Why You Can’t Always Trust Your Gut Feeling?
Sadhguru: Intuition is not a different dimension of perception, as people usually try to make out. Intuition is just a quicker way of arriving at the same answer. Intuition is just a way of making use of the data and jumping the steps. For example, let’s say I ask you, “This year, first of September, what day is it?” You will take a paper and a pen and start calculating. It may take eight to ten steps for you to get there. But anyway these calculations are there in your mind. If you are intuitive, you don’t go through those ten steps; you just arrive at the answer. If your mind works like this, you don’t have calculate everything each time; you can just pull out the information needed as and when it is needed. That is intuition.
A lot of children, especially autistic children, who are impaired in some way in terms of normal function, tend to be very intuitive with some other aspect of their minds. Sometime ago I met one boy who was about eleven years of age. He is in a special school. But if you ask him, “3000 B.C., March 1st, what day is it?” he will reply right away. If you check it up, it will be right. He will never be wrong. He does not even have to think about it. It is just there.
Intuition is a different way of arriving at the answer without going through the necessary logical steps. You are skipping the logic and getting there. The logical mind is going through the process; the intuitive mind is not going through the process, but just picking out the information that it wants at the right time. You can be trained for that.
Training The Mind For Intuitiveness
Questioner: Can we train the mind to become more intuitive in our daily lives to make more effective everyday decisions?
Sadhguru: The simple yoga practice that we teach enhances both logic and intuition. Am I logical? I am. But I don’t do anything logically; everything is intuitive for me. The volume and variety of activity that I have taken up in my life would drive people crazy. But because I don’t go through it logically, because I arrive at things intuitively, there is no effort in it. It simply happens.
But without data, intuitiveness will not work. You definitely need data. But there is no calculation. And data is gathered every moment; all the five sense organs are continuously gathering data.
The kind of things that people come to me with is not just spirituality. If somebody is building a building and there is some problem with the engineering, they come to me. If somebody is fixing a machine and there is some problem, they come to me. It is not because I am trained in this. It is just that you look at the building, right? If you see this building, whether you are conscious or not conscious, your eyes have taken a complete picture of it. If you keep a certain level of clarity, any time you want, it can be pulled out.
If I drive today, especially on the Himalayan range, I know every bend on the road, every rock, every major tree. When I drive, it is like the next corner is already in my mind. People don’t understand why I am driving at this speed. Everybody else is traveling at twenty-five to thirty kilometers, and I am just whizzing because I am already seeing the next two, three bends in the road in my mind. I only have to watch out for the vehicles, I don’t have to bother about the road at all because the road is very clear in my mind. And it is so in everybody’s mind; it is just that they messed it up so much that they cannot pull out the information when they need it.
So, as you do the practice, if you are connected with your consciousness, then the mind is just free. It is so free that everything that you have smelled, tasted, touched, heard and seen is all there. You don’t have to try to remember anything; it is all simply there. You can just pull it back. Memory is not about remembering, memory is just about your ability to bring back the data.
Head vs Gut Feeling
Questioner: So all of us have it to some extent, don’t we – a kind of gut feeling about things?
Sadhguru: To give an example, today these things are completely going away, but in the last generation, if you went to the doctor, the doctor would simply sit and have a conversation with you and know everything that is right and wrong with you. Nobody would scan you with all these MRIs and CATs. Even now there are a few doctors like that. All this information is written on you in so many ways.
If you come to certain parts of South India, you will see certain communities of people that have been traditionally trained in these things. They just look at your face and they will tell you your father’s name, your mother’s name, your child’s name. They will tell you almost everything about what has happened to you in your life and what may happen to you tomorrow. And after all that, they ask you for just ten rupees. For just that ten rupees, he will just tell you everything.
This is intuition. If you are willing to look carefully, you know how to use it. Now, sometimes, unconsciously you are able to grasp some information about the other person. Intuition is just using the data in a very beautiful and effective way. But it is not another dimension of perception.
But as I repeatedly keep saying, you can activate different levels of perception in the human system. When I say different levels of perception, I mean that if I sit here with my eyes closed and if somebody walks into the hall from the back, I will tell you what kind of person has entered the hall. This is not any great yoga. Your dog can do it, you know? Your dog is hiding under the sofa; when somebody walks in, he knows who has walked in. You also have it. So why did you lose it? It has been lost because you are too psychological; you are not with the world. You are just too busy with your own nonsense all the time so all the beautiful things that you are capable of have been lost, that’s all.
How Important is Gut Feeling?
Questioner: How much importance should we give this intuition?
Sadhguru: Sometimes intuition is a very confusing thing. A lot of people say, “Oh, I think I have a gut feeling.” People who go to the horse races particularly! Ninety percent of the time they lose, but still they have a gut feeling because it worked once. It worked once and ten times it failed, but still they go on banking on that one time that worked. That is, just by chance things may happen.
Intuition once in a way is a very dangerous thing because you won’t know how to decide whether it is a hundred percent yes or no; so great turmoil will happen within you. Your logical mind says one thing; you think your intuition is saying something else. It must be one hundred percent clear; otherwise intuition is more of a nuisance. It is better to drop it and just rely on the logical process. Even if it takes longer, at least you get somewhere. This intuition may just land you in all kinds of situations because you believe things. There are lots of people like this, who are constantly making wrong decisions about everything in their life because they think they have intuition. If there is even a one percent doubt, it is better to use the logical mind, however limited it is, because it is more reliable. You can cross-check it. Intuition cannot be cross-checked.
Editor’s Note: Excerpted from the ebook “Of Mystics and Mistakes”, available on Isha Downloads.