Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
January 25 , 2007
The Intuitive-Connections Network

Enhancing the Intuitive Coping Style through

Transpersonal Course Instruction:

A Pilot Study

David W. Miller

Abstract of Culminating Project for Atlantic University

Many people are unaware of their inherent intuitive skills for dealing with the stressful situations of modern life. But others are aware of this intuitive transcendent phenomenon in the form of hunches and have learned how to sporadically use it. A few have learned how to trigger this intuitive skill and use it to cope with modern life.

This culminating project for Atlantic University addresses the question of what kind of training experiences might be used to help people adopt an optimal coping style for modern life. The assumption was that the deepening of one’s own experience with meditation and intuition would have a positive impact.

Adapting the work of Dr. Kenneth Pargament on "spiritual coping style," a new instrument for measuring "intuitive coping style" was developed.

Sixteen college juniors and seniors then served as voluntary participants in a training program that lasted for three weeks. During those three weeks, they received training in the principles of transpersonal psychology, along with instructions and practice with a set of meditation exercises. Although meditation has been verified as beneficial through numerous meditation research projects, it is still a relatively unknown subject matter to young college students.

Another questionnaire instrument was used to measure effectiveness in meditation, as well as additional factors related to attitudes and spiritual awareness. A third source of data for this project was a content analysis of the narrative journals kept by the students during the three-week training course.

Results showed noteworthy changes in how these students perceive their use of intuition for coping with life challenges.

Here are the descriptions to accompany the three intuitive coping styles we used in this work. Perhaps you can find yourself among one of these.

The Self-Directing Style (Left Hemisphere Oriented). You are primarily an active problem-solver who perhaps does not believe in intuition or believes that you have the skills and strength to deal logically with life's ups and downs, without needing to use hunches or intuition. Research shows that your style allows you to handle many of life's problems effectively. However, when faced with more severe, uncontrollable problems, you may develop physical, psychological, and intuitive spiritual distress.

To improve your ability to cope with extreme crises, you may want to write a list of situations where, no matter what you do personally, the end result is out of your hands. Then ask yourself whether it makes sense to try to control the uncontrollable. Or, ask yourself whether there's any place in your life for graceful acceptance of the inevitable? Or even active surrender?

You may find that meditation, prayer, or religious rituals will help you to draw upon forces beyond yourself and let you master the art of letting go. In the process, you may find great relief. You may also enhance the control you do have in life by turning over the control you don't have to the transcendent.

The Deferring Style (Right Hemisphere Oriented). Rather than actively solve problems yourself, you prefer to surrender responsibility to your intuition. Research shows that your style may provide reassurance and relief during severe, uncontrollable situations. It is also extremely useful in programs like the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, the deferring style may discourage the active learning and experimentation so necessary for growth.

To improve your ability to cope with stress, start by taking complete stock of yourself. As a deferring coper you are already well aware of your limitations and the need to look beyond yourself, but you may be less aware of your own strengths. It may be hard for you to identify your own abilities without feeling arrogant or self-centered.

But a number of self-help and spiritual tools are handy. Try thinking about your resources as gifts. Imagine your intuition supporting you, encouraging you, and giving you the strength to tackle tough problems. Regular prayer, meditation, or participation in spiritual type rituals may help empower you. Spiritual counsel may also help you find room for personal strength within the context of any religious and spiritual traditions.

With these tools, you may become better able to cope with difficult problems. At the same time, you may find that you enhance your relationship with your intuition by developing your own gifts and resources.

The Collaborative Style (Hemispheric Partnership). You see your intuition as a partner who works together with you in coping. Thus, your style emphasizes the power of your relationship with your intuition, rather than the power of you or your intuition alone. Research shows that your style enables you to handle a wide range of life's problems effectively. The collaborative style has been associated with higher levels of competence, fewer psychological and physical symptoms of distress, and spiritual well-being.

If you would like to strengthen your abilities to cope, take stock of your relationship with your intuition. Consider how to foster your sense of spirituality without self-centeredness on the one hand or self-denigration on the other. Traditional religious services, rituals, and readings may help. So may spiritual retreats, meditation, chanting, and listening to spiritual music – or develop your own rituals.

As a Collaborative coper, you are able to draw upon your relationship with your intuition for strength in times of stress. But to what ends? Think about the values you ultimately strive for. Neither self-centeredness nor other-centeredness are likely to be completely satisfying. As the Jewish sage Hillel said, "If I am not for myself, who is for me, and being for my own self, who am I?"

Through your relationship with your intuition, you may find the right balance in your life. You may also find that by enriching yourself you enrich the lives of others, and that by enriching the lives of others you enrich yourself.

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