By Valerie Minard
Have you ever had a gut feeling or hunch to wait–or to do something–that seemed to come out of nowhere? When you acted on it, perhaps a mistake was avoided; you were protected; or a problem was solved. Some people call it a sixth sense, an inner voice, or intuition. The dictionary defines intuition as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”
We all get these intuitions. Sometimes we listen to them; sometimes we don’t. But, when we do, wonderful things can happen.
Oprah Winfrey, actress, author, and magazine publisher, would agree. “Learning to trust your instincts, using your intuitive sense of what’s best for you, is paramount for any lasting success,” she says. “I’ve trusted the still, small voice of intuition my entire life. And the only time I’ve made mistakes is when I didn’t listen….” Her advice is “when you don’t know what to do, do nothing. Get quiet so you can hear the still, small voice—your inner GPS guiding you to true North.”
Professor Gerard Hodgkinson of the Centre for Organizational Strategy, Learning and Change at Leeds University Business School says that intuition is a way the brain stores and accesses information subconsciously, drawing “on past experiences and external cues to make a decision – but one that happens so fast the reaction is at a nonconscious level.”
But is that the only explanation? Do inspired ideas really originate in a particular arrangement of molecules, or could there be a spiritual dimension to this phenomena? The Bible is full of examples of people who listened to their inner voice when they prayed. Elijah, for one, heard “a still, small voice” in a moment of crisis. Only, the inner voice that these early prophets believed was guiding them, was divine intelligence, God. In the book of Jeremiah it says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
For another example, take Moses. By listening to the inner voice of God, he was guided to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt; led exactly to a safe place to cross the Red Sea; guided to find water for the Israelites; and to bring them finally to their promised land.
Health researcher and Christian theologian Mary Baker Eddy characterized this inner voice as pure thoughts from God, or angel messages. She didn’t think angels were Cupids with wings but defined them as “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.” Negative impulses or mental suggestions, on the other hand, do not originate from the Divine and should be rejected as false information.
Angels messages might come in a variety of ways, whether one is religious or non-religious. We might think of them as an inner moral compass that will always guide us in the right direction.
That’s what happened to my husband, John. He was driving home from Maine. It was a beautiful day and there wasn’t much traffic. He began to pray about some things that were on his mind—listening for inspiration. Then it suddenly occurred to him that he was too close to the truck in front of him, so he slowed down. Just a few seconds later, a boat flew off of the back of the truck, hitting the highway right where his car had been a moment before. He would have been hit had he not slowed down. And not only was he safe, but no one in the other lane was harmed, either.
Like Oprah and John, we can all tune into our inner GPS or God’s angel messages. God is the Love, or intelligence, that is always broadcasting, always communicating to His children what will make us safe and happy. He has given each of us the innate capacity to understand His messages, and we can cultivate a receptive attitude. All we need to do is quiet our thinking and listen. As you do this, you’ll find that your spiritual sense, or intuition, will always guide you in the right direction.
Valerie Minard writes regularly on the connection between consciousness, spirituality, and health. She is a Christian Science practitioner and the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in New Jersey. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @valerieminard.