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Excerpted from Developing Intuition by Shakti Gawain. Copyright 2000 by Shakti Gawain. Excerpted by permission of New World Library, 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.

"We can learn to be in touch with our intuition, to follow it, and to allow it to become a powerful guide in our lives."

  Shakti Gawain, 
Developing Intuition, Part 1

What Is Intuition?

There is a universal, intelligent life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition, an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.

Many people who are not accustomed to being consciously in touch with their intuition imagine that it is a mysterious force that would come to them through some transcendent mystical experience. In fact, our intuition is a very practical, down-to-earth tool that is always available to help us deal with the decisions, problems, and challenges of our daily lives. One way that we often describe an intuitive prompting is as a "gut feeling" or a "hunch."

Intuition is a natural thing. We are all born with it. Young children are very intuitive, although in our culture they are often trained out of it early in life.

We are accustomed to thinking that some people are intuitive and some aren't. Women are generally considered to be more intuitive than men, for example. Yet many men follow their hunches on a regular basis. In reality, we are all potentially intuitive. Some of us consciously develop this ability, while a majority of us learn to disregard and deny it. Still, many people are unconsciously following their intuition without realizing it.

Fortunately, with some practice most of us can reclaim and develop our natural intuitive abilities. We can learn to be in touch with our intuition, to follow it, and to allow it to become a powerful guide in our lives.

In many cultures, including those of most of the indigenous peoples of the world, intuition is acknowledged, respected, and honored as a natural and important aspect of life. Every moment of daily life is guided by a strong sense of connection to the universal creative force. These societies create powerful rituals, such as group councils, dream sharing, chants, dances, and vision quests, that support their connection to the inner intuitive realms. Individuals within those cultures learn to trust and follow their own inner sense of truth and offer it as their wisdom to others. They have a profound sense of the interconnectedness of all life.

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