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Archive for August, 2014

Intuition

My wife, bless her heart, can walk up to any dog, anywhere, and say, “Hi Sweetie,” stick out her hand and after a sniff or two, scratch it behind the ears. Dogs just seem to know.

If she sees a cat, she says, “Hi, Sweetie,” and in five seconds, the cat is on her lap being scratched under the chin. Cats just seem to know.

The first time I saw her, from thirty yards away without knowing if she was married, engaged, or otherwise compromised, I just seemed to know that my single days were over and that was almost exactly fifty-three years, 30 days and four hours ago.

It shouldn’t have happened, of course. I had years of schooling left and I had no money. There were things I wanted to do, places I wanted to see, and there were friendships that would not let go. And yet I knew.

Five years later, after finishing a long stretch of graduate work, we were invited to Chile. In many ways, it meant the postponement of a career that I had planned for since the age of thirteen. It meant a new culture, a new language and new challenges. And on this side, there were aging parents and promises made. And yet, we knew.

It is a marvelous thing, this thing that evolution has given us. Certainly intuition is often at odds with reason, its younger sibling, but that is only because we let it happen. When we use the lobe of our brain responsible for reason, our response is slow. We need data, we need analysis, we need conversation and we need time. Further, there appear to be a number of cells and synapses that continuously jump in front the reason train to slow things down even more.

Intuition is different. It resides on the other side of the brain and is variously described as “instinct,” a “sixth sense,” a “gut feeling,” a “hunch,” a “tug at the heart,” and, I suppose, “muscle memory” can also be thrown in. But if you take any of these descriptors and break them apart you will find that they are the result of millions of individual bits of information gathered by all of our senses throughout our personal histories that are then stored in the corners of our mind, in our subconscious, to be called upon when needed—even when we don’t realize they are needed.

And that is why I put number 19 in my list of 20 things to be aware of while searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure (Intuition and the Art of Sleuthiness). It says, “Intuition is not an enemy.”

I still believe it.

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