View Full Version : Intuition May Reveal Where Expertise Resides In The Brain

05-23-2015, 02:13 PM
It appears that the site of fast, automatic, unconscious cognitive operations—from where a solution materializes all of a sudden—lies in the basal ganglia, linked to but apart from the cortex. These studies provide a telling hint of what happens when the brain brings the output of unconscious processing into awareness. What remains unclear is why furious activity in the caudate should remain unconscious while exertions in some part of the cortex give rise to conscious sensation. Finding an answer may illuminate the central challenge—why excitable matter produces feelings at all.


02-01-2016, 09:59 AM
The site of fast, automatic, unconscious cognitive operations is not linked to but apart from the cortex.

02-11-2016, 02:03 AM
Are You Listening to Your Intuition? 4 Steps to Hear Its Message

 02/08/2016 10:23 am ET | Updated 2 days ago

Tova Payne
Writer and Consultant at www.tovapayne.com 

Intuition is not a rare quality confined for the clairvoyant few. Intuition is something we all have access to. Like any muscle, the more you pay attention to your intuition the stronger it gets.

Often we look outside ourselves to find the answers. Or we'll design a pro and con list. Yet even after all the rational equations are done, there's a feeling, an inexplicable knowing that the seemingly illogical choice IS the better choice. That's your gut speaking.

Intuition is always calm and clear -- yet at first glance it's not always logical.

The way to figure out if what you're feeling is intuition or a wave of fleeting emotion is that intuition will never leave you. If you don't act on it -- it will persistently and calmly continue to speak to you.

Some people spend years of their life ignoring this persistent gentle voice that tugs on them on a daily basis. People stay in a top managerial position when a constant voice is telling them to leave. People stay in a dragging mediocre relationship -- yet their intuition quietly whispers for years that it's time to move on. Some people hear the call to head out on a solo-quest, yet ignore it and make up excuses for years of why now is not the right time.

Time after time we ignore the inner voice and then tell ourselves that we're confused.

Yet we're not confused -- we're simply too afraid to stop and listen to the inner voice. When that happens -- years or decades can go by where we persistently ignore the voice of the soul. Eventually we find ourselves amidst a dark depression, lethargy, or a physical illness that physicians cannot explain.

In Linda Kohanov's The Way of The Horse, she eloquently speaks about depression being a stop sign from the soul. It's the soul's way of saying: STOP -- You are on the WRONG path.

We are living in a culture where depression rates are higher than they've ever been, and instead of listening to the depression as a messenger, as a final attempt from the soul waking us up to shift directions... instead too many people numb themselves with pills, work, shopping, eating, or whatever distraction will dull the intuitive voice long enough to make it through another day.

There is another way.

It's actually quite simple, yet on the surface, it feels tremendously scary. It's scary because it's uncomfortable, not mainstream, and will call on you to leave the life you know.

Yet as Lao Tzu teaches: "When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be."

In order to hear the clear voice, you must be still. In silence, we can begin to hear the inner voice -- and often it calls us to let go of the life we've been numbed into.

The alternative to hearing our intuition is returning to perpetual distraction, numbing yourself, and drowning the voice in noise and busy-ness -- convincing yourself that what's happening is fine.

Fortunately, intuition is a persistent force -- it will gently and consistently tug at you, until you fulfill your soul's desires. The question is: Are you ready and willing to listen?

4 Steps to Hear Your Intuition:

1. Set aside 5 minutes to an hour of doing nothing. This means sitting silently and alone in a room or out in nature -- digital-free.

2. Go through whatever withdrawal arises while you're in stillness. This usually will entail thoughts like "Why am I wasting my time doing nothing?" to feeling sadness, fear, or un-ease. Withdrawal is common and often why people fail to hear their intuition -- the discomfort can have them hopping back to distraction in a minute. This is why you need to breathe through this uncomfortable phase. It will pass and then intuition will have an opportunity to emerge.

3. Pay attention, listen, and trust the emotions, messages, or visions that appear. It may take a single sitting to hear the inner voice clearly, or it may take a week or month of consistent practice to truly hear the voice of the soul. The longer you've been ignoring it and burying it--the more dirt you'll need to sweep away to uncover the truth and clarity.

4. Be willing to get the support you need as you dare to make major transitions. Sometimes it's as simple as committing to a daily You-Practice (taking time for yourself all alone) and sometimes what's needed is professional support or a radical change -- completing transforming your current lifestyle.

02-11-2016, 02:05 AM
5 Easy Exercises to Reboot Your Intuition

 02/01/2016 04:10 pm ET | Updated Feb 01, 2016

Brian Leaf
Author, 'Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi: Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting' 

You don't just decide to have great big bulging pecs or six-pack abs. You go to CrossFit every morning at 6 a.m. for nine months. Strengthening intuition is, basically, the same. It's a "muscle" you build, a skill you cultivate. And for most folks, right now that muscle is pretty flaccid. A lifetime of "that can't be true" and "I have no proof" leave intuition fairly shy. The good news? We can rebuild it. Every scientific researcher, swami, and psychic gives this same piece of advice: The way to develop intuition is to ask for and then follow it.

The first step is to refriend your inner guru. Like dusting off a found Stradivarius. Like tuning a forgotten baby grand. What follows are five ways to prime the pump. Basic Training for Operation Intuition. You can try all five or focus on the one or two that most interest you. Simply putting some intention toward rebuilding intuition will get the party started.

1. Let's Get Physical
Pay more attention to the sensations of your body. Notice the feeling in your butt as you sit. Feel your pants resting on your legs. Can you feel where your hair meets the scalp? What is your left pinkie touching right now -- don't look! Next time you shake hands, really take in the person's shake. Is their hand warm or cold? How firm is the grip? You may want to close your eyes and inhale deeply. They will certainly think you're on ecstasy, but rebuilding intuition is worth it.

Check in with your physical sensations as often as you can remember. While you talk on the phone, water the plants, or ride the elevator. Perhaps every time you sit down or stand up.

2. Change Your Routine

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." -- Albert Einstein

Switch things up a bit. Take a different route to work, wear different colors than usual, park in a different spot at the mall, heck, get crazy and try some raisins in your morning oatmeal. Maybe crack a book tonight instead of catching up on episodes of Modern Family. Or risk the dark and take a walk or go out for ice cream. Just do things a little differently than usual. Be unpredictable. Order the fish instead of the chicken. Say yes to dessert. Call your mom. Or don't just for today. Change your routine in some way. Get a little crazy with this one. Maybe skip undies just for today?

Switching up your routine helps get you out of a rut and opens you to new ideas. It will open you to all kinds of possibilities and to the possibility of intuition.

3. Make Some Space

Donate your Harry Potter books to a school in Haiti. Bring your vinyl records to a senior center. Find three pairs of shoes you haven't worn in half a year and give them to Goodwill. Clean out your closet and drop the excess into one of those donation bins in the hardware store parking lot. Not only are you making someone's day and scoring karma points, but making space and tidying up your environment makes room for new possibilities. It's just like switching up your schedule. Otherwise, you're too mired in routine and habit and clutter to even hear it when your intuition whispers, "Hey dude, are you really gonna eat that second chili dog?"

4. Be Grateful for Intuition

This exercise is the simplest and perhaps the most profound on our list. As a mantra, throughout the day, repeat, "I am grateful for my intuition." This is like apologizing to a friend you've ignored for two years. Repeat it a lot. I'm talking, like, 50 times a day. This is remarkably effective. Intuitions will start popping up like the bubbles in your kombucha.

5. Shed Your Shoulds

"Stop shoulding on yourself." -- Psychologist Albert Ellis

Psychologists are pretty sure that a list of shoulds doesn't really get anything accomplished. "I should be as smart as Freda or as funny as Elliot," doesn't bring us any closer to happiness, freedom, personal truths, or inner wisdom. In fact, the opposite. And worse of all, in trying to be someone else, we miss who we really are. So no more shoulding all over yourself. What are your particular gifts, talents, and strengths? Practice radical self-acceptance. Acknowledge not who Freda or Elliot is, but who you truly are. It's hard as heck and it takes practice so be patient and be gentle. No one expects you to lift your body weight the first day at the gym, but you still work out. Same here.

Here's the practice. Every time you judge yourself against someone else, say to yourself, "I am mindful that I am judging myself against Brian. He's so funny and insightful and so darned handsome. I'm wishing I were more like him." And then state three awesome qualities that you have. What makes you you? You may want to prep these in advance or you can name three new ones every time. Believe it or not, after a few repetitions at this, you'll integrate it and actually start to believe it.


"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change." -- Wayne Dyer

Which of these five intuition boosters jumped out at you the most? Don't think about it too much. You probably already know. Let this decision be more gut than brain. Which exercise(s) on the list had the most electricity for you? Was one in color with the others in black and white? Which one would everyone obviously choose? That's the most important one for you.

02-11-2016, 02:08 AM
How to Trust Your Gut

 02/10/2016 04:05 pm ET | Updated 2 hours ago

Jeff Steinmann
Author, How to Quit Working: A Simple Plan to Leave Your Job for a Life of Freedom 

There's two types of intelligence. First there's the facts and figures, pros and cons and all the logical stuff that we usually focus on. That's all pretty straightforward and most folks know how to access it and use it.

The other type is bigger, deeper and much more important. It's all the knowledge, experience and intelligence you've attained throughout your life and it's not as easy to access. And there is a lot more of it. Some call it intuition, instincts or feelings while others believe it comes from a higher power.

If you want to be the best person you can possibly be, you can't rely on the facts and figures, you've got to use the full intelligence you have available to you.

First off, know what you want out of life. Know who you want to be, what you want to do, who you want to help -- know the person you want to be. Don't worry if you don't have an exact picture, you don't need to know all the details. Just understand the major stuff.

This big vision you have for yourself drives everything. When you know what that is, your "gut" will guide you to it. It's too big and there's too much involved to use surface facts and figures to get there. That's why you have to train yourself to understand what your gut is telling you.

Here's how to do it:

1. Meditate regularly
What does meditation have to do with trusting your gut? It trains you to get calm and find a peaceful place from which you can access this greater level of intelligence. Through regular meditative practice, you'll be able to instantly calm and center yourself so you can draw upon the infinite wisdom you have access to. Do it every single day for a set period of time. You won't see results the first time, or maybe not even the 50th time, but you are training yourself to be able to listen to what your gut is telling you.

2. Get quiet and listen
Try this right now. Think of a decision you need to make. Are you contemplating moving to a different city, leaving a relationship, changing jobs? Think of a yes/no question. Nothing complicated. Formulate the question in your head.

Now sit in a quiet place with no distractions. Take a moment to relax and settle into a comfortable position. With the simple question on your mind, slowly inhale, then exhale.

If you were calm and focused, a yes or a no came into your head. If you didn't catch it, try it again. Keep trying if you didn't get an answer.

3. Do it
The answer you got will lead you down the path to being the best person you can be. The answer you get won't always be the one you like or the easiest one, and it may not lead you where you think you are going, but it will always be the one that is the most genuine to who you really are.

This takes practice. It requires a regular meditation practice and you have to be open to receiving (and acting on) answers that you may not understand right away. But then again, becoming your best self isn't supposed to be easy.

02-11-2016, 02:11 AM
10 Reasons to Follow Your Heart

 02/09/2016 05:07 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago

Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC
Tele-health counselor for BetterHelp.com, Adjunct Professor, Consultant, and Writer 

This year, when you are making your goals and resolutions, why don't you try something a little different, that you may find tremendously fulfilling. Instead of setting practical, monetary, and professional goals, decide to make goals to follow your heart. If you have spent your professional life living in your head, pushing yourself harder and harder, this may be a dramatic and welcome change. You can stop trying to prove yourself to the world, to your boss, to your customer, and focus on proving that you are good enough and content enough to yourself. You can show those that you care about that they matter more to you than working long hours, getting ahead, and making the bottom line.

1. When you follow your heart, you cease having regrets.

There is no greater truth that when we follow our heart, we cease to have regrets. While things may not always go in our favor, at least we will have tried. At least we will know the truth, and at least we know we will not live asking ourselves, "what if...?" You learn to trust your instincts and know that if you listen, your heart will guide you in the right direction.

2. Gain a newfound respect for yourself and from those you admire.

When we follow our hearts we may actually find that we develop a newfound respect for ourselves. Not only that, we may get the respect of those that we love and admire. Why is this? It is because we are now focusing on what truly matters instead of the trappings of things that have no meaning at all. It helps us clear out meaningless things for things that fill us with purpose and passion.

3. Get to know who you really are and what really matters to you.

When we start to follow our hearts, when we are willing to ask the tough questions about what really matters to us, we may get to know ourselves on a level that we never have before. We may surprise ourselves, when we are willing to ask the deep and tough questions, what we would choose if faced between what our heart and our intellect tell us to do. If we listen to our hearts, we may be surprised that we can find a way to make our hearts desire come to fruition.

4. Ensure that you are on the right and true path for yourself

When we listen to our hearts, we can ask ourselves if we are on our right and genuine path. If there is apathy or ambiguity for what we are currently doing, we know that somewhere and somehow, we have gone off course. That we are not on the path that we should be, the path of fulfillment, and the path of that is our true course. Our hearts will guide us towards our true direction, and our ultimate calling.

5. Allow yourself to forgive yourself and others.

When we listen to our heart, it tells us that it does not want us to hurt. It does not want us to hold grudges or be vengeful, as the person that we end up hurting most is ourselves. When we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that the person that we are struggling to forgive is likely not sitting around and spending their time thinking about us. They are living their lives, they have moved past us, and any history we shared. The same can be said of ourselves. We often have so many mistakes from our past that we struggle to let go of and forgive ourselves for, but we cannot go back and change them. We cannot erase them or control them. What we can control is everything that we do from this moment forward, so let it be a future of kindness to self and others. To focus on the present, forget the past, and to not worry about the future.

6. Learn to love yourself.

This may sound simple to some and impossible to others. People struggle with low self-confidence, social anxiety, and the belief that they are not good enough. When we follow our hearts, we truly begin to love ourselves. We start to believe that we are good enough, even great. We believe that we are exactly the person we should be. That everything that has happened to us, good or bad, has made us the person we are today. That each of the things that has happened was for a reason, taught us a lesson, and enabled us to develop some skill and knowledge we possess today. We are just as we should be, and we should love the person we are.

7. Learn to love others.

This can be the hardest step for many people. Many of us have been through some difficult times. We have been hurt, humiliated, and discounted. What we have to remember is that most of the time, we have no idea what is going on, or has gone on, in this other person's life. We do not know the pain and hardships that have made them the person they are. So, no matter what they do, the greatest gift we can give them and ourselves is to show them love. To show them that no matter what they do, you will not waiver, you will not be jaded, and you will not join in the negativity. You will only love and show kindness.

8. Learn to trust our intuition.

When we follow our hearts, we learn to trust our intuition. We are more in tune with what our hearts are telling us to do and what direction they are leading us. Sometimes it has been a long time since we have trusted our intuition, but having started to follow our hearts again, we clear a space to hear and listen to our intuition again. When we learn we can trust our intuition, we are more open to following our hearts.

9. Stop overthinking and go with what life throws us.

When we follow our hearts, we stop overthinking things. We are able to deal with the curve balls that life throws us more easily. Why is this? It is because we have started to believe that what should be is what will happen. We have faith and believe in our hearts that we can survive anything that comes our way, and that it has come our way for a reason.

10. Listen to your heart -- it knows your true desires.

To end, I find it important to highlight the concept of listening to your heart, because it knows your true desires. It knows your wants and needs, and what will genuinely make you fulfilled. When we are honest with ourselves, when we are willing to ask ourselves what is truly in our hearts, we open ourselves up to possibility. Possibility to fulfill our hearts desire, and to be who we were truly meant to be, doing what we were meant to do.