What a Really Smart Guy Said About Intuition

Oct 2018

Albert Einstein is quoted as stating “The intuitive mind Is a sacred gift and the rational mind Is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift”.  Somehow this “gift’, like the proverbial baby has gotten “thrown out with the bathwater” in our current paradigm that adulates rational thinking and dismisses intuition as “unscientific” or baseless.  How ironic that Einstein is considered one of the greatest scientists of all time.

For Einstein, insight did not come from logic or mathematics. It came, as it does for artists, from intuition and inspiration. As he told one friend, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.” Elaborating, he added, “All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration…. At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.”

We are all naturally intuitive however, in our western culture and education system we are taught to ignore, dismiss and downplay ideas and insight that come to us that have not been ascertained through rational thought and not supported by our five senses.  If we can’t see, hear, feel, touch, or taste something, it can’t be “real”.

In her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Anne Lamott states “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind”.  There are many ways to move beyond the “curtain” of your busy thinking that begins with disconnecting from computers and devices, and into a place of soft-focused relaxation – whatever that looks like for you.

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