Where does Intuition come from?
Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay

Intuition is the primary source of inner wisdom. It is knowing without having a logical explanation. But far from being magical, it is a cognitive ability where instincts are swiftly formulated by the unconscious mind, efficiently sorting through accumulated knowledge and past experiences. That said…

Intuition Comes From The Unconscious Mind

95 percent of all brain activity operates on an unconscious level. This powerful part of your psyche can be seen as a vault of valuable and hidden information garnered over the course of your entire life. It influences and directs all of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Research has also revealed the outstanding ability of the unconscious mind to decipher intricate hidden patterns. It swiftly accesses information stored in our hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for holding memories. Consequently, decisions made by the unconscious tend to be instantaneous and remarkably precise. 

For instance, with Artificial Grammar Learning, participants in an experiment were told to learn random strings of letters. After they memorized these strings of letters, they were told that these strings followed grammatical rules. Even though these grammatical rules were never taught, the participants in the study could properly categorize them into two. Those that were grammatically correct, and those that weren’t. This only indicates that the human brain can detect complex patterns unconsciously. This is called implicit learning.

Implicit Learning 

Intuition comes from our ability to learn implicitly.

Implicit learning refers to the acquisition of knowledge or skills without conscious awareness of the learning process. It occurs without explicit instruction or conscious intent, and individuals may not be able to articulate what they have learned. Implicit learning is often associated with the gradual development of intuitive knowledge and is characterized by the ability to unconsciously recognize patterns, regularities, or associations in the environment.

One common example of implicit learning is language acquisition in children. They absorb linguistic patterns and rules without formal instruction, gradually gaining proficiency in their native language. Implicit learning is also evident in various cognitive tasks, motor skills, and social behaviors where individuals acquire information through exposure and experience.

In research settings, implicit learning is often studied through experiments that assess participants’ ability to discern patterns or make accurate predictions without explicit knowledge of the underlying rules. 

Implicit Learning and Intuition

Intuition comes from the insights gained through implicit learning. The implicit knowledge acquired over time becomes the foundation for intuitive judgments, allowing individuals to make rapid decisions based on their unconscious understanding of patterns and experiences. Together, implicit learning and intuition highlight the remarkable capabilities of the unconscious mind in processing information and guiding our actions with a sense of automaticity and swiftness.

Let me tell you a story…

When I moved to Sarajevo, where I currently live, I randomly met this girl and we became instant friends.

This girl was nice, cheerful, charismatic and very outgoing. But for some reason, the people that we hung out with seemed to reject her instantly. I couldn’t understand why. I thought that perhaps people were just misjudging her because of her excessive make up, and decided not to think much about it. 

I however did feel strange whenever we met, and I actually avoided her presence. I would postpone our coffee dates regularly and something more important always came up first. My unconscious mind was telling me to run but I reasoned against this feeling and kept moving forward with this friendship.

As our relationship evolved, I started noticing that our friends and acquaintances were acting differently around me. They were not as receptive towards me as before. I was also feeling low every time I met with her. I started noticing how she would always commandeer our conversation into criticizing or gossiping about others. 

Finally, one night I had a very bad dream with her. And I instantly knew that my unconscious mind was once more trying to warn me. I then found out all the despicable lies she was saying about me to others.

Regarding this experience: signs were there. I just decided to not see them. My intuition was telling me from the very start that something was off.

This experience taught me a very important lesson: never ignore your intuition. You should always nurture, trust and listen to that inner voice. 

How Can You Foster Your Intuition?

Fostering intuition involves nurturing your ability to tap into your inner wisdom and make decisions based on insights that go beyond conscious reasoning. Here are some strategies to help you cultivate and enhance your intuition:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally bringing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment. It involves cultivating a heightened awareness of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the surrounding environment. 

Mindfulness practices aim to bring about a state of mental clarity, focus, and emotional balance. Regular engagement in mindfulness has been associated with numerous benefits, including stress reduction, improved emotional well-being, increased self-awareness, and enhanced cognitive abilities. Mindfulness can also help you attune to subtle feelings and sensations that may signal intuitive insights.

2. Journaling

Journaling is the practice of regularly recording one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a written format, often in a notebook or a digital platform. It is a personal and reflective activity that provides individuals with a space to express themselves, explore their emotions, and document their journey. 

Regularly journaling your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can help you identify patterns and recurring themes. This self-reflection can unveil deeper insights and enhance your connection with your intuition.

3. Spend Time in Nature

Being in natural settings can have a calming effect on the mind and enhance intuitive receptivity. Research has consistently shown the positive impact of nature on both physical and mental well-being.

That said, immersing oneself in natural environments has been associated with reduced stress levels, enhanced mood, and improved cognitive function. The relaxed mental state that comes from taking walks in nature, or simply contemplating a natural scenery, not only fosters a sense of inner peace but also acts as a conducive environment for heightened intuitive receptivity. By allowing the mind to unwind in nature’s embrace, individuals can open themselves up to profound insights, tapping into the intuitive wisdom that often lies dormant in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

For more insights about intuition, download our eBook, The Psychology of Intuition. Within these pages, we delve into the scientific underpinnings behind the gut feeling, providing valuable insights on how you can nurture and trust this powerful aspect within your psyche.

Sneak Peek of the book!: The Psychology of Intuition: The Human Mind and Intuition

If you liked our article, Where does Intuition come from?, you will like:

Intuition is the Highest Form of Intelligence
The Psychology of Intuition: Ebook
8 Ways on How to Be More Intuitive
Trusting Your Gut Feeling About Someone
Bad Gut Feeling for No Reason
How Accurate is Intuition?
Best Quotes About Intuition
How to Listen to Your Intuition in Relationships: 7 Insightful Tips
12 Signs You’re an Intuitive Person
Carl Jung’s Insights on Intuition
Is it Anxiety or Intuition?

Subscribe to learn more about emotional and mental processes!

You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

Sarah Peláez is a Clinical Psychologist, Learning Therapist, and author of “The Psychology of Intuition.”