You may have had the experience of feeling that a friend was coming to see you even though you had received no information about his visit, and when evening came, your friend arrived. Similarly, you may have sometimes felt that something good or bad was going to happen, and then it happened. These are two examples of the sudden workings of the all-knowing power of intuition buried within you. Intuition is the directly-perceiving faculty of the soul that at once knows the truth about everything, requiring no medium of sense experience or reason.
A real intuition can never be wrong. It does not consist in believing a thing firmly or doggedly, but in knowing it directly and unmistakably. An intuition does not contradict, but is always supported by logic and reason. All things known by intuition are invariably true. Everyone possesses this faculty, but it remains undeveloped in the average person; without exercise, no faculty can be developed. Many books and courses of study are prescribed for students in school, but nothing is taught about developing the sixth sense, the all-knowing faculty of intuition.
The three stages in the awakening of intuition are: 1) crude intuition; 2) semi-developed intuition; and 3) consciously developed intuition.
Crude intuition: an occasional true hunch
Crude intuition is often experienced as a calm haunting feeling, and expresses itself as the occasional hunch that turns out to be true. Depending on an undeveloped intuitional faculty can be dangerous, however. There are many psychological upstarts that pose as intuition and delude people. Errors are made by people who fail to distinguish between a real intuition and their convictions born of intellectual knowledge, overblown self-confidence, or the superstition that “because it happened before, it will happen always.”
Thousands of people make wrong investments in part because of greed but also because their minds are not scientifically guided by true intuition. Intuition is developed by: 1) the exercise of common sense; 2) daily introspection and analysis; 3) depth of thought and ongoing focused activity in one direction; 4) calmness; and 5) best of all, by meditation and holding on to its calm after-effects.
What is semi-intuition?
Semi-developed intuition comes through the frequent but untrained exercise of intuition. Men of keen understanding and women of pure, undisturbed feeling usually have semi-developed intuition as a result of their untrained but proper development of reason and feeling. Pure reason and calm feeling lead to intuition. Distorted reasoning and emotional feeling obscure intuition.
Semi-intuition is often seen in the great scientists whose calm, focused dedication to their work leads to intuitive insights and breakthrough discoveries in their areas of specialization. Often, however, their intuitive ability does not extend to other areas of their lives. Semi-intuition can also be a karmic ability brought over from the past but not developed further in this lifetime. Only when wrong psychological states are mistaken for true intuition do they bring trouble, as illustrated by the following true story.
Once I went to a farmhouse and met a man who had semi-developed intuition. He bothered everybody with the display of his intuition. He tried it on me several times, until I had an overdose of his semi-intuitional practices and decided to wake him up.
One day, while we were sitting in the farm parlor and the door was closed, we heard footsteps and I asked my semi-intuitive friend, “Will you please tell me who is at the door?”
He forthwith replied, “It is my uncle coming home after many years though he never wrote to tell me he was coming.”
The door was opened and the uncle appeared. When questioned he verified my friend’s statement, saying that he came suddenly without notification. My friend triumphantly exclaimed,
“See, I have fully-developed intuition and not semi-developed intuition as you often say.”
Then I remonstrated. “My friend, beware. You will make a horrible blunder some time. You have had a little intuition all your life, but you have not practiced the technique of developing it to the extent that you can really depend upon it.” He laughed at me, but soon I had the occasion to laugh at him. My mischievous prayer was answered.
One dismal, rainy day, we sat in the farm parlor again, when suddenly there was a loud knock on the closed door. I said to my friend, “Now use your semi-intuition and tell me who is knocking.”
He concentrated for a moment and then said, “My brother has unexpectedly arrived. Open the door.”
I laughed at him and replied, “No, not I. I wouldn’t go near the door. My intuition tells me not to. You had better open the door yourself.”
Saying this, I ran to the other side of the room. He opened the door, and in rushed the farm bull with menacing horns, angrily seeking shelter from the rain. My friend jumped aside frantically and the bull ran after me. Of course, I was prepared for it and just stepped aside, loudly exclaiming, “My friend, your semi-intuition indeed foretold about your brother arriving!”
A message received through intuition
Intuition is developed through meditation. The more you meditate and reason in a calm state, the more intuition you will have. Calm reason and calm feeling lead to true intuition. Spiritually advanced souls use their intuition in everything they do, and thus accomplish the seemingly impossible.
I was once at the hermitage of my Guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, when he was away for a few days. He wrote me a letter saying that he was arriving by train at nine o’clock, and that I should meet him. A friend of mine, a new devotee, was also waiting with me. As nine o’clock approached, he said, “Let us go and meet your Master now.”
When I said, “Not yet,” he was astonished. I said that because I had intuitively received Master’s message that he wasn’t coming on the nine o’clock train. My friend, however, went to the station and waited and waited, but Master did not come. Finally he came back.
Shortly afterwards I said, “Let us both go now.”
My friend replied, “Your Master writes you to meet him at nine o’clock and you would not go, but now you want to take me to meet him?”
I said, “Never mind. You will see. The train will be arriving just as we get there. It will be filled with light and my Master will be on that train. When he approaches us, a little boy with a silver jug will be walking in front of him. Master’s first words to me will be, ‘Did you get my message?’”
I went to the station with my friend and sure enough, just as we got there, the train pulled in and Master appeared. There was a little boy with a silver jug just ahead of him.
As soon as Master saw me, he said, “Did you get my message?”
Then he turned and said to the new disciple, “Your mind is too restless and that is why you didn’t get my message.”
Develop true intuition through meditation
To develop true intuition, meditate regularly every morning and before going to bed at night. Then sit quietly after meditation, feeling a calm peace. Intuition is the feeling that causes you to enjoy the peace felt during and after meditation. After meditation, sit still for a long time, enjoying the inner peace. Just as you don’t cook your food and then run off without eating it, but sit down and enjoy it, so also with meditation. The meditation techniques help to prepare the mind, but afterwards sit quietly, enjoying the “meal” you’ve prepared.
Many people meditate until they feel a touch of peace, but then jump up and leave their meditation for their activities. That is all right, if you have important work waiting for you — it is always better to meditate before any activity so that you feel at least some peace as you work. Whenever possible, however, sit for a long time after your practice of the techniques. The deepest enjoyment will come at that time. Intuition is developed by continuously deepening that enjoyment and holding on to its calm after-effects.
The more you exercise the power of intuition, the stronger it will become. Sometimes, during the day, your intuition will seize you, even when you are not thinking about it, and will foretell future events.
Solve problems through intuition
Whenever you want to solve a problem intuitively, meditate first and enter a state of perfect calmness. Do not think of your problem during meditation, but meditate until your breath becomes calm and a sense of calmness fills the inner recesses of your body. Then concentrate simultaneously at the point between the eyebrows and the heart, and ask God to direct your intuition so that you know what you should do.
When your intuition is fully developed, you will stand firm in your knowledge and convictions no matter who opposes you.