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Excerpted from Your Sixth Sense by Belleruth Naparstek. Copyright © 1998 by Belleruth Naparstek. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"What interests me most is how we get useful information that bypasses "normal" cognition, perception, or logic."

Belleruth Naparstek
Your Sixth Sense
, Part 1

What Psychic Ability Is, How It Works, Who's Got It and Why

Clarifying Some Terms

As I said in my Introduction, the general territory I'm looking at is what parapsychology researchers call psi--the knowing and sensing that overleaps logic, analysis, and rational thought and just shows up. This is called intuition, esp, psychic ability, telepathy, clairvoyance, high sense perception, and paranormal intelligence.

For my purposes here, I'm much less interested in other aspects of psi. For instance, I won't be spending a lot of time in this book on the phenomenon of psychokinesis (pk), which is about making things happen from a distance with our intention (as in healing, prayer, and the more mundane tricks of spoon bending, table tipping, and the like). And I pretty much ignore the ghosts, goblins, and spirit aspect of things, too (phenomena that also get subsumed under the category of psi), except when some research in this arena helps me make a point about esp. What interests me most is how we get useful information that bypasses "normal" cognition, perception, or logic.

Clarifying some of my terms will help establish the territory I am talking about. I differentiate among three ways of knowing that often get confused and interchanged. The first is what I call the knowledge that comes from experience; second is intuition; and third is what I refer to as psychic knowing. Even though later on I use the terms intuitive and psychic interchangeably (particularly because so many people in my study had such an antipathy toward the word psychic and beseeched me to please not use it when referring to them), I'd like to distinguish them here.

But first, I'd like to say that I know perfectly well that the word psychic has a rather tinny sound, carrying with it some fairly cheesy associations with seances, table tipping, and things that go bump in the night. The negative connotations of the word have been exacerbated by the recent appearance of a spate of tv psychic hot lines of dubious reputation and skill.

The word intuition, though still suspect, is on a bit more respectable ground and can be carried more easily into a mainstream venue. When dressed up in its masculine garb and called gut instinct or hunch, we can take it almost anywhere.

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