By Michael Fitzgerald, Contributor


I was out for a morning run. I felt guided, even urged, to follow a new route. Along the way, I stopped at a busy intersection. I turned to my left and there was Maggie, crossing a street and walking towards me. Maggie (not her real name) is a homeless woman whom my wife and I had befriended and helped—in a city 20 miles away.

That run led to a chance meeting with someone I was very happy and surprised to see again. But was it chance, or were there greater forces at work?

What Is Intuition?

Intuition is an inner sense of knowing that can’t be easily explained or explained away. It’s not grounded in our five senses, as normal perception is. You “feel” something that you don’t actually feel with physical touch, or “see” something that you don’t see through your eyes, but what you “feel” and “see” turns out in time to be true and real. Here are a few examples that might look familiar.

You’re in your car, looking for a store that you’ve never been to before. You feel lost, even a little alarmed, until a calming thought floats into your mind: “Turn left here.” You turn left and in a few blocks there’s the store you’ve been looking for.

Or you feel like driving home from work a different way, on side roads, instead of the freeway. Then you find out later that you avoided a multi-car accident.

Or you dial up a friend and he says, “That’s so weird. I was just thinking about you.” Or you pick up a book and turn to the exact page you were thinking about or needed, even though it was not bookmarked.

The list could go on. We’ve all experienced intuition in one form or another, but how does it happen, and why?

Intuition and the Unseen World

We live in a world both seen and unseen. There is more happening in our world than meets our natural eyes and ears. Positive, invisible forces surround us but defy our understanding. I can’t say that I fully understand those forces, but we’ve got this in common: I’ve experienced them through intuition, and I’m sure you have too.

How Do You Know It’s Intuition?

You and I may not experience intuition in the same way, but here are four things that have helped me recognize it in my life.

First, I believe that human beings are both physical and spiritual beings. We have brains and hearts, but also minds and spirits, where intuition happens.

Second, I believe intuition is a real force. I’ve experienced it often and I don’t doubt it. And because I believe it, I’ve come to expect it, and because I expect it, it appears in my life almost daily.

Third, I meditate every day, though not usually in a formal way. Meditating to me is listening intently and paying attention to thoughts and feelings. It takes quiet and patience and a little getting used to. I ask questions in my mind and listen for the answers to come into my heart. I like to write those answers down. They’re frequently surprising and often sacred. I’ve come to trust them. And because I trust them, I continue to get more and more of them.

Finally, I act on my intuition. Believing is one thing; acting on what you believe is another. Faith is more than words. Taking action on intuition is often coupled with risk, but action confirms faith like nothing else and invites more intuition and guidance to come my way.

Intuition and Gratitude

My wife and I had not seen Maggie in months. My conversation with her was past due. It was great to see her and get caught up. Our friendship was renewed, as was my sense of awe. We parted smiling.

I believe the spiritual world is nearer than we think and that intuition is real. If we watch and listen with gratitude in our hearts, and stay open to possibilities, we can get messages from a Source much wiser than ourselves and learn to find help on any day, at any moment of the day.