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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.

"Because of the discomfort that the word psychic generates, it often gets downplayed or called by the name of its weaker but more respectable cousin intuition, even when psychic is what people mean."

Belleruth Naparstek, Your Sixth Sense, Part 2

Because of the discomfort that the word psychic generates, it often gets downplayed or called by the name of its weaker but more respectable cousin intuition, even when psychic is what people mean. Several of the people I interviewed, in fact, told me that they avoided using the term psychic, even though it probably best conveyed what they could do, because of all of its unpalatable connotations. They preferred calling themselves intuitive counselors, seers, spiritual advisors, or empaths--anything but psychics. (Frankly, I question whether these alternate terms provide a whole lot more positive cachet.)

What was most interesting to me was how much discomfort, embarrassment, chagrin, and repugnance surrounded the term psychic. That's a lot of heat on one small word. I suspect it reflects our culture's intense ambivalence toward the whole topic. We're all a little intrigued and embarrassed, I'd say.

All of that notwithstanding, psychic really is the word that immediately and unambiguously describes certain things. Psychic is the elaborate but sudden "pop" of information that comes all of a piece, seemingly from nowhere. Like intuition, it bypasses rational thinking and just presents itself. But unlike intuition, it also bypasses our five senses and doesn't even bother to dress itself up as a sensory fragment. Because of this, psychic knowing is odder, more striking than intuition, and its appearance might reflect a stronger connection or deeper state of mind. Psychic information tends to be more defined and complex, and it's harder to ignore it or palm it off as a logic-related anomaly. It's intuition--only more so.

It has been my experience that, in spite of the fact that psychic knowing tends to be more dramatic and flamboyant, generally more astonishing and impressive than intuition, it does seem to come from the same preconditions and circumstances. It takes the same methodology to invoke it--only perhaps more of it, in more concentrated doses, over more time. In other words, psychic knowing comes from the same well, only deeper down.

The Knowledge that Comes From Experience

The knowledge that comes from experience can be as fast and as smooth as intuition or psychic knowing, but it's not the same thing. It is the product of logical thinking that has simply become quick and automatic. It's cause-and-effect common sense, accelerated by repetition. Sometimes a dash of intuition is thrown in, too, but often it exists all by itself.

For instance, knowing to cross the street when an innocuous-looking but in fact dangerous stranger is approaching might at first glance look like an intuitive choice, and possibly it is. But it could also result from a combination of memory and analysis, the brain having first made a quick assessment of an atypically stealthy gait, some shifty eye movements, or a certain way of holding the arms and hands and then, based on past experience, associating this particular body language with danger.

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