Trust your intuition | Sunday Observer

Trust your intuition

An anonymous sage has said intuition is the ability women have to read between the lines on a blank page. Intuition also known as gut feeling, hunch or sixth sense is the ability to understand or know something because of a feeling rather than by considering the facts. Although feminine intuition is a much-hyped topic, men too have this ability.

Dr. Rebecca Bingham who was working in a crowded hospital in Zimbabwe saw a patient lying on a stretcher about to be wheeled into the operating theatre. Suddenly she felt that she should check the patient’s heart. When she placed the stethoscope on the patient’s chest, she heard the murmur of an abnormal blood flow through the heart. Then she alerted the surgeons and subsequent tests confirmed that the patient had a heart problem. Psychologists believe, such hunches are prompts from the adaptive unconscious which processes sensory information and pass judgments.

Not only doctors, but also ordinary people have accurate intuitions. Nobody knows where they come from. We call such mysterious hunches gut feelings, animal instinct or even sixth sense. They can lead to accurate lucky guesses. Even sceptics who did not believe in intuition now agree that such hunches are accurate. Dr. Gary Klein, author of ‘Intuition at Work’ describes how a fire lieutenant saved his life and the lives of several others using his sixth sense. Sensing danger he ordered his team to leave the house on fire. As soon as they left the kitchen floor collapsed. If they had remained in the house, they would have plunged into the basement where the main fire occurred.


Dr. Timothy D. Wilson in his book ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ says, such hunches are prompts from the adaptive unconscious. This should not be confused with the Freudian realm of repressed memories and primitive emotions. Our adaptive unconscious is a vast store house of sensory information. However, our conscious mind is quite unaware of it.

In the fire incident described earlier, the fire lieutenant it was claimed, had Extra Sensory Perception (ESP). However, psychologists believe, it was actually the subconscious that processed the whole operation. We have heard of so many similar incidents involving near-death situations. If you speak to an experienced pilot, medical practitioner or even a nurse, they would tell you how they saved somebody’s life in the nick of time. On such occasions they simply leap into action quite unmindful of the danger involved.

One day, a retired government employee went for a stroll along the river bank with his wife. The river was in spate but he thought the bank was quite safe to walk on. Suddenly, he saw a child who was playing on the bank falling into the river.Although the government employee could not swim, he jumped into the river and got hold of the drowning boy. When his wife screamed asking for help a fisherman came to their rescue. In such situations most of us do not know whether we are making the right decision.

Emergency mode

Even when we are not in emergency mode, our internal radar on the unconscious is on alert for threats to ourselves or others. Most university students who are subject to inhuman ragging do not tell the truth to their parents. If the parents are on the alert, they can easily learn from their children what type of ragging was taking place.

If there was indecent ragging, they could complain to the authorities. Some parents have a gut feeling that their children are subject to inhuman ragging. That gut feeling is called intuition. It originates from the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

There are some businessmen who rely on their gut feelings. George Soros, fund manager, made billions of dollars simply relying on his intuition. When he felt an acute pain he took it as a signal which said there was something wrong in what he did. The intuitive part of his brain had absorbed the shifting market patterns. At the beginning he lost heavily. Then he acted on hunches and became the 38th richest person in the world.

If you have a well-developed sixth sense, you can handle any difficult situation successfully. John Yarbrough, a Los Angeles policeman on patrol duty, stopped a car for a routine check. When he approached the car, the teenager driver stepped out with a gun in hand. The police officer could have shot the teenager, but he had a hunch that it was not necessary. What he thought proved to be right. The teenager dropped the gun and approached the police officer. Then the normal process of the law took place. Years later the police officer confessed that he had a gift for reading people’s faces. Most of us have this ability to varying degrees. Face reading is simply spotting ‘micro expressions’ which last only for a brief moment.

Face reading

If you know a little bit of face reading, pavement hawkers will not be able to sell you fake products. The hawker’s facial expressions give away his real intentions. The trouble is, most of us do not look at their faces but the fake product they are trying to palm off.

As far as intuition is concerned, women are streets ahead of men. Most women have well-developed gut feelings which help them to survive in a male-dominated world. They are not physically as strong as men. So nature seems to have gifted them with loads of intuition.

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