“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir
Applied Intuition for Business and Life
In August 2021 I was a guest presenter for a webinar offered by the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Based in California, IONS was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell fifty years ago when he experienced a transcendent moment viewing the earth while returning from the moon. My original plan for the webinar was to offer a suite of intuitive tips and techniques to serve as useful, ethical tools for the conscious business leader. But a question arose during preparation for the talk that took me far afield from the topic at hand into what I hope is more than an imaginative flight of fancy: “What is the source of intuition?”
What is intuition and where does it come from?
My immediate, direct, hopefully modest, and absolutely truthful answer to the question is, “I don’t know.” I am neither physicist nor philosopher and stake no claim in these exalted realms. I cannot even begin to know what I do not know.
That being said, I am compelled to venture into the unknown and uncertain, borrowing a line from a television commercial aired by Farmer’s Insurance: “I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.” Based on my deeply personal experience, I am going to jump out on a limb and assert the following about intuition and its role in consciousness:
- all consciousness is aware of itself and also of all other components of the whole – of literally all that exists –
- in any form or dimension, material and non-material
- instantaneously at “space-like distances”
- within and outside the experience of time and space
- consciousness, by its very nature, is collaborative
- (and here’s the kicker for my particular purposes) intuition makes collaboration possible between undifferentiated and differentiated parts of the whole.
- intuition is present at the beginning and nothing could be expressed without it. The question isn’t so much, “Where does intuition come from?” but rather, “What could possibly emerge or emanate from the whole, the singularity, without intention and intuition joining together as its propelling force?”
Intuition is the perennial partner of creation, large and small
I like to sum up the beginning of all creation using one decidedly non-technical term: “Hmmmmmmm….” Curiosity makes things appear. Thankfully, I do not have the burden of proving this mathematically.
When undifferentiated consciousness began to explore itself and its potentialities, in my view it was curiosity that started it all, or what Alison Gopnik calls “primal wonder.” (Thanks for the pointer, Thomas J. Jackson!) While she focused on the awe she saw in infants and children, I think such a term could describe with uncharacteristic simplicity the moment when the undifferentiated becomes differentiated, relying on the collaboration of interconnected portions of itself to go out and play with other portions and bring back all they learned to the whole. Starlings flying in breathtaking synchrony is the closest image that comes to mind from the physical world, or the mycelium network of fungi described by mycologist and Star Trek Discovery muse Paul Stamets. Whether that playfulness is starting an entire galaxy or a business on this tiny blue planet, all projects begin with collaborative consciousness. The difference between them may be a difference of magnitude rather than mechanics.
In my worldview, intuition is embedded in the very nature of consciousness itself and supports the emanation from the “no thing” to the anything. Classical physics describes energy as “the force that makes things move,” or “the ability to do work or cause change.” I am claiming that intuition is the force that makes things and non-things move in response to curiosity and wonder; it is the mover and shaker of all that exists into continuous, differentiated expression. Galaxies and companies are able to move through the use of this creative force.
By its very nature, intuition never ceases and change never ceases, even when any particular thing is perceived to be in stasis. Embedded in that apparent stasis must exist the constant holding together as well as the potentiality to move again towards yet another destination or quality of being. This holding and moving requires collaboration. Collaboration is going on at every level, whether or not we are conscious of that action. Furthermore, from my lay person’s understanding, it takes the constant motion of smaller and smaller, but measurable units of energy to make a material thing maintain its static form in the cacophony and chaos of motion within and all around it. I cannot say with any certainty that intuition is the whole of consciousness, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the whole of consciousness communicates to itself in whole or in part through the language of intuition.
The Importance of Framing the question
Back to IONS. I seemed to be dreaming with great intensity in the days leading up to the webinar. I woke up on the morning of the event with the realization that for years we have framed the question backwards. The question isn’t, “What or where does intuition come from?” but rather, “What comes from intuition?” In a sudden burst of clarity, the answer exploded in my mind: “Everything!! Everything we experience, including joy and horror, derives from units of consciousness freely and collaboratively giving expression to every material and non-material potentiality imaginable, to curiosity and wonder. Whatever we ultimately understand those units of consciousness to be, no individuated thing or reality could exist without the decision of every infinitesimally small unit of consciousness agreeing to join together in such a way as to give form to the thought of that thing and its desire and intention to be expressed in the material world. The same is true for dreams, emotions, light, colors, unexpressed probabilities, yearnings, and non-material “things.” Without intuition, nothing would escape the dense and infinite void of the singularity. To reiterate: I am offering intuitive conjecture here, not proof.
Intuition is that capacity of consciousness to understand, communicate, and connect the parts to the whole of creation. Intuition permits individuation and emanation from the formless whole. It renders possible the co-creation of our bodies, our minds, our worlds, and our infinite potentiality.Helen Stewart
Collaboration, even among enemies
Individuation requires collaboration. Experience requires collaboration. Period. Emergence from the void of an undifferentiated All That Exists could not occur without the joining of unfathomable units of consciousness mutating on the fly and transforming themselves into – or at least into the appearance of – form. Animal, vegetable, mineral, thought, emotion, dream, intention – all require various units of ineffable, indescribable, perhaps unknowable energy jumping on the same train of intention at the same “time” to create a differentiated and identifiable “event.” For war to happen both parties have to agree. For peace to happen both parties have to agree. For battles in the workplace to happen both parties have to agree – on some conscious or unconscious level.
Without intuition’s linking all forms of consciousness and knowing which units to gather for some stated purpose in some probable moment of experienced time and space, the act of making would be impossible. Personally, I prefer to use the term “realm” instead of time and space because those terms carry with them so much anthropomorphic and three-dimensional meaning. For our purposes here, space and even spacetime are probably limited. Somehow all components and outposts of literally all that is – or could ever be! – must communicate seamlessly, effortlessly, and simultaneously outside of space and time to make emanation into our experience of space and time possible.
A glass of water
We think of collaboration easily on macro levels: nation states and cultural groups loving, hating, thriving, surviving together against all odds: friends and enemies, us and them. What is most extraordinary, however, is the infinite complexity and coordination required to accomplish even the most mundane of daily tasks. In these small actions – lifting a glass of water – lies the all-encompassing, ideologically neutral cooperation that permits the physical world as we know it to exist and persist throughout our experience of time. Given the scope of current formulations about the nature and behaviors expressed within a multiverse, even our little blue planet’s circumnavigating the sun is a relatively small action by comparison.
During the IONS webinar I used lifting the glass of water I placed beside my laptop as an example of collaboration, mentioning principally the cooperation of the cells of my body to do the lifting and drinking without lapsing into a coughing fit in the middle of a presentation or spilling water all over my keyboard. But there was so much more to that simple act than met the eye!
- The particular glass I raised – my favorite – was manufactured in France. I like that glass because it is thick and angular and comes with a lid to keep beverages from spilling and damaging the sensitive electronic equipment on my desk. It is my go-to glass for staying hydrated during virtual conversations.
- But that glass is not mine; it belongs to my partner. When I moved to Hawaii from California a decade ago I brought very few household objects with me. Instead, I held a colossal yard sale and sold or gave away everything that was not nailed down. In my former home in Santa Rosa I, too, owned a glass exactly like the one I raised during the intuition webinar. But alas, it was left behind.
- Both my Asian American partner and I spent many years living abroad as children and adults; we share similar sensibilities when it comes to many household items, having been raised as what D. Pollock and R. Van Reken call “third culture kids.” When we met again after a thirty-seven year absence, we had each purchased the same French glass during the interim and she just happened to have hers still, purchased here in Honolulu. That is the glass I raised during that Friday morning webinar.
- Now I want to take that simple example of the water glass one step further. Hawaii is a small island in the middle of a vast ocean thousands of miles from any mainland, an island never colonized by the French and thousands of miles from Europe. Some manufacturer or distributor in France – or perhaps New York or San Francisco – had to decide that there just might be an interest in a thick, geometrically-shaped French glass with its own lid on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, perhaps because it is a destination for tourists and settlers of all races and ethnicities. Someone figured it was worth the time, money and effort to ship a few of these glasses here; that there were individuals like my partner, who is not French, who would buy French water glasses; and that “of all the juke joints in all the world” (thanks, Bogey), she would find someone like this African American woman who would appreciate these glasses and use them with the same appreciation she held for their craftsmanship. This glass, this morning, for this webinar during which I mentioned as part of my presentation a deep connection to French language and culture. I chose that example on the fly and seemingly at random out of so many others I might have chosen as an example of collaboration! I had no inkling in advance that I would need such an example.
- Oh, and don’t let me get started on the collaboration between the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in that glass of water that agreed to quench my thirst rather than blow me up in the middle of a sentence! My head is spinning!
All of these apparently disparate factors conspired – collaborated with a precision that would put a Swiss timepiece to shame! – so that I could sip and talk about a simple glass of water. No wonder I have easily adopted an aphorism at the heart of the Seth material produced by Jane Roberts and Robert Butts: “The universe leans in your direction.” I don’t know how this happens theoretically or mathematically, but my direct, persistent, and consistent experience can surely attest to the power and credibility of such a declaration.
While we are busy focusing on the disruptions and lack of global collaboration in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and political and economic turmoil in every corner of the globe, we are completely ignoring the simultaneous unimaginable collaboration that brought us to the same synchronous moment across dates and times and geographical boundaries to talk about intuition for an IONS webinar on consciousness. Some of us were not even attending on the same date from our idiosyncratic geographical locations and yet we were all there, right on time! Can you imagine what it must be like to hold the totality of all that is and ever could be expressed in its undifferentiated form in the singularity of a fully aware consciousness? Nope. No way. Not even close. What I do know intuitively, however, is that there is so much more that joins us than separates us, and it is intuition that makes the joining possible, even when we are joining in battle. I do not know how I know, but I trust without a doubt that I do know… at least this.
The language of the cosmos
I am daring to assert that consciousness, by its very nature, is collaborative and that intuition is the language of the cosmos. The question is not, “What is the source of intuition?” The real question is, “Is there an experience that does not have intuition as its foundation, that does not have the jabbering between and among parts of the whole in order to be manifest?” Here is an excerpt from my earlier writing on the subject around 2003:
Intuition is a continuous signal from the environment – exterior or interior environment – that provides information about the nature of the world, the universe, or any of its component parts, of All That Exists, the whole.
It is as if the unified whole were held together by a matrix, a colossal membrane that conducts signals instantaneously to any outpost of literally all that is. It records the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, the travel of a photon, the heartbeat of lovers locked in ecstasy or battle, the rotation of suns and moons, the birth of stars and galaxies. Each particle, quantum, whatever that unit ultimately is determined to be, has its own signature and is aware of its own existence and the existence of all other units of the Whole. It does not matter whether these units are identified individually or collectively as they change form and expression; their identity is inviolate and known by all others.
Intuition is the non-verbal language of the soul of the cosmos. I call intuition language because its purpose is communication within, between, and among parts of the whole, whatever the parts look like, act like, or become.
It is intuition that holds the whole together, in unison and in perpetual motion like a flock of birds flying south for the winter, dipping, diving, turning in mind boggling synchrony, heading sometimes for a destination they have never seen, but know exists.
- The knowing is intuition.
- The pattern of flight is maintained through intuition.
- The maneuvering is possible because of the shared language of intuition that calls out commands instantaneously.
- The destination calls to them through intuition.
- The sun and moon and weather talk to them and prepare them through intuition.
- They arrive at their breeding ground or sanctuary, knowing it is time to land, where they rest and prepare for the next journey into the unknown, carrying with them at all times a deep trust that somewhere in the bosom of All That Is fulfillment awaits them.
Intuition is the call of the wild untamed heart, the raging river, and the precise movement of a sophisticated timepiece. It is consciousness itself, part of all that is, organic and inorganic, elemental, biological, emotional, divine. Intuition is the language of HOME.