Intuition and the Dark Side of Intention
The curious way our subconscious mind unintentionally drives intuition
Note that when I say dark side, unfortunately (as it may make for a more captivating article), I don’t mean it in a negative sense, rather, it’s intended to reflect a connotation along the lines of the unseen, the shadowy workings of our minds.
Setting an intention.
As soon as we set an intention, whatever that intention may be, we formulate a goal, and as soon as we’ve formulated that goal, our conscious mind is off to the races. Say we want to lose weight — we’re then consciously deciding to eat healthier options, to exercise at certain times, to subscribe to certain dietary ideologies, etc. But, covertly, our subconscious mind is also at play — and it is this unconsciousness effort that I’ve been paying attention to lately.
“Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion.” Steve Jobs
How does does our subconscious assist us in this regard? My theory, consciously-derived but possibly unconsciously-motivated, is that our subconscious begins to keep an inner ear or inner eye open for opportunities. It begins to direct our attention towards things that are aligned with that specific intention. It finds ways to keep us motivated, intrigued and, ultimately, in pursuit of the goals we’ve set, or are setting, for ourselves.
There are the obvious ways in which we embark on our intentions but, more amazing, are the subtle workings that we’re largely unaware of. The way our subconscious interest is drawn towards something or the way it aligns itself with our intent. For myself, this has been evidenced numerous times throughout my life: as soon as I set an intent to get into a good post-secondary school, I began to study and even find an interest in my studies, eventually getting accepted to university on a scholarship. As soon as I set an intent to learn how to trade stocks, hike the more obscure trails of a nearby national park, experience a back-packing trip, learn to meditate and be spiritual, work towards a promotion in my career, write as a hobby rather than as a chore, I’ve achieved these things, and it wasn’t from solely working towards them on a conscious level — I know for a fact that there had been some measure of subconscious clockwork at play that drove my interest, my intuition, and my motivation towards whatever it was that I had been seeking to achieve.
“Intuition is the discriminate faculty that enables you to decide which of two lines of reasoning is right. Perfect intuition makes you master of all.” Paramahansa Yogananda
How can I be sure of this? It’s a fickle thing to measure, no doubt.
Let’s look at an example. Take, for instance, someone who’s trying to play poker professionally, enough to make a living off of it, and then some. They begin watching international poker tournaments, getting to know the big names, maybe even attending a few tournaments. They talk poker, walk poker, dream poker, and imagine themselves being among the most famous poker stars one day. Suddenly, opportunities are being created. Simply by attending a tournament, by immersing themselves in that world, the future poker star is creating blips of opportunity: they’re making connections, accessing channels of information; picking up on the evolution of the game, etc. Their subconscious mind is tuned in to hear words like ‘ante’ or ‘hold’ that would otherwise be ignored as background noise as they walk through a casino. They expose themselves to that specific world (in this instance, the world of poker) in a way that, should they get a chance to enter it (say a contact they met invited them to play in a recreational game), the knowledge and passion they have will drive them to success within that world (they’ll scale the ranks if they’re passionate and knowledgeable enough). This goes beyond sheer conscious desire.
So, a critic might say, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this attention is part of some mysterious subconscious mind, rather, it’s just another aspect of the conscious mind. And so, a further distinction is necessitated. What I propose is that the workings of the conscious mind are intentional, whereas the workings of the unconscious mind are not.
There is something reverential to be said about the unintentional aspect of intention. There’s the way in which we may embark on an intentional goal in conscious and obvious manners but, the underlying, unintentional, subconscious and less obvious ways in which we move towards our goals can be just as paramount and considerable.
“Intuition is knowing without knowing.” Anonymous
For this theory to tread water, one has to subscribe to the belief in the power of intuition as more than a weak biological response mechanism. Our intuition is capable of much more than we assume it to be.
There had been instincts that led me down certain avenues in terms of my development of a particular skill, or inexplicable motivations towards things I’ve never shown an interest for, the comprehension of principles that I would typically stay or stray far away from if I were to consciously encounter them. It’s unfortunate that these subconscious underpinnings are so vague and mysterious, but such is the state of our subconscious mind at work — we know as much about the depths of our brain functions as we do about the depths of our oceans.