What is the definition of the word ‘intuition’? 

The dictionary definition of the word is “insight, direct or immediate cognition, spiritual perception.” The word is from Latin intuitionem suggesting “a looking at or consideration.” In the deeper sense it is the consideration of anything in the light of the soul.

There is another word with which intuition is often confused and that is “instinct” which can be thought of as the lower or animal correspondence to intuition. And there is this crucial difference—instinct is evolved from below but intuition descends from above. When many people talk about “intuition” they really speaking of the experience of instinct and not the higher faculty which the dictionary rightly relates to “spiritual perception.”

Esoteric philosophy identifies the true intuition as belonging to the spiritual realm that is above the mental or intellectual plane. This realm is described as the source of intuition, light, unity, beauty, and “pure meaning.” It is the light from this level that “illuminates the mind.”

Significant Quotations on Intuition from Many Sources

Intuition is a comprehensive grip of the principle of universality, and when it is functioning there is, momentarily at least, a complete loss of the sense of separateness. Alice Bailey, Glamour, A World Problem, p. 3 Intuition is the clear conception of the whole at once. Johann Kaspar Lavater

Knowledge has three degrees – opinion, science, and illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition. This last is absolute knowledge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known. Plotinus

Intuition is to thinking as observation is to perceiving. Intuition and observation are our two sources of knowledge. We remain alienated from an object in the observed world as long as we do not have within us the corresponding intuition, which supplies the piece of reality missing from the percept. Rudolf Steiner, Start Now: A Book of Soul and Spiritual Exercises, p. 71

Intuition is to knowledge what the white cane is to the blind. Jérôme Touzalin – French playwright

Intuition is light itself, and when it is functioning, the world is seen as light and the light bodies of all forms become gradually apparent. This brings with it the ability to contact the light centre in all forms, and thus again an essential relationship is established and the sense of superiority and separateness recedes into the background. Alice Bailey, Glamour, A World Problem, p. 3 Short of a historical breakdown which would render routine ineffectual and force us to attend again to things that matter most, we wait for art; for metaphysicians who, imbued with that species of truth that is beauty in its mental mode, are (like Plato) concomitantly poets. By irradiating the human imagination that has atrophied in this kali yuga, this age of iron, such men might restore to it the supple, winged condition it requires if it is to come within light-years of Truth. They might return to our inner eye – almost, one might say, to our sense of touch – ontological spaces we have forgotten exist, landscapes crowded with presences the knowing of which can turn men into saints. Huston Smith, Forgotten Truth, The Common Vision of the World’s Religions, p. 36

In the night we stumble over things and become acutely conscious of their individual separateness. But the day reveals the greater unity which embraces them. The man whose inner vision is bathed in an illumination of his consciousness at once realizes the spiritual unity reigning supreme over all differences. His mind no longer awkwardly stumbles over individual facts of separateness in the human world, accepting them as final. He realizes that peace is in the inner harmony which dwells in truth and not in any outer adjustments. He knows that beauty carries an eternal assurance of our spiritual relationship to reality, which waits for its perfection in the response of our love. Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man, p. 67

There are only three ways by which [the mind] can make itself a channel or instrument of Truth. Either it must fall silent in the Self and give room for wider and greater consciousness; or it must make itself passive to an inner Light and allow that Light to use it as a means of expression; or else, it must itself change from the questioning intellectual superficial mind it now is to an intuitive intelligence, a mind vision fit for the direct perception of the divine Truth. Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p. 161

Human beings have an intuitive capacity and knowledge (what the romantic poets called sensibility) that somewhere at the center of life is something ineffably and unalterably right and good, and that this ‘rightness’ can be discovered through artistic and spiritual explorations that have been honored by all the great perennial religious traditions. David Whyte, The Heart Aroused, p. 293

What is … needed [for the appreciation of the deepest truth of beauty] is the awakening of a certain vision, an insight and an intuitive response in the soul. Reason which studies always from outside, cannot give this inner and more intimate contact; it has to aid itself by a more direct insight springing from the soul itself and to call at every step on the intuitive mind to fill up the gap of its own deficiencies. Sri Aurobindo, Social and Political Thought, pp. 132-3

While preserving what we have learned from reductionism and analysis, scientific method now needs to be extended to include ways of direct participation and knowing that give us insight into the properties of the coherent, emergent wholes that make up much of the natural world. Often called intuition or non-inferential knowing, this gives us insight into the qualities of organisms, landscapes, ecosystems, families, communities and organisations, allowing us to recognise whether they are healthy or stressed, integrated or fragmented, coherent or disturbed. Brian Goodwin, Resurgence, Jan/Feb 2003, p. 14 … when Goethe maintained that one can only come to know that which one loves, he had in mind an understanding of knowing that ranged far beyond information processing. Such knowing is not distant from the object to be known, nor is it exploitative. Its motives are high, its methods gentle, and its interests selfless. It is time to articulate and practice an epistemology of love instead of one of separation. Arthur Zajonc, Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry, p. 179

The remarkable modern capacity for differentiation and discernment that has been so painstakingly forged must be preserved, but our challenge now is to develop and subsume that discipline in a more encompassing, more magnanimous intellectual and spiritual engagement with the mystery of the universe. Such an engagement can happen only if we open ourselves to a range of epistemologies that together provide a more multidimensional perceptive scope of knowledge. To encounter the depths and rich complexity of the cosmos, we require ways of knowing that fully integrate the imagination, the aesthetic sensibility, moral and spiritual intuition, revelatory experience, symbolic perception, somatic and sensuous modes of understanding, empathic knowing. Above all, we must awaken to and overcome the great hidden anthropocentric projection that has virtually defined the modern mind: the pervasive projection of soullessness onto the cosmos by the modern self’s own will to power. Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, p. 41

Albert Einstein called the intuitive or metaphoric mind a sacred gift. He added that the rational mind was a faithful servant. It is paradoxical that in the context of modern life we have begun to worship the servant and defile the divine. Bob Samples, The Metaphoric Mind: A Celebration of Creative Consciousness, p. 26

The intuition is therefore the recognition in oneself, not theoretically but as a fact in one’s experience, of one’s complete identification with the Universal Mind, of one’s constituting a part of the great World Life, and of one’s participation in the eternal persisting Existence. Alice Bailey, Glamour, A World Problem, p. 4

Straight-knowledge is the kindled fire of the heart. Agni Yoga, Hierarchy, 200

Intuition and concepts constitute… the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledge. Immanuel Kant

Intuition is seeing with the soul. Dean Koontz

The intuition is a higher power than is the mind … it is the power of pure reason, an expression of the buddhic principle, and lies beyond the world of the ego and of form. Only when a man is an initiate can the exercise of the true intuition become normally possible. By that I mean that the intuition will then be as easily operative as is the mind principle in the case of an actively intelligent person. The intuition, however, will make its presence felt much earlier in extremity or on urgent demand. Alice Bailey, Glamour, A World Problem, pp. 81-2

Intuition enlightens and so links up with pure thought. They together become an intelligence which is not simply of the brain, which does not calculate, but feels and thinks. Piet Mondrian

There is an earthly sun, which is the cause of all heat, and all who are able to see may see the sun; and those who are blind and cannot see him may feel his heat. There is an Eternal Sun, which is the source of all wisdom, and those whose spiritual senses have awakened to life will see that sun and be conscious of His existence; but those who have not attained spiritual consciousness may yet feel His power by an inner faculty which is called Intuition. Paracelsus

Hope for the future springs from inner sources. Its foundation is the heart-centred intuition, innate in every human being, and now, at this time of crisis, awakening in so many. Its role is crucial. Its presence illumines all that is life-enhancing, bridging as it does between the sacred and the everyday world. “Straight knowledge”, is a term used to describe true intuition: straight knowledge – spontaneous and undistorted. “High freedom” it has been called, this experience, in waking consciousness, of the presence of our true Self in every other form, the glimpsing for a moment of the light that radiates from every atom, the transformation of perception that comes when a truth becomes one’s own direct experience. Jan Nation

The idea of intuition is often misinterpreted, or even abused. Even those who accept it do not understand it properly. They often suppose that intuition can be acquired without effort, and simply falls upon them from the sky. They do not think about the vast accumulations intuitive individuals must have and the enormous tensions they must endure. Agni Yoga, Supermundane III, 507

..the imagination is the seed of the intuition, because that which is not existent somewhere within our apparently complex planetary system cannot be imagined. Alice Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age Vol. II, p. 373

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