Last week we described how simple Hebbian-like learning networks are arranged hierarchically in your brain to recognise and categorise patterns. Points of light in your retina are grouped into shapes and lines and colours, these groups and patterns recognised to show form and recognise objects or letters. These can be further grouped and matched to previous experiences to judge further details, words and individuals and moods etc. We noted that people are in general only really aware, really conscious, of the higher level intuitions, those that let us know (often without really knowing how we know) about trust or fear or motivation. It’s these higher level pattern recognition systems which are usually referred to when someone mentions their intuition.
Improving Your Intuition
Your intuitions have doubtless been honed by millions of years of evolution to learn some things more easily than others: To fear snakes and spiders more quickly than you fear rabbits and kittens, or likewise to learn quickly that large-headed infants are cuter than spiky cacti etc. However your intuitions still need to actually learn and like all learned responses, they can be honed and improved by practice and experience. Particularly if paying full attention and giving your full focus to the process of forming that intuition. Our meditation next week is designed to help you do just this.
Of course it’s difficult to practice using your intuition for anything other than meditating while you are practising a ten minute meditation. Intuitions are formed out in the real world, from acting and living and experiencing life all around you. However, you can bring that world into your meditation through memory (re-visualisation) and through imagination (pre-visualisation). Our meditation will do this, it will encourage you to remember or project a situation in which your intuition is working well and to pay attention to and focus on that visualisation.
By listening to and thinking-along-with the mediation you will also be encouraged to pay attention to your intuition in life, to think about it more often during the normal waking world and thus to spend more time honing and developing it during the time when you’re not listening to our meditation.
How it works
You’ll be asked to imagine or remember some time when your intuition was particularly strong. To focus on all the details that you remember (or project) of that situation, the colours and shapes of the relevent objects in your environment, the feelings and associations produced by those objects, the way your brain responded to those stimuli. As many of the details as you can think of for it’s these details which have fed up through the hierarchy of intuitions into the most conscious and pertinent higher levels.
You’ll do this for most of the meditation. Trying to get your mind into the same state it was in when you had that intuition, then you’ll be asked to examine why you felt that way, to look inwards at your own mind, apply your intuitive learning systems to your own intuition.
By doing this you’ll be able to contemplate the state of your mind at the time your intuition was at it’s best. This will help you to learn (again, in a catch-a-ball way rather than a book-learning way) exactly how your intuition works and that in turn will enable your mind to automatically adjust to improve it’s accuracy, relevance and self-understanding.
Next week, before finally presenting this month’s Guided Meditation, we’ll discuss the pitfalls of intuitive thinking. The mistakes it can make, the false-positive patterns it can recognise and ways that you can de-program yourself to remove these false-positive pattern recognitions.