In the fourth installment of Kresley Cole's outstanding Immortals After Dark series, Bowen, a werewolf, is convinced that his long-lost mate has been reincarnated as a young, powerful witch, Mariketa the Awaited. One of the reasons he is hopeful that Mariketa is his beloved reborn is that his Instinct, which has been silent since her death, is suddenly guiding him again. Bowen is thrilled with the return of this important aspect of his psyche—the voice in his ear providing direction, validation, and the comfort of certainty. I envied him his Instinct and fantasized about what it would be like to have a similar beacon illuminating my path. I figured it was almost like being able to conjure my own personal burning bush whenever the need arose. Seductive. On the other hand, we humans are animals with instincts. I remember reading somewhere that the only true instinct humans are born with involve the urge to suckle and an innate fear of falling. Seems like a weird combination, but there you have it. So we don't have the Instinct like Kresley Cole's werewolves, but we have something else. Something better, perhaps: intuition.
Intuition is the inner knowing, the gut feeling, and the quiet voice in our heads that seems to understand the truth, even when our minds are less than clear. Our intuition is associated with our third eye—the one between our actual eyes—all-seeing and all-knowing. And if the mystics and the psychics are to be believed, all of us come into the world equipped with that metaphysical ability.
I struggle sometimes to know the right thing to do, the right path to take, the best choice to make. It can be quite daunting to decide based on incomplete information, or conflicting desires. And it can be excruciating not to know—sometimes until much later, if ever, whether I made a good decision. How much easier would it be to know—with certainty—that what we are doing is what we are supposed to be doing.
And that is where intuition is a lot like Bowen's reawakened Instinct. The major difference is that we humans need to cultivate our intuition, whereas Kresley Cole's werewolves have it at their fingertips (unless they've suffered major trauma, like Bowen). The problem for us is multifaceted. First, we can't hear our inner voices (unless, of course, we hear voices, in which case we may be in need of some serious meds or maybe even a padded cell, but that's another issue entirely). Secondly, we don't always trust our inner voices, even when we can hear them. We seek external validation for that which we know—deep in our hearts—to be true. Lastly, even when we hear and trust our guts, we don't want to do what we know we should—for whatever reasons, although mostly those reasons come down to good, old fashioned fear.
In our age of distraction, we can't hear much of anything. We have buds stuffed in our ears, music blaring from our cars, television, movies, video games, overworking, excessive play, and the constant rush, rush, rush of the busy modern life. Who amongst us gets quiet enough or still enough to hear that small whisper within? There are so few Hortons among us to notice the tiny, "Who?" coming from that speck of dust. To attend to our intuition, we must listen. Meditation is good. Long walks are good. Staring into space and contemplating the vastness of the cosmos is also acceptable. And while mindfulness, yoga, TM and other forms of meditative spirituality are gaining traction, not enough of us practice enough to make a discernible difference in the level of intuition being accessed in our busy, busy world.
On top of our perennial busyness, many of us have come to distrust ourselves. We get so many messages from the media, our friends, our parents, our employers, our politicians, etc., about who we should be and what we should think that we dare not trust that small, inner voice without checking with our peeps, or our favorite taking head, or our therapists about whether they think our intuition is correct. We behave as if we've been betrayed, stabbed in the back by our intuition, when that isn't possible. Our intuition is always right. On the other hand, when we listen to our egos masquerading as our intuition, we can go seriously wrong, and begin to believe that we can't trust ourselves. But that is just our delusion talking. Deep down, we know the difference between ego and essential self. We just choose to ignore that difference some of the time.
Which leads to our third and final problem with intuition—when we don't like what it's telling us, we reject it. Outright. We say, "I hear you, but I'm not listening, nah, nah, nah!" We know when a relationship is bad or going south. We know when a job is sucking our soul dry. And we know when we are making poor choices and willfully deciding to make them anyway. Because we are afraid of what will happen if we follow our inner knowing. What if people won't like us? What if we risk our job or our marriage? What if we won't get what we think we want (because someone else told us we should)? What if what we really want is so far off the reservation that we may never find our way back again?
Intuition is just hard. It makes us work for wisdom that we sometimes wish we didn't have. Truth is like that sometimes. Quiet. Uncomfortable. Difficult. But fighting our truth, closing our third eye, is a road to certain unhappiness and lost fulfillment. Keeping our (third) eye wide open is the best way to see the truth. Even in fantasy novels.