One thing about intuition we can agree on: we've all had regret over not following
a hunch. Sometimes that regret becomes a teacher, motivating someone to exclaim, "Next time, by golly, I'm
going to follow my hunch."
What will it take for us to learn to trust our intuition? For one thing, we'll
have to learn how to recognize intuition when it calls. It's not always easy. Consider, for example, a dream I
had many years ago.
In my dream, an East Indian doctor is telling me that I should put Absorbine Jr.
in my ear. Perhaps the presence of a doctor in a dream should have told me that I was getting a message important
to my health. But I was not inclined to "stick it in my ear." I would later regret ignoring that dream.
A couple of years later, reviewing old dream journals, I saw this dream again.
This time, the suggestion of an ear remedy caught my attention. Since the time of the dream, I had developed tinnitus--a
ringing in the ear--brought about by constant vasoconstriction in the tiny capillaries of the inner ear caused
by habitual cigarette smoking. I had since quit smoking, but the ringing remained. Stumbling upon this forgotten
and ignored dream, I investigated the possible effects of its bizarre prescription. I learned that Absorbine Jr.
causes blood to come to the surface of the skin where it is applied. Had I "stuck it in my ear," I might
have prevented the tinnitus. It was a case of regret over intuition unrecognized.
Today, however, it is more difficult to overlook intuition. Calling our attention
to intuition is a growth industry. There are countless books, many seminars, and now even institutes devoted to
help us recognize, appreciate and utilize our ability for "knowing from within." As a sign of the maturation
of the field, teaching intuition is becoming more focused on specific areas of application. Health care is the
latest focus, with several books written recently by respected professionals. There was Awakening Intuition (Harmony Books), by Mona Lisa Schulz,
M.D., Ph.D., who describes how she uses intuition to diagnose illnesses. This practice has roots in the early development
of hypnosis, where nineteenth century practitioners created the term "medical clairvoyant" to describe
gifted hypnotic subjects who could diagnose illness while in trance--a title that fits Edgar Cayce, whose own story
has an important hypnosis chapter. Another recent book, Hands of Life (Bantam Books), by Julie Motz, M.P.H., describes how this public health professional uses
"energy medicine" to enhance healing in patients. This practice also has its roots in hypnosis. First
known as "animal magnetism," the force intuited as operative within hypnotic phenomena and now known
as "subtle energy" was ironically dismissed by Mesmer’s critics as "imaginary." Today, the
imagination is regarded as the prime channel of intuitive perception of subtle energy. And now, most recently is
the book The Intuitive Healer: Accessing Your Inner Physician (St. Martin's Press), by psychotherapist Marcia Emery, Ph.D.. Like her previous book (Intuition workbook: An expert's Guide to Unlocking the Wisdom of Your Subconscious Mind), her new book contains an abundance of practical exercises. It details how the ordinary
person may use intuition to promote wellness, prevent illness, as well as how to diagnose maladies, prescribe treatments,
and even to effect healing. The intuitive reality of an inner physician predates hypnosis and can be traced back
to before Hippocrates, who himself credits Asklepios as the father of medicine. Asklepios was a god who visited
patients in their dreams and healed them while they slept. In later years Asklepios prescribed in dreams treatments
that became the healing repertoire of Hippocrates and his colleagues. Emery’s reprise of an ancient truth, that
there is a doctor within us, heralds a new era.
Beyond demonstrating in some detail the use of intuition in medical self-care,
the book hints of a major innovation in an important aspect of life that is undergoing a crisis. By giving instruction
to the patient in the use of intuition, the book can have a significant impact upon the renovation of the health
care industry. Conventional practitioners may warn us of the dangers of self-diagnosis, of patients becoming amateur
doctors. Yet even these same practitioners express the need for patients to assume more responsibility for their
own health. What better way than learning to listen to the wisdom of the body! What a perfect assignment for the
application of intuition!
Mission in life, health care, financial planning--these are just a few of the
specialized areas of self-reliance that the study of applied intuition will enhance and empower. As we enter a
time when institutional support is becoming less reliable--witness corporate down sizing, the unaffordability of
private health insurance, and the bleak future of social security, more and more people are going to have to turn
within for guidance. It's fortunate that to prepare for such times, we can turn to such a fine array of books on
intuition to help us learn to follow our inner knowing.