Interoceptive awareness, at its most basic level, is an awareness of physical sensations within such as fast heartbeat, heavy breathing, hunger, and fullness. Some expand the concept to a more nuanced “listening to what your body is telling you.” The challenge at this point is determining to what extent an echo chamber exists: we hear “our body” telling us whatever script our subconscious feeds it. However, no matter the source of the message, our body or our subconscious, it is probably a good idea to listen!

Intuition is knowledge accessed or a decision made without conscious thought or reasoning. The extent to which intuitive decisions are good decisions is debatable. This is in part because decision analysis, especially in our personal lives, contains a huge subjective component plus the outcome of the road not taken is often unclear. Furthermore, the outcome of any decision is very dependent upon the quality of the execution and the greater our buy-in to the decision (most folks have high opinions of their intuition and confirmation basis reinforces this) the more likely we are to do whatever it takes.

Those of the logic-focused Spock persuasion say that intuition is simply an example of a “recognition-primed decision”, that under pressure, we use our base of experience to identify similar situations from which to select solutions that have worked in the past i.e. intuition is simply “pattern recognition” functioning below the level of consciousness. Yet another point of view is that intuition is simply the rationale we voice to do whatever it is we emotionally wish to do anyway.

Introspection – The mechanism by which we develop self-awareness, the ongoing observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes, the thoughts that come to mind, the ones that stay in mind, the things we choose to focus on and how those preferences and tendencies impact us, direct our feelings, and create further thoughts and emotions.

Of the three, I value Introspection the most; self-awareness is powerful. I do try to listen to my body (especially re exercise and movement) and to my intuition (especially re people) but I am also very aware that my shadow side, “bad” ego if you will or willful pride, can imitate many voices and come in many disguises. I sometimes visualize myself chairing a meeting where all parts of myself have voice to speak and we seek to arrive at a consensus that serves our best self, our highest principles. Over time one becomes better at sorting out inner guidance from the “noise” of cravings and random desires.

Closing Quotes:

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” – Rumi

“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

“Intuition is like reading a word without having to spell it out. A child can’t do that because it has had so little experience. A grown-up person knows the word because they’ve seen it often before.” – Agatha Christie

As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier