What is “intuition”? Where does it come from, and how do we develop it to its highest potential? And, what does it have to do with jelly beans? These are deep questions.
To begin to understand the intuition from a biological standpoint, it’s important to recognize that humans are light beings. By that, I mean that we have biologically evolved to experience reality solely through the information carried by light (electromagnetic energy). Everything you see, hear, touch, smell, taste, think and imagine is a hallucination that is generated in your brain in response to electrical and magnetic energies you are either perceiving externally, or generating internally. You are not really seeing the color blue. Your brain is creating it in response to light. You are not actually feeling warm; your brain is creating the sensation in response to light. You are not really smelling that smell; your brain is creating the illusion of it in response to light, et cetera. Every single thing in your reality is a hallucination generated in your brain in response to the information carried by light particles. Everything.
That doesn’t mean that your experiences are not “real.” What it does mean is that we are biologically tuned to light. Light brings us information. Light literally creates our reality from the inside out. We are so finely attuned to light that the human eye, when light sensitized, is capable of perceiving the energy of a single photon (light particle); which is astounding given that photons are subatomic particles. Meaning they are smaller than an atom. Meaning they are tinier than the tiniest thing you can imagine. However, under the right conditions, we can see it. That is how tuned in we are to the information carried by light. Understanding this one fact opens up a whole new level of understanding where intuition may come from, as well as how humans can sense energy levels that are believed by many skeptics to be too subtle for anyone to feel. However, it is even more amazing to consider just how much light information we process.
Your brain processes between 27 and 29 billion bits of information per second, on average. That information comes from all the usual sensory channels, as well as what is happening within your own body and from electromagnetic fields outside of your body such as sunlight, the energy field of the Earth, and the electromagnetic fields (auras) of other people, and other sources such as spirits and guides. To understand how much information you are processing in any given moment, think of each byte of information as a jelly bean. It takes about 5 billion jelly beans to fill one Olympic-size swimming pool. 29 billion jelly beans, then, would just about fill six Olympic sized swimming pools. That’s a lot of jelly beans! And, it’s a lot of information. Just ponder that for a moment. Imagine six Olympic-size swimming pools full of jelly bean information being processed, every single second.
How much of this information do you think you process consciously? Go on, take a guess!
Imagine that you’re reaching into one of those swimming pools and scooping up as many jelly beans as you can hold in your arms. Got ’em? Great! Now, put them all back.
Take out five jelly beans and put them in the palm of your hand. O.k., maybe take nine if you’re feeling particularly aware. Yes, really.
Out of those six pools filled with jelly beans, your conscious mind processes only five to nine bits per second. That’s five to nine single bits. In other words, you process only about .0000000003 % on a conscious level. That is such a tiny fraction it is mind boggling. So, the next time you’re thinking about how aware you are on a conscious level, just consider the vast amount of information of which that part of the mind is completely unaware, and be humbled.
So, what happens to all of that other information? It is still processed. Your brain receives and interprets and categorizes and reacts to all of it; however, you’re not conscious of it. This is the pool of information (or pools, according to our jelly bean metaphor) from which your intuition arises. This is the subtle information that makes up your psychic awareness and your spiritual experience.
We all receive and process about the same amount of information, so what makes some people psychic and others not-so-psychic? The answer doesn’t lie in the amount of jelly beans you’re holding in your hand, but in which jelly beans you are holding.
People with more obvious intuitive abilities tend to process different parts of the subtle information than is perceived by those who do not necessarily exhibit psychic ability. Instead of grabbing just any 5-9 jelly beans out of the pools each second, or the 5-9 jelly beans they are in the mental habit of grabbing, someone with refined psychic or intuitive abilities can choose to select only the green ones or the red ones. They can tune their conscious processing of information to pick out that information that they need. For some people, this is a natural processing ability. For others, it is learned.
So, now you’ve got the jelly beans, but what do they mean? How do you interpret this intuitive information? For many of my students, this is the most difficult part of the process. Receiving information is easy— we do it all the time. Tuning into the information is also easy, you just need to train your brain to pick out different jelly beans than it is used to choosing. But, understanding the information contained in the jelly bean can be trickier.
This is because people process this information in different ways. Some people are visual and will receive visions in their mind’s eye to represent the information (clairvoyant). Others will receive the information in the form of words or sounds (clairaudient). Still others (the vast majority) will receive the information through their feeling sense— both physical and emotional (clairsentient). These psychic channels are the same as the three learning styles children use to process new information in school. Everyone naturally has all three channels available to them, but one channel will tend to be more natural and dominant than others.
If you don’t know which channel you tend to use to perceive subtle information, you may very well miss it while waiting for it to come through another channel. For instance, many people associate being psychic with seeing auras or light beings. If you are not processing on the visual channel, you won’t see auras. You won’t see anything. Alternatively, you may think that you’ll receive direct verbal messages that make literal sense. If you aren’t receiving on the auditory channel, that won’t happen. That doesn’t mean you’re not receiving the same information in another way—for instance, through your kinesthetic senses. However, if you’re expecting to see auras or hear voices, you may give up if you don’t– instead of tuning to another channel to receive the information. The primary reason that people don’t use their intuitive ability is simply that they are looking in the wrong place for the information.
In addition to determining the channel you are receiving on, you also need to be aware of the meaning behind the information you are receiving. It may not be as obvious as you think, because the brain processes and stores information as symbols, not necessarily as a literal representation of what it is perceiving. In other words, it is unusual to receive information in the way that our conscious mind thinks of it—direct, linear, verbal explanations of what you are perceiving. That is because the brain tends to use symbolic language to represent what it is perceiving, and to convey to the conscious mind how it should feel about it and react to it. For most people, subtle information is more like a holographic imprint of the total meaning and feeling of the thing— rather than a linear description of it. Learning what your internal symbolic language represents is a process that requires some study and self-awareness. Keeping a dream journal or a meditation journal can be very helpful in this respect, as it allows you to identify what your inner symbols represent. As experiences unfold after the dream or meditation, you can often come to understand what your deep intuition was attempting to convey to you.
Another pitfall in interpreting intuitive input is the conscious mind itself. The conscious mind can override the true meaning of subtle information being communicated to you through your intuitive faculties. I see this often in my training programs for energy healers. They may have read somewhere that a particular stone has certain properties and is meant to be used in a specific way. When they practice meditation with the stone to experience its subtle energies, they may have a vision, hear or feel something that does not have an obvious conscious interpretation. So, they will consciously associate what they have experienced in the meditation with the information their conscious mind had previously gathered about the stone. In other words, they may completely misinterpret their intuitive information by overwriting its subtle meaning with formerly gathered conscious information. This makes it difficult to access their “true intuition” and to understand the stone’s potential on a personal level. This leads to disappointment when the stone doesn’t do what they think it should do.
There are many training programs available to help you to develop the breadth and accuracy of your intuition. Understanding where intuition comes from is a first step, and makes it much easier to develop your true intuition and bypass the limitations of your conscious mind.