This week I am going to explore why it is so important to be able to decipher between intuition and brain BS. In the context of a couple of personal stories, I am going to point out the differences between the two and disclose why it is important to understand the relationship between our brain BS, conscious thoughts, and our intuition.
Okay, lets’ start with defining intuition. I looked it up in the dictionary and these are the two definitions I found; the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning, and a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. So, what does that tell us? Right off the bat, we know that intuition comes from a different place than brain BS. How do we know that they come from different places? Because unconscious reasoning comes from our primitive brain or what I also call the ego, which is where our brain BS lives. If intuition does not come from conscious reasoning or the unconscious part of us, it must come from somewhere else. That somewhere else would be our higher self or what I call the soul.
So now you might be wondering how can you tell if something is coming from our primitive brain vs our soul? It’s pretty easy when we cultivate self-awareness and actually pay attention to what is happening in our mind and body. The quick answer is we can tell by the way it feels in our body. If it is from our soul, there is always some pay off or positive result even if it includes discomfort from personal growth. If it is from our primitive brain or ego, it feels crappy and uncomfortable and there is no upside.
Now that we have established we have two different sources inside us for how to think and they are always in contrast (conscious vs unconscious), I want to now explain the difference between conscious thinking and intuition. Basically, one is choosing your thoughts on purpose (consciousness) and the other is a an instinctual knowing. Both come from our higher self and are essential to live a deliberate life where we purposely create the results we want. I will share a few stories and illustrate how both serve you in different but equally important ways.
The first story I want to share is when I went to a local University for a continuing education program in occupational therapy. They called the program Scholarship of Service Day, but they could have called it anything and I would have gone because time was running out for me to meet my license renewal requirements. I went to the school having no idea that the whole program was about getting a doctorate in occupational therapy, which I had absolutely no intention of doing prior to that day. I listened to what all the speakers had to say and intuitively knew that getting a doctorate in occupational therapy was going to be the next step for me. I had no idea what I would do with it, how it would play out, I just knew I was going to get it. At that moment, it finally made sense to me why I was inspired to get a Master of Education and never use it; so that I would be eligible for a doctorate program at this particular time in my life!
Now at this point, while my intuition was suggesting this bold new challenge, by brain BS was offering me something entirely different. I was worried about what my husband would say when I told him I wanted to go back to school again. I was worried if this old gray mare could handle the cognitive challenges associated with a doctorate program. I was worried about the technology I would have to learn and was not sure I was capable of what would be required of me to do that. I was worried about driving to the city and where I would park. I had so many fears and concerns but just moved ahead with my plans anyways because I did have some insight into myself and was somewhat managing my mind before I really learned how to do that. My thought was pretty much, I never let fear stop me. Intuition gives us our path and conscious thinking leads us down it.
As it turns out, the program was not a good fit for me. The mentor that I was set up with was woefully inadequate for my needs. We were a terrible fit! After a couple months working with her, my intuition told me it was not going to work out. I didn’t get all worked up over it or turn it into a drama. Afterall, I did learn how to get comfortable driving to the city, and I did discover that this school was not for me which was valuable information to confirm. I notified the school that I was quitting and happily started to look for an online program. I eventually signed on with St. Catherine University in MN and successfully completed their post professional occupational therapy doctorate program.
So how did I know it was my intuition that told me that it was not going to work out? Because that knowledge came from a calm, centered and grounded place in me. It did not come from a drama filled space in my head like my brain BS does. It was quieter and matter of fact and did not cause me any uncomfortable emotions. Once we start paying attention to how our thoughts make us feel, we can easily tell the difference between brain BS and intuition.
Okay, let me give you another example of how my intuition literally gave me my path, and my conscious thoughts led me down it. The other day, I was walking my normal path in the forest preserve and I impulsively decided to go down a path that I have never went down before. I was a little nervous about it because I did not know where it would lead and if it would circle back to where I came from but, my intuition said go for it. It was a beautiful area along the lagoon with very few people on it and full of vegetation. I walked quite a distance and started to get a little nervous about getting lost. I was experiencing lots of brain BS too from watching Dexter and many years of Dateline with my Dad! Instead of giving into it like I would have in the past, I kept distancing myself from those fearful thoughts that I was in danger and determined that I was totally safe and would not entertain anything else other than that. I did this consciously by choosing that thought on purpose and it was working. When the fear would come up, I would breathe into it, not resist it, and it would dissipate. I kept doing that until it was gone.
So after I had been walking for about 45 minutes, I determined that the path was not going to loop back to the origin of my walk so I better turn around. While the path appeared fairly easy to stay on when I was walking outward, it looked quite different in the opposite direction with lots of paths veering of the main path. I managed my fears about getting lost in there (because I did not have my phone-which was kind of stupid!) and purposely kept myself calm with the Law of Attraction in mind. This stuff really works! The sense of calm that I took with me on the new path also led me to listen to my intuition and take note of a certain tree trunk so that I did not miss my turn coming back. As it turns out, I walked right past that tree trunk, but my intuition spoke up and said, hold up, you better make sure that was not the turn you just passed up. Had I been all frazzled and worried about getting lost, I would not have been calm, centered and grounded enough to hear that voice and I would have gone in the wrong direction to God knows where. Once I made that turn, I felt confident I was going in the right direction again and I was.
So there you have it. I have shared a couple personal stories about how brain BS, conscious thinking and intuition all work together. Our intuition can lead us to take an action and it comes from our higher self. Because of that, it is always in our best interest. If we take good care of ourselves and make our emotional and mental health a priority, we can hear that inner voice when it speaks to us. Once we take action from that space, we have to choose our thoughts on purpose to support us when the brain BS comes up…not if it comes up! Be assured, that anytime we try to do something new and unfamiliar, it is going to come up in full force and try to get us to go back into the cave and keep doing the same old, same old. Now you know how to manage your mind when intuition is calling for something new and amazing. That walk was absolutely beautiful! I had no idea it was even there until my intuition inspired me to decide to veer from my usual routine. It was also an amazing opportunity to learn more about myself and experiment with mind management.
In conclusion, it is essential to understand how to decipher between our brain BS and our intuition. Once we do that, we can actively listen for our intuition because we know it is looking out for our best interest. It is also valuable to know that whenever we do listen to it, brain BS is going to come up for sure and that does not have to be a problem. We just don’t buy into it, we permit the uncomfortable feelings and process them, and we choose our thoughts on purpose (consciously). Understanding the relationship amongst intuition, brain BS, and conscious thinking helps us to get us new results that permit us to grow and live up to our potential.