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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.

"I become like a heat-seeking missile, going back and forth, circling around, scanning for the buried hot spot."

Belleruth Naparstek, Your Sixth Sense, Part 3

Students of intuition call this quick, subliminal processing chunking, and it takes place when certain perceptions, through repeated experience, become so automatic as to feel intuitive. Chunking, in fact, often combines seamlessly with intuition.

Clinicians rely on this kind of information all the time, as do seasoned workers in any field. An example of it happened recently with a new client, a beautiful, chisel-featured woman of sixty-one, a successful writer with badly metastasized lung cancer, who was seeking guidance for holistic therapies after a failed course of chemotherapy. The overriding impression that I got from her was that she seemed very, very tired.

While taking her history, I asked her a couple of standard questions about what she had to live for and how much emotional support she was getting. At some point in our conversation, I became aware of feeling a vague sort of discomfort, a very familiar feeling that I'm used to experiencing in my sessions: the best way I can describe it is as a nonspecific sense that something important had been skipped over. I could feel my attention being yanked back to something that she had almost said a couple of questions earlier. But I couldn't place exactly where it was or what it was about.

Invariably when this happens, with barely a conscious thought my interest gets activated, and, before even knowing why, I become like a heat-seeking missile, going back and forth, circling around, scanning for the buried hot spot. At the same time, and possibly quite unconsciously, my artful friend was doing her best to steer me away from the place. And so we danced our little dance for several minutes.

Somehow, my questions began circling around her relationship with her husband of thirty-six years, gently poking and prodding here and there. With each of her answers, she dodged me elegantly, offering graceful, oblique responses, couched in her impeccable manners.

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