In the past week, I have had two interesting experiences with the media, both of which have helped remind me in humorous ways of the enormous challenge we Americans face in our quest for self-knowledge and self-liberation. Two journalists interviewed me about intuition (the topic of last week’s blog). The first was a young reporter, Max, for a local television news program, and the second was an editor, Gabrielle, for Bustle.com, an online women’s magazine. When their stories came out, neither turned out to be anything like what I had expected. One of the most delightful qualities we human beings possess is that we are full of surprises. For me, both of these media experiences just scream out: SURPRISE!
The TV interview appeared in a featured called “To Trust Your Gut Instinct or Not? Experts Weigh in.” Max had approached me initially with a fascinating premise: Victims of violent crimes often report afterwards that they had had a gut feeling or sense of foreboding prior to their attack but chose to disregard it. When he asked me about subliminal perception at the start of the interview, I realized that Max was coming in with some preconceived ideas about the nature of intuition. For nearly 20 minutes, I explained why intuition extends far beyond subliminal perception or other forms of unconscious cognition. All of that ended up on the cutting room floor. As you can see, Max starts the report by equating intuition with subliminal perception and then uses a snippet from the interview to support his claim. That puts me in the unique and very amusing position of having to refute myself. So, my message to my friends who are interested in the report: Feel free to watch it, but please ignore most of what I have to say!
The Bustle article was entitled, “I Tried to Become a Psychic & It was More Revealing than Therapy.” My first reaction to that title was, “Huh?” When I had asked her about the premise, Gabrielle responded, “The article's focus is examining both more New Age thinking about intuition and scientific research about the subject, as well as examining some of the most common techniques presented for helping people increase their ability to connect with their intuition.” That sounded interesting to me. I had no idea she was setting out to become a “psychic.” The start of the article reads like a diary entry written by a very young person seeking to indulge a guilty pleasure.
Fortunately, the article goes much deeper—eventually. By the end, Gabrielle has arrived at an important realization: Most of us Americans are not attuned to our intuition because we have become “estranged” from our own bodies. She admits that she has no time to even think about her body: “On most days, as I struggle to work my day job, fill my evenings with personal work, and spend time with my husband and friends, I feel psychologically stretched thin beyond recognition and so disconnected from my physical self, I practically have an out-of-body experience just waiting on line at Starbucks.”
When I read these words, I felt Gabrielle’s sense of disconnection from her own body so strongly that I wanted to cry. It showed me that the first step in self-liberation for most of us Americans is to re-discover our bodies. There is so much to explore. These beautiful bodies of ours hold the key to everything: passion and inspiration, bliss and ecstasy, transcendence and realization. It begins, quite simply, with our five senses. Find the sights and sounds that are most beautiful, the tastes that are most delicious, the odors that are most evocative, and the touches that are most delightful. Then immerse yourself in those sensations until nothing else remains—not even the one who is experiencing them. All that is left is the experience itself. For a moment, you become fully alive--totally present in the present. Spiritually speaking, that has always been the name of the game, which is why my favorite mantra is: Here and Now, Baby!
Everything else follows from that: You will discover the extraordinary wisdom of your intuition, the expansiveness of your imagination, and the simple fact that there is no limit to what you can create in this world. In spite of all the surprises that Max and Gabrielle had in store for me, it really comes as no surprise for me that we Americans lack a proper grasp of intuition. We have yet to come in contact with the great beauty and splendor abiding within our own bodies.