What is Intuition? Can We Trust Our Feelings?

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about how to try and explain the difference between intuitive feeling and feelings based on thoughts. For some people, this can be a really tricky concept to swallow, because the difference between them seems so subtle.

In an earlier post I wrote about fear, and how there is a difference between intuitive fear keeping us safe, and fear based on thoughts that we should push through. 

However, I still feel like this topic can be confusing for people, so here’s another attempt at making sense of it.

In a lot of ways, feelings and emotions are an expression of our thoughts. When you are thinking about something, it comes with a feeling. 

If I wake up having insecure thoughts “what if I can’t pull this off?”, “what if they don’t like me?”, etc. –these thoughts are accompanied by insecure feelings (some form of fear). I can easily trace the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach back to the thoughts I’m having about not being enough.

Now, let’s say that I’m out feeding my horses, and suddenly I get an unsettled sensation that energy is rising, so I move out of the way. Just as I move the horses spook at something and canter through my path –however, I have already moved to safety. 

I would argue that I didn’t even have time to map my feelings in that moment. The sensation in my body was fluid and energetic – I responded to a moment in the flow of life – just as the horses do. 

This is not to say that you can’t have thoughts and feelings with some validity – or that you can control the things you think and feel. 

I’m pointing to the difference between the sensations in those feelings – I believe the difference is the source of them. On one side, I’m thinking about things, on the other side, I’m just being present in the moment (without much thought at all).

One of the ways in which I’ve learned to feel the difference is simply by noticing it. When I get in the habit of noticing my thoughts and how they make me feel, I start to take it all a lot less seriously. 

I can feel things, trace them back to my thinking, and then move on. I don’t need to hold on to what I’m thinking or feeling because I know it’s a passing thought that is occurring because of my human brain. 

Now, I don’t to give them impression that I can always easily let things go, or even quickly – however, it’s my knowing that it will pass that I now rely on. 

To me, intuitive feeling is not about thinking at all – it’s just about being. Intuitive feelings are what the horses experience in the natural flow of life. We also experience this flow, however, we are also living in thoughts. 

I believe this is an important distinction to make because we all have a deep inner-knowing – just like the horses – that lives inside of us at all times. The more present we are to the moment, the more we can count on our intuitive nature to guide us effortlessly. 

I encourage you to start to notice when you’ve responded intuitively to a feeling in a moment, or when the feelings are coming from your thoughts. I’d love to hear any personal stories, experiences, questions or comments you have in the comment section!

UPDATE : We dig deeper into this concept in my 6-week online workshop: FINDING WILD PEACE. More info here.