“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”—Albert Einstein
I followed my intuition to Buffalo without a single rational reason to backup my conviction or offer when people asked me why. Moving from Portland, Oregon to Buffalo, New York was a three-thousand-mile leap of faith I threw myself into with nothing but my gut to go on. So why, when my gut insisted I take the long way home from Maryland to Buffalo last Sunday did I refuse to listen? I did listen—I always listen—I just decided to exercise free will and go my own way. I wanted the why; but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, the why never comes first, if it comes at all. I am the faithful servant to my intuitive self and I accepted a long time ago that my clearance is on a need-to-know basis with just-in-time delivery. Ignorance is bliss and I enjoy a smooth ride—until I glitch.
That persistent small voice kept telling me to take the freeway home. It started two days before my planned departure and it lasted an hour into the drive, stopping only when I passed my last opportunity to exit. Before leaving, I googled the proposed route and compared it to the route I know—at best, it would add an hour to my already long commute; worst case scenario two. I wanted to be home, not driving all day. The attending feeling was one of possible mishap if I insisted on traveling the familiar way, but I chose to dismiss the feeling as unfounded fear.
Fearless master of my own destiny I drove right into a speed trap. I wasn’t speeding intentionally; the limit changes frenetically on the backroads and I missed my cue to slow down. Had I listened to my own advice I would have saved $112—and never known.
To add insult to injury, my lesson didn’t end there. As I was loading my car at my parents’ there was a stump in their garage I felt I wanted. This feeling also began days ahead of my departure and lasted until I pulled away without it. I couldn’t reason why I needed a stump, but I could rationalize why I didn’t. Unpacking my office upon my return it hit me why I wanted the stump. I needed the stump. It would have made the perfect solution to a persistent problem.
When I follow my intuition I steer clear of trouble and all my needs—large and small—get met in wonderfully creative ways. Without fail. Having loved and lived with two engineers, both taught me that when something glitches, always search for operator error first. Beyond free will is the will be to free—the will to listen to madness and surrender to mystery. I can’t explain the mechanics of my intuition anymore than I can dissect my laptop, but both compute and filter on my behalf—and I’m thankful they do.
Enjoy this excellent TED talk by Iain McGilchrist on the divided brain.