Category Archives: interpretation

Intellect and Intuition


Suppose we say, “True intuition has nothing to do with the intellect.”  Is this true?  False?  Something in between?

The thought is both true and not true, depending on what we mean.  It is true in the sense that intuition is “above” the mind.  Certainly, intuition transcends the mind.  At the same time, there is a relationship.  Intuition must be expressed and embodied in the mind and heart on a personal level.  That which we are on intuitive levels must become incarnate. 

And here is the catch:  unless the mind is well trained, controlled, developed, focused, integrated with the rest of the personality, then the intuition will not be able to express itself or will do so in an inadequate or distorted form.  So, paradoxically, the mind and the harmonious integration of the personality as a whole are crucial to the unfoldment of intuition. 

Without paradox appreciation, a thinker tends to latch on to one end of any given idea or statement which degenerates into misleading dogma.  Every metaphysical axiom, as mentally apprehended and expressed, demonstrates paradox.  The essence of every formulation is in between yes and no, where the truth is the golden mean between two poles.  The faculty of seeing past divisions and contradictions to the underlying unity is a leap in perception, yet the failure to appreciate realistic divisions that are before our eyes is also ignorance—another paradox.


The Scope and Limits of Intuition


Intuition can manifest in relation to persons. For instance, the eyes, the quality of the voice, and the way a person moves, express their inner nature. Intuition penetrates to the combined meaning of these expressions. As R. W. Emerson said, ”Wise men read very sharply all of your private history in your look and gait and behavior.”

We can also see ourselves by intuition. Spiritual intuition progressively reveals our own nature as well as the ambient one. This is logically correct because intuition is unification and embraces both the center and the periphery of everything.

There is no phenomena where intuition would fail to function, because intuition derives from the unified field of meaning that underlies all things. In this sense, intuition is unlimited. Yet in practice, intuition does function unevenly in us according to our temperament and affinities, and its precipitation in a given field is dependent on a period of mental or meditative focus in that field. For instance, if we are not born a scientist or do not deliberately develop ourselves along that line, we would not expect to be the vehicle for revelation of the mysteries of nature in the scientific sense.

Double Maya


Do the senses distort reality? It is more than that.  In a way, we live in double maya, and we could say our senses distort unreality rather than reality. On the surface of it, our senses put us in touch with maya—the external world. On to this maya, we project additional interpretative illusion. So, for instance, it might be said that we do not see things as they are—even physical things—but we project another layer of unreality upon them from our habit self. So we have unreality compounded by the dullness of our own perceptual habits-limitations.

There is book on the philosophy of drawing and painting titled, How to Draw what you See. The gist of this book is that people generally do not draw or paint well because they do not see what is in front of their eyes. Instead, they see a kind of stick-figure creation in their own minds and draw that. From this point of view, the ability to actually see more clearly what is right before our eyes would be a step toward the real—a kind of yoga of maya. I think though, that in truth, this yoga of maya moves toward real art, that is, it would shade over into subtler yogas because spirit and matter are an essential unity.

Someone says, ”Ancient wisdom states in different ways that we live in a world of maya, that our senses distort reality.” Yet we know spirit and matter are a unity, so we could also say the opposite that: “Ancient wisdom states in different ways that we live in a world of reality, and that our hyper-dimensional senses progressively reveal this reality.” This is a way of saying that the senses have multidimensional levels. It is only seeing or hearing or sensing in the most superficial way that is maya mirroring maya. To really see is to move inward or upward in graded steps, in other words, to be initiated into new revelations of what is present in consciousness and in the universe. We learn to see what has always been before our eyes, and also through that to deeper realms beyond.

“What was any art but a mold in which to imprison for a moment the shining, elusive element which is life itself.”

— Willa Cather

Teachings as Catalyst


Teachings are not the truth, but a catalyst to aid in approach to the truth. There are limitations to be found in every verbal formulation and in those who give them. Good teachings have merit as general guidelines and as stimulus to thinking and reflection. Also, even in a great teaching, the specifics and their application to any time and space involve much ambiguity and vagueness. So, in this sense, we are always on our own, in other words a good teaching or teacher stimulates independent thought.

External Knowledge and Intuition



Familiar forms and familiar words

In the psychic, as in the physical, we may see, hear, or sense something and then think about it. The thing that distinguishes the phenomenal or personality-level experience is that it can generally be more or less adequately thought about and expressed in terms of forms. That is, a personality experience can be adequately described in terms of shape, color, or sound. To put it another way, since it takes place in the realm of forms, common word forms provide the natural means of communicating or recording it. We hear a voice and it might say, ”Circle of flowers,” and we may ask what does that mean? Or we see a shape that resembles a circle of flowers or colors and we ask, ”What does that mean?” The key is, when we ask such a question we’re speaking about something phenomenal, something closer to the personality or manifest realms.


Unified field

In the paragraphs above, I’ve divided life into spiritual and personality levels, but let’s unify them because that is more realistic. So, if we are evolving, our experience of life is moving toward unity. This means that in any seeing or hearing there can be a spiritual component. Everywhere, the spiritual transparency is laid over the personal one, because the worlds and our experience of them overlap in a unified way.

So, in every experience, physical-psychic-spiritual, we’re presented with a unified field. The physical and psychic (emotional-intellectual) components of any experience may be rightly questioned. We can examine these and assess them with the mind. But if there is a spiritual component, that is, if our experience has a soul, then that is the self-validating part. The body of our experience, the form it takes in our sense or psyche (shape, color, words), these are the external or relative part, the part that intellect can address. The spiritual part is transcendent to the intellect, and the mind cannot judge that which is beyond it.

“At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being—the reward he seeks—the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity.”

Time and the Rive, Thomas Wolfe