When Intuition Became a Dirty Word

Updated: Feb 15

Somewhere on humans’ journey to understanding God, religion took a hard right and discouraged personal spiritual growth outside of the walls of the religious institution.


How is that for an opening sentence? This perspective about personal spirituality and its relevance to religion is important for this week’s theme of “Intuitive Soul.”


The waters are muddied around the definition of intuition. Oftentimes, intuition is used interchangeably with clairvoyance and ESP. Clairvoyance and ESP are often defined as supernatural powers that allow the gifted individual to foretell the future or experience space and time in a way not available for the vast majority of us. Intuition, however, infers a gentle gateway into the realm of spirituality that connects our individual souls to the heavenly, or God, realm. This may sound like word salad, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for the misuse of these words to describe the ability of those whose gifts seem unique and set apart.


Intuition is not only not unique, it is as much a part of any individual’s physical being as eyes for seeing and ears for hearing, as well as our emotional being like love, sadness and sympathy. But just like many of our innate human gifts, whether physical, emotional or psychological, these gifts are often underutilized, in large part because of a lifestyle that silences these gifts just to keep food on the table and the bills paid.


At one time or another, you may have had an experience where a hunch or an idea seemed to drop from the sky and plant itself so solidly inside of you so that you became certain of next steps, excited about a new idea or affirmed about a relationship. This is the type of intuition that becomes enhanced when the mind is quiet enough to listen, and the body is grounded enough to be cooperative with this engaged process.


People who embrace their ability to connect to this spiritual wisdom are less likely to be swayed by the opinion of others. This isn’t to say that wise council becomes unnecessary far from it. What it means is that discernment and wisdom arrive from a deep and sacred place that drowns out the superficial opinions of the irrelevant and guides us to those who will offer perspectives and advice that is authentic, genuine and pertinent.


Circling back to our whopper of an opening sentence and its relevance to intuition ... there isn’t space in a short blog to detail how individuals’ spirituality and thus their intuitive soul began to suffer under the pressure of organized religion. We can say, however, that throughout history, organized religion mandated participation in worship and funding of the church’s operations. This typically was done through agreements with governmental power and rulers because both benefited if the masses were controlled by laws and beliefs. Over time, this has led to a complacent spirituality funneled from the pulpit to the worship-goer.


And spiritual intuition suffered greatly.


None of this is to say that spiritual intuition has to suffer within all religious experiences that simply is not true, nor would I assert that. When I speak of my Christian faith being rooted in a spiritual but not religious experience that embraces all faiths through my interfaith ordination, I oftentimes receive pushback from some who do find their spirituality within religion. What then emerges is a safe space for conversation that invites both of us to keep our seat at this huge table of humanity that is seeking spiritual connection.


The path to spirituality is also not exclusive to one certain path of religion or belief. However, one’s ability to seek understanding through sacred moments of spiritual nudgings, a deep sense of “knowing,” and the presence of the still, calm voice in moments of contemplative silence may be an element of one’s spirituality that is an invitation to be still and remember …


God is as close as your next breath, not at your next church meeting. Find your spiritual bonds in whatever ways that are meaningful to you. Worship in a way that honors your beliefs. Pray to receive wisdom, discernment and peace.


Then invite the sacred to meet you right where you are and allow that spiritual knowing, this sacred intuition, to be the bedrock of your spiritual path.


For it has been there all along.


Blessed be.


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