One trend I’ve noticed these days is that people are very skeptical about intuition. If a decision comes down to a battle between rationality and feeling, rationality tends to take the reins. Rationality is the scientific way, and science has taught us so much about the world and made us more comfortable than our ancestors ever could have dreamed possible. But with such rational dominance, we can easily lose the power of instincts, the intelligence of intuition.
I am moving to Colorado based on intuition. Yet as I write this, I am not sure I am capable of defining what intuition is. It’s sort of mystical for me. I pay attention to synchronicity, to signs, and I have received so many signs guiding me toward to Colorado over the last several years that I can no longer ignore them if I wish to live a purpose-driven life.
I once considered writing explicitly about these signs. A mentor and dear friend of mine advised me against it, suggesting that doing so may prevent these signs from continuing to guide me. I believe this was powerful advice, for in the end, my signs would be very different from yours, so the specifics would likely offer no additional aid. What matters is that they exist, and our intuition knows how to honor them.
“If you don’t live now, you ain’t even trying
And then you’re on your way to a midlife crisis
Live it out anyway you feel”
-My Morning Jacket
I think of the musician Josh Tillman, who was effectively ‘reborn’ as Father John Misty after a vision quest up the coast of California that, according to his awesome interview with Marc Maron (minute 26), involved many insights (and a fair share of magic mushrooms, evidently). Mr. Misty referenced awakening in a tree, looking down at his own naked body, seeing a sort of albino ape man, and realizing how ridiculous had been the seriousness with which he had regarded himself through his fledgling music career. A funny anecdote, but the full transformative story remains vague. Señor Misty Tillman refrained from telling us what specific signs he experienced in that California tree, what synchronicities undoubtedly followed assuring him that he should follow this strange new vision. All we really know is the experience transformed him by revealing energy he had not previously known he had.
It took courage for him to follow that vision. It also took a powerful sense of intuition. Rebranding oneself as “Father John Misty” does not strike me as a very rational move. But it worked, so very well.
So I’m following intuition, following the signs of which I mustn’t speak. What I can speak about, however, is the emotional side of my intuition, the feelings associated. Each time I have traveled to Colorado in the last five years, I have left feeling powerful. It’s like a reservoir of energy inside me that I didn’t even know was there floods through my body. At times, it has been overwhelming. It has led me to sprint up mountain trails like a psycho until I cannot breathe, hyperventilating the delicious mountain air that instills my spirit with a sense of purpose and home. I feel an invitation to kinship and harmony with the Earth and all its energy that expands along an infinite spectrum. In short, I feel really, really good when I am there. It’s the sort of ‘high pleasure’ folks like John Stuart Mill spoke of, perhaps that ‘Rocky Mountain High’ to which good ole John Denver referred (even if he is full of sh*t). I feel inspired there. I feel alive there. Eager to explore the vastness, I am myself there.
What I feel I have in common with ole Joshy Misty-Man is this experience of newfound energy come about by listening to signs and synchronicity. That energy was inside him, it’s inside me, and it’s inside you. It wants to awaken inside all of us. It connects us to our purpose, and it connects us to something sacred, something beyond ourselves. If we don’t listen to it, it will continue lying dormant beside us in our eternal slumber.
But fear not! For the amazing thing about intuition and the beautiful, affirmative energy to which it can connect us is that it’s always there. If you’ve been particularly rational in your approach for a while, it may take some time to reconnect to it. But it cannot die. It’s like creativity. It requires psychic space to rise. How to make that space? Patience. Quiet. Nature. Listening.
Turn the ear inward. Listen to what your gut’s telling you. In all my experiences of really listening, beyond the internal shouting matches of low-level desires and attachments, my gut, my intuition, has never steered me wrong.