At the beginning of his little-known but remarkable book A Guide for the Perplexed, economist and writer E.F Schumacher recounts a story about a trip he once made to Leningrad.
Finding himself lost, he consulted a map in the hope of locating a nearby church. But he couldn’t make it out. The church was there in front of him, he was certain, but it was not marked on the map. Eventually a local informed him that, “We don’t show churches on our maps.”
Here is a common problem of our age. Given society’s unerring faith in rationalism, it can often seem that huge swathes of human experience have been “left off the map.” It’s as though the dictum “if something can’t be proven or understood scientifically, then it doesn’t exist” has been set as the guiding principle for living.
This, Schumacher laments, is neither right nor helpful. It leads to a “closing-off” of vital dimensions of life, of which intuition – an experience that usually falls beyond the scope of scientific explanation – is one.
Nonetheless, accepted as this dictum is, it’s led many of us to shut out the voice of our intuition. We need rehabilitation. And that’s where this article comes in….
What is this thing that Albert Einstein referred to as one of our most unused senses?
The point is that it can’t be pinned down. It has an ethereal quality. It can only be felt, not properly known in the traditional sense.
Your intuition is the force of inspiration that guides to the path, people and way of living that is uniquely enlivening for you. It’s the ability to recognize the signs of the “soul of the universe”, to quote Paulo Coelho, and their significance in your life. It’s an instinctive “knowing” that something is right (or that it isn’t), based on the often illogical understanding of what will make you happy.
It’s also capable of a great many things. It can alert you to the path that you will find most fulfilling, it can tell you things that other people can’t, it can connect the intelligence of the subconscious mind with your conscious experience.
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