“Our world seems like a heap of fragments and it is hard to see how they cohere. Wisdom has been replaced by knowledge and knowledge has been replaced by information. Pieces of data. Chunks of data.”
Iain McGilchrist, author of “The Divided Mind”,
speaking in the documentary”Innssaei – The Power of Intuition”
In our modern world, we have largely forgotten the power of intuition.
On this site, I often muse on ideas and themes that may appear tangential at best to the theme of leadership. However, the term I use here is #OpenLeadership, and that is about being open in many ways. including to listening to “the sea within”, as the tagline to the documentary Innsaei puts it.
Let me talk to you today, then, about the power of intuition, and also a few thoughts on how to recapture it for yourself.
“The Polynesians were able to map almost the entire Pacific ocean without a tool because they listened to the ocean. We can’t do that anymore.”
from the documentary “Innssaei – The Power of Intuition”
“think for a moment about a tracker, tracking a lion on the plains of Africa. The tracker is not guided by the road – if he follows the road he will never find the lion. The trackers goes somewhere else, somewhere totally different. The tracker goes where most people will never go. A tracker has a heightened sense of awareness and uses the subtle signs left by the animal as his guidance system. When the tracker finds a trail, he follows it boldly. He moves fluidly between broad vision and extreme detail and his energy state is exactly what the moment needs. He knows when to let go and when to keep pushing.”
Let me first talk a little about Georgie. We met a few years ago in Cayman. She is deep in knowledge and experience in serving her clients around building their wealth over time to create freedom for themselves. She is also powerfully drawn to her own sense of purpose and being of service to others. I sense from her latest writings that she is now connecting deeply to “the sea within”, and that access to intuitive wisdom will enable her to serve her clients and her purpose ever more deeply. Am seeing her in Cayman again soon and very much look forward to listening to her insights.
From those thoughts around Georgie, in my experience, once someone connects to their purpose deeply, they can continue to use the wealth of what Iain McGlichrist notes as knowledge and information. They can then also take the experience they have gained from that and, tapping into their inherent wisdom as the Polynesians could listen to the ocean, they can then recapture the power of intuition.
As Georgie goes on to write quite beautifully in her blog:
“We are so absorbed by the ‘role’, by the ‘responsibility’, by the ‘pressures’, by the ‘drive’, by ‘more’ that we have lost sight of our tracks and of what we really need or want.
There is a word for the tracks, and it is purpose. Boyd talks of how you know that someone has found purpose when you notice that they are living life differently – they are not doing it the way we were all told it had to be done. All the things that they thought were incredibly important have fallen away. They have found the feeling of enough. They are not trying to get something just to feel ok. They are deeply involved in something. They are guided by their inner compass. They are in touch with the wilder part of themselves and have followed the trail to a life that is an expression of who they are on the inside. They have found what they are searching for.”
Now, back to that documentary Innsaei. It is exquisite (and you may find it on Netflix), and I have written about it before in “Innsaei – to see from the inside out“, where you will find the trailer for the film, as well as a few thoughts about it, and this quote from the amazing Marina Abramovic:
“We have to be really ready to fail, the failure… to be part of the journey”
“To me, going to the unknown is absolutely rule number one”
“in order to create something new human beings need to go into the unknown”
Marina is now in her 70s and is about to move to London to prepare for her latest amazing art, to take over the Royal Academy in 2020. She has made it her life to go beyond the known. Watch her as she is interviewed in the documentary. She is, and these are the only word I can think of to capture her being, both aware and present, and at levels way beyond what all but a few of us can imagine for ourselves.
So, at the top of the article, I said I’d share a few thoughts on how to recapture the power of intuition for yourself.
First, do watch Innsaei, it is full of incredible thoughts and advice from people who have committed their whole life in different ways to being present, aware, accessing intuition.
Second, read Georgie’s blog linked above in full and the links to the people who inspired her to write it. If you are in Cayman, connect to Georgie yourself, take her for a cup of coffee.
As for thoughts from me, browse tags and search on terms here such as Ikigai, Presence and more. There are literally hundreds of posts sharing ideas and what I continue to seek to learn around this.
For now, just yesterday I wrote a post aimed at sharing a learning from coaching, called “Setting your personal context“. I started out by telling a story, then went on at some length to explain how I, as a coach, support clients in this.
As I wrote that post though, I recognised then and more so now (as I write this post today) that with my many years in coaching, just as Georgie does in building her wisdom differently after many years in her field, I have moved beyond data, information and knowledge, and it is in accessing intuition that the power lies.
An excerpt from that post :
“when I coached the individual… I was focussed on my own awareness of where the client was in that moment. By deep listening, I mean listening beyond their words, with a focus on body language, tone of voice and more. I also focus on their eyes (as Shakespeare said, “the eyes are the windows to the soul”), and even heart rate and breathing are all in my awareness of the where the client is in that moment.
From that deep awareness in support of that client, my intuition tells me what questions to ask. When I do ask them to bring forward words, themes, areas around their context, I’m also listening less for their rational explanations and much more for the energy behind the words.”
We all have the ability to listen deeply in this way, to stop thinking, analysing, processing and simply listen deeply. It takes time and practice, it takes humility and being open to learning from those with ever deeper mastery, and yes, there is no mystery to it, listening, presence and awareness are available to us all if we choose to slow down and listen.
I call it deep listening. The Polynesians could map the Pacific by listening to the ocean. African bush trackers look for the subtle signs. Innsaei is an Icelandic word which the movie producers called “the power of intuition”, but as you will learn in watching the movie, one beauty of the word is that it has multiple meanings in language, including “the sea within” and “to see with the inside out”.
If you’ve read this far, you are interested in your own intuition. I hope I have embedded a sense of intrigue too. Enjoy your journey.