"Intuition". It's a word that's thrown around a lot and it tends to invoke a variety of conceptions (and misconceptions). Some people hear the word and relate it to "that gut feeling you get when something is wrong"; some people conjure stereotypes of kooky head-wrapped gypsy women, who read old dirty tarot cards on the side of the road and wear colorful crystal jewelry, while still other people deny its importance altogether and think its the rumbling of hippies and the rationally challenged.
Popular culture would have us all believe that if our intuition doesn't filter into our awareness like Long Island Medium than we don't have it, or its only for the special (or the crazy).
Intuition isn't the creepy thing that movies and popular culture would have us believe. In fact, intuition is likely an evolutionary inheritance from a time when we lacked sophisticated communication techniques and needed it in order to survive. Early human beings needed to intuit when a saber-tooth tiger could be circling the cave, so they could guard themselves from danger, without going out and looking for it. In our modern overly-rationalized Western world we tend to scoff at its importance but it should be balanced with rationality and common sense.
Intuition is the unconscious mind's way of delivering information that we may not have access to on a conscious level. It transcends and includes sensory information we receive using our 5 senses, hence it is referred to as the sixth sense (yes, yes, I thought of the "I see dead people" jokes that would pop to mind).
Intuition can carry a multitude of information about ourselves, our body, our loved ones, society or even the universe as a whole (depending on how evolved our intuitive abilities are).
Some people receive very basic "hits" about a situation or person, such as "he seems like a nice guy" or "that darkened abandoned building doesn't seem too safe" while others may get very specific information such as, "There's something wrong with her liver functioning, I can just tell" or "your future child will be a girl, with blond hair, green eyes and a birthmark the shape of California on her arm. When she's 30 she'll marry a football player and move to Queens" (okay that's extreme but you get the point).
We all have intuitive faculties (and we use them all the time whether we know it or not). The extent to which we are plugged into our intuitive voice varies depending on our willingness to "decode" the information we're getting. We must learn how our intuition "talks" to us. The way we process intuition can be as varied as the way we process other types of information.
Just as we all process intellectual information through various means: auditory, kinesthetic, visual, etc our intuition is filtered in much the same way. Recognizing how our intuition filters into our conscious mind can be immensely helpful.
We all utilize all of these intuitive styles but one or two may be more primary for you:
This is the typical way we think of intuitive information coming in. People who filter their intuition visually tend to have an easy time visualizing future outcomes, and may be accused of having "over active imaginations". They often receive what may seem like imaginary scenes in their minds eye. At the most basic level they may see a mental image of someone and feel impelled to call them, later finding that person was thinking of them or was in need in some way. These people often have very vivid dreams, or may dream of events to come in a very clear way.
On the more developed side visual intuitives may see energies in the atmosphere, or around other people (such as auras) or may even see discarnate beings or things other people insist are not there.
It's important to note that these visual impressions do not present in the hallucinatory, mental illness or drug induced kind of way, it's often in the minds eye for most people. Visual intuitives, if very developed, can experience a difficult transition period as they become accustomed to seeing things that consensual reality may not see, and as a result will "close down" the third eye in order to cope. Most children have this ability developed and shut it down as they age due to what they are told about what is "real".
These people may hear a "little voice" in their head tell them something about a situation they may not know (again, I'm talking about in a mentally healthy kind of way...if you're hearing violent or angry voices that could be a sign of mental imbalance). Often people who prefer auditory intuitive processing will experience sensations in their ears such as whispering or other phenomena if energy is attempting to communicate with them. They may receive verbal messages that steer them in one direction or another.
On a more basic level they will be clued into that "little voice" that steers them in a direction or informs them of something they need to know "don't go down I-35...there's traffic". We all have the little voice, some people's are just more developed than others. On the low side this type of intuition can mingle with our own mental chatter and become confusing and distracting.
Physical (Kinesthetic) Intuition
People who are physically intuitive tend to feel their intuition as a gut reaction or a physical sensation. They may get chills, or flush with warmth and then feel compelled to do something in response to those sensations. On the most basic level kinesthetic intuitives may get a "good or bad feeling" about something and experience a physical response to intuitive information. More complexly they may be prone to sympathetically feeling (in their own body) the feelings of others, or of the environment. They may be able to feel the physical ailments of others in varying degrees.
Many physical intuitives can feel burdened by the energy in a space because it filters easily into their systems, and as a result they may be labeled as "too sensitive". They often feel drained in crowds due to a tendency to absorb energy into their own physical and energetic systems, as a result they can fall prey to illness due to their physical sensitivity. Aaron and I personally experience a lot of this and while it can be interesting, we have to be careful about or environments and crowded situations.
Direct intuitives tend to just "know" things. They may not experience any discernible visual, auditory or kinesthetic sensations or impressions with their knowledge (although sometimes they do). Direct intuitives often feel a sense of resolute knowing about a situation or person that they shouldn't know on a rational or sensory level. They may get "direct downloads" of information, and often find that others are confused at how they arrived at accurate conclusions without being able to explain their processing.
On the more complex end of the spectrum they may be able to explain things they have no direct interaction with (think of the 5 year old who can explain Einstein's theory of relativity with extreme precision and accuracy).
As an aside: This is one of my main styles and it can be annoying to explain how you got to a conclusion or prediction without going from point A to point B...this often got me in trouble in math in school when you are supposed to describe your logical progression and "show your work. I would always say "I don't know! I just knew that was the answer." Teachers often didn't understand. Hence, I did not do well in math.
So what styles fit your personal experience? We love hearing about the different ways people experience their intuitive perceptions.