Intuitively speaking

What are your thoughts regarding intuition, specifically women’s intuition? Is it important to pay attention to your gut feelings? Is it ever right to ignore your instinct?

In my world, intuition and instinct are distinctly different. Instinct is learned behavior that has settled in our genes to provide a predisposition to species survival. It’s like an overdrive gear that kicks in when we are afraid, especially of loss. You should always pay attention to your instinct, but you should not always act on it. Because it is fear-based, acting on it regularly simply deepens your attachment to fear. Develop a quick mental process of discernment (see www.thework.com for examples) so your higher consciousness gets involved in the experience, too.

Intuition is an experience of reality without the usual filters imposed by our personal history. Because most people spend their lives collecting information they believe will keep them safe (that is, to ensure they win in arguments, relationships, finances, careers, religion, etc.), their belief systems are too rigid to allow genuine intuition to flow in. True intuition is not accompanied by emotion. It is related to the paradoxical state of being that sages and saints speak of: the knowing that is unknowing.

Most books and courses that teach intuition are actually teaching how to hone instinct. Intuition cannot be taught. It increases as we peacefully accept reality and loosen our hold on the need to be right.

I cheated on my boyfriend with one of his friends. I have never done this before, but my boyfriend has cheated on me in the past. We have been together for five years. Do you think it’s a bad idea to try to stay together? Can we work this out? I could almost write you a book of all the other stuff that has affected our relationship, but I thought I would spare you.

You left out all the juicy stuff on purpose? How will I have any fun at this job?

OK, girlfriend, excavate your heart and tell me why it is worth it to you to align your life and dreams with a man you cannot trust? A man whose proximity to you has inspired you to become a betrayer yourself? It’s like being in prison with all the hard-core offenders. You’re learning how to sell your mind, body and soul chunk by chunk.

Now hear this: If your agreement with your man is that you are both in an exclusive relationship with each other but you cheat on each other, you are liars. It will take a heap of therapy to heal your jones for emotional abuse (that’s what perpetual cheating is—abuse). So, yes, you can work through it, if you both are willing and if you both go to therapy. And I’d recommend it, right away.

I always look forward to reading your column because I invariably find some word of wisdom that applies directly to my life. In the column “Bitter about litter” (SN&R Ask Joey, June 29), you wrote, “Litter may appear … as an unexpected treasure.” I was immediately transported to my youth, when my grandmother and her sister would take me to the beach. In our search for pretty and unusual shells, we found clear, green, blue and brown pebbles that I thought were especially pretty. Many years later, I learned those glass “pebbles” were the wave-sculpted remnants of bottles people tossed over the cliffs instead of recycling them. Though they started as trash, they got a Mother Earth makeover into treasure. Thanks for yet another great thought and memory!

Thank you for sharing such beauty!

Meditation of the Week

There are some great one-liners in <i>A Scanner Darkly</i>, the new animation film based on a story by Philip K. Dick. One of my faves: “I have problems other people don’t have.” Do you use your wounds and addictions to prove your uniqueness?