity; there will be none of the emotional excitement which marked the successful practice of the earlier stage of meditation exercises.
When the deliverance of intuition cancels the deliverance of reason, he may trust himself to the first, but only when he is sure it is what it purports to be.
When he finds some of his own intuitions formulated and printed in someone else's book, he feels their truth is confirmed and his own mind comforted.
He has the right to judge an intuition rationally before submitting to it, but what if his judgement is itself wrong?
Intuition may support reason but must supplant it only on the gravest occasions.
The sudden revelation of correct understanding, whether in certain situations or about uncertain problems, may come unexpectedly or abruptly anytime during the day. It springs up of its own accord or it appears in a dream as a message.
If the intuitive feeling leads him gently at some times, it also leads him firmly at other times.
An intuition is directly self-revealing; it does not depend on what kind of thought and study were done before it appeared. It is also self-evident: the correctness of the guidance given or information imparted becomes obvious and doubt-dispelling.
A truth is intuitively discerned when it is so lit up that it appears perfectly self-evident, when the receiving consciousness is very calm, and when the lapse of time tends to strengthen its authority.
The intuitive answer may come in one of several ways, but the commonest is either a self-evident thought or a deep heartfelt feeling.
It is a truth so plainly self-evident that he cannot help thinking it. This is how intuition usually appears and is usually recognized for what it is.
Develop theme that another sign to recognize intuitions is their unexpectedness.
The mysterious appearance of an intuition may well make us ask where it comes from. At one moment it is not there; at the next it is lodged in the mind.
Sometimes we are wiser than we know and utter involuntary answers which surprise us with their unexpected wisdom or unknown Truth. This is one way intuitions are born.
Because it comes from within, it comes with its own authority. When it is "the real thing," the seeker will not have to question examine or verify its authenticity, will not have to run to others for their appraisal of its worth or its rejection as a pseudo-intuition. He will know overwhelmingly what it is in the same way that he knows who he is.
Education and experience alone do not make the mind; there is something higher that mixes itself in now and again with disconcerting incomprehensible spontaneity.
One reason why an intuition is so often missed is that it flashes into the mind as disjointedly, as abruptly, and as inconsequentially as a person or a thing sometimes comes momentarily into the field of vision through the corner of an eye.
The marks of an authentic intuition include conclusiveness and finality.
When a man hesitates too long over taking a course which intuition tells him he should take, and in which his higher life is concerned, it may be that destiny will intervene and make him suddenly realize that this is the way, and that all doubts should be thrown out.
An intuition may be sudden and unexpected, quite contrary to the line of previous thought about the matter. This is certainly true of many appearances but it is not true of other ones.
An intuition may come into the mind apparently by hazard, unsummoned, unexpected.
Every thought which comes down to us from that serene height comes with a divine authority and penetrating force which are absent from all other thoughts. We receive the visitant with eagerness and obey it with confidence.
Let intuition rule
Intuition is not the equal but rather the superior of all other human faculties. It delivers the gentlest of whispers, commands from the Overself, whereas the other faculties merely carry them out. It is the master, they are the servants. The intellect thinks, the will works, and the emotion drives towards the fulfilment of intuitively felt guidance in the properly developed spiritually erect man.
The philosopher is simultaneously a thinker and a believer, but his ruling role is neither. It is that of an intuitionist.
The intuition must lead all the rest of man's faculties. He must follow it even when they do not agree with its guidance. For it sees farther than they ever can, being an efflux from the godlike part of himself which is in its way a portion of the universal deity. If he can be sure that it is not pseudo-intuition, truth in it will lead him to life's best, whether spiritual or worldly.
The man who is not thrown off his balance is the man who lets intuition rule all his other functions.
The passage in time before his intellect will yield and acknowledge the rightness of what his intuition told him about a person at their first meeting, may be a long one.
He will have to maintain his loyalty to the intuition against the cautions, the excessive prudence, of a frightened intellect.
In the fully trained philosopher, intuition is the most active faculty.
The intuition is to collate all these different functions of the personality, and direct them towards its truest welfare.
A man is really free when his intuition directs his intellect and rules his energies.
The verdict of intuition may be vindicated by time but he cannot always afford to wait for it.
Feeling is as much a part of true insight into the Real as knowing. It gives life to the end result. It is evoked by enlightened writings and inspired art works. Thinking may not rightly claim overlordship here, but intuition, the silent voice of the Overself, may do so.
Here, just on the very frontiers of wakeful consciousness, amidst daydreams and intuitions, thoughts and premonitions, lies hidden treasure. It is precisely in this inward region which ordinary men dismiss as worthless, unreal, and false that the mystic finds worth, reality, and truth.
Fruits of living intuitively
There is an inner light in all people which could, with time, convert their perplexed questionings into solid certitudes. There is this remarkable fact that hard problems which the unaided intellect cannot solve, gnawing anxieties upon which our past experiences throw no helpful light, may become illumined and solved with ease if we adopt this practical method of applying intuition to them. Among all the varied powers of the mind, a properly unfolded intuition is indeed one of the most priceless anyone could have. It always warns against wrong courses and often counsels the right ones. "I sometimes have a feeling, in fact I have it very strongly, a feeling of interference . . . that some guiding hand has interfered," confessed Winston Churchill in a speech during October, 1942. On the other hand, intuition may help us and allay our fears where reason alone merely increases them.
The intuitively governed mind is the undivided mind. It does not have to choose between contrasts or accept one of two alternatives. It does not suffer from the double-facedness of being swayed this way or that by conflicting evidence, contradictory emotions, or hesitant judgements.
However bitter a situation may appear, the accepted prompting of the Overself can bring sweetness into it; however trying it may be, the same prompting can bring fortitude into it.
The man who has trained himself to listen for the voice of intuition, which means trained himself to wait for it to speak and disciplined himself to be inwardly alert yet also inwardly quiet for it, does not have to suffer the painful conflicts and tormenting divisions which others do when confronted by issues demanding a choice or a decision.
He will find, if he accepts this intuitive leading, that although the unfavourable circumstances may remain the same, unchanged, his attitude towards them does not. Out of this inner change there will be given him the strength to deal with them, the calm to deal with them unmoved, and the wisdom to deal with them properly.
There is no single pattern that an intuitively guided life must follow. Sometimes he will see in a flash of insight both course and destination, but at other times he will see only the next step ahead and will have to keep an open mind both as to the second step and as to the final destination.
One of the functions of intuition is to protect the body against unnecessary sickness by warning the man in it when he is transgressing the laws of its hygiene, or by showing the right road. In this, intuition is pitted against the body's past habits and animal appetites, the emotional nature's desires, as well as the mind's ignorance immaturity and inexperience--a combination of enemies which usually triumphs over it. Another of its functions is to protect the man against avoidable calamity or preventable loss, by consciously warning him of its impending existence or subconsciously moving him out of its reach. But here it has opposed to it the egoistic desires and habits or the emotional impulses and negative feelings which perceive only the immediate and not the impending, the semblance of things and not the actuality.
The intuitive life does not always know how or why it acts, for it is often spontaneous and unconscious. But when it does become at times intellectually self-conscious, its power in the world to affect men is heightened, not lessened.
Like Socrates we possess an inner warning voice which forbids certain courses of action but does not recommend better ones. It is negative and not positive.
The uncomfortable feeling that something is wrong may combat the smooth plausible appearance of everything being right.
He is indeed fortunate whose intuition shows itself in one impelling thought strong enough to outclass all other conflicting thoughts.
Intuition--which Bergson called the surest road to truth--eradicates hesitancies. When you are in contact with the Overself in solving a problem, you receive a direct command what to do and you then know it is right. The clouds and hesitancies and vacillations which arise when struggling between contrary points of view, melt. Whereas, if you are not in contact with the Overself, but only being carried along through karma, then you swing back and forth with emotion or opinion.
He can depend on one thing alone to show him the right roads and the right master. It is intuition.
A man's life will be less troubled and his happiness more secured, if his reason governs his body and his intuition governs his reason.
If a man acts according to intuitive wisdom, all will go well with him. This is not to say that he will be free from external misfortunes. But if they come, they will be of the unavoidable kind and therefore less in number than if they included those of his own direct making. And even the others will be turned to profit in some way by the search for their underlying meanings, so that although humanity calls them evil, he will nevertheless gain some inner good from them.
If he is sensitive enough and can touch the intuitive element within himself, either deliberately by sheer power of deeply introspective concentration or spontaneously by immediate acceptance of its suggestive messages, his decisions will be filled with utter conviction and followed with resolute determination.
He may be sure of this, that whatever action the Overself's leading causes him to take will always be for his ultimate good even though it may be to his immediate and apparent detriment.
There is the feeling of being led, but not the ability to see where, and to what, one is being led.
To the degree that the intuitive element can displace all others for the rulership of his inner life, to that degree can a healing and guiding calm displace the emotion of moods and commotion of thought.
The most satisfying proofs will come to him that the Overself is really guiding the course of his outer life and really inspiring the course of his inner life.
There will be decisions that he does not think out logically, moves that he does not plan calculatingly. Yet the sequence of further events will prove the one to be right, the other wise. For they will have come intuitively.
He may have no idea how to get out of his predicament. Yet suddenly he will make some unreasoned and unpremeditated act which will do this for him.
His best moves are mostly the unplanned ones.
He would be wise to do nothing drastic unless there is a clear and positive urge from the deepest part of being approving the deed.
Such efforts will eventually open the way for intuition to come into outer consciousness and, absorbing all lesser elements, give him the great blessing of its guidance.
Intuition and the Glimpse
Jesus likened the Kingdom of Heaven to a grain of mustard seed, which was a simile among the Jews for anything exceedingly small. Why did he do so? Because, in its first onset, the Kingdom is not an experience but an intuition--and the latter begins as an exceedingly faint and tiny leading.
Whereas we can reach the intellect only through thinking, we can reach the spirit only through intuition. The practice of meditation is simply the deepening, broadening, and strengthening of intuition. A mystical experience is simply a prolonged intuition.
The prettily vague and poetically general statements of spiritual truth, the woolly, sentimental, or foggy revelations and communications, are heard or intuited only in the outer courts. When the neophyte approaches the central inner court, what he receives is very precise clear and exact. This is so until he reaches the inmost shrine, the holy of holies itself. Here, words must come to an end for here he must "Be still and know that I am God."
It is important that the feeling of "inward drawing" which comes to him at times be at once followed up, whenever possible, by a withdrawal from external affairs for a few minutes and a concentration on what the feeling leads to. This practice is like a thread which, if followed up, will lead to a cord, that to a rope, and so on. Thus he will benefit by the grace which is being shed upon him, and not turn away unheedingly. But the mind, at the beginning, leaves this intuitional plane all too quickly, so extreme vigilance is called for to bring it back there.
What is more private, more intimate, than intuition? It is the only means they possess wherefrom to start to get mystical experience, glimpses, true enlightenment. Yet they insist on seeking among those who stand outside them, among the teachers, for that which must be searched after and felt inside themselves.
The hierophant in the Mysteries of Isis told the aspirant at initiation: "In the dark hour that thou shalt find thy true self, follow him and he will be thy true self, follow him and he will be thy genius, for he holds the secret of thine existence."
The teaching that is most worthwhile comes directly from your own inner being, not from another's.
To develop these brief intuitions and bring them to maturity in lengthier moods, is his task.
That which guides him to the god within his own being, that slender thread of intuitive feeling and intelligence, may at first appear and disappear at intervals.
At first intuition is like a frail thread, almost impalpable, of which he is just faintly aware; but if he heeds it, rivets attention stubbornly to it, the visitations come more and more often. If he follows the thread to its source, the message becomes clearer, stronger, precise.
If you can attentively trace this subtle feeling back to its own root, you will get a reward immeasurably greater than it seemed to promise.
It is only by constant use that intuition can mature into mystical enlightenment.
If one learns to cultivate these brief intuitive moments aright, there can develop out of them in time mystical moods of much longer duration and much deeper intensity. Still later, there could come to maturity the ripe fruit of all these moods--an ecstatic experience wherein grace descends with life-changing results.
The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.