Exactly What Is Intuition? by John Cali

Alan Alda, one of my favorite actors, once said “At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

One of our readers had an interesting response to our recent blog post, Do You Trust Your Intuition? Here’s his email, which I’ve slightly edited:

Like in your example,a car did go through a red light and I ran into it last December, totaling my car. I am not aware of having gotten any inner guidance warning me. There was one occasion when I got loud, clear, and insistent guidance and that was to press me to help a friend with a less than life-threatening…medical issue.

I was listening hard to inner guidance during the year of preparing for (my trip) to India. From time to time I feel a wish for inner guidance and sometimes I get it and follow it and it usually turns out well. Sometimes I get conflicting streams of inner guidance or no clear guidance and I am forced to wing it.

Although my life might now be easier if I had made a practice of seeking inner guidance before making any significant decision (and I wonder how I would know in advance that I was about to make a significant decision), I can’t see myself leading such a carefully guided life as if I were afraid to get out of bed without checking my inner guidance. (Emphasis added.) In fact, it would be very difficult for an Aries who goes after what he wants like a ram to be checking a lot for inner guidance.

Here’s my response:

In the red light situation I described in the intuition article it all happened spontaneously – I did not have to consciously check with my inner guidance. I did not have to ask for guidance. I did not have to ask “What should I do?” I didn’t have to do anything. It all happened with no conscious effort from me.

To me intuition is like breathing. We don’t need to decide to breathe every morning before we get out of bed. We just do it, without conscious thought. Breathing doesn’t need to go on our daily “to-do” list.

Of course, breathing can be an effort if we believe it can happen only if we consciously decide to do it every day. But it’s easy and effortless if we simply see it for what it is – a natural ability we were born with.

I see intuition in much the same way. My many years of meditating have helped me to realize intuition, like breathing, is simply part of who I am as a spirit in a human body. For me meditation is a powerful tool for tuning in to myself, tuning in to my intuition.

Intuition or inner guidance is not something I turn on and off, not something I have to check before I get out of bed in the morning. It’s simply part of who I am, who I have become. It’s always “turned on.”


What have been your experiences with intuition? Do you trust your intuition? Or is it something you struggle with? Please share your thoughts with us below.

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19 Responses

  1. Chuck

    Hi John,
    I have question regarding intuition.
    In the past i fell in love with a girl and she did not respond and chose another guy and i was to move on. BUt for a quite a time somehow whenever i asked myself whats total joy for me or what would be the greatest miracle to happen. The answer i got was if only i could be with her forever, wow! that would be sooo awesome. it felt quite honest and pure and deep from my own heart. i know sometimes we have ego-oic thoughts to get back at someone but to 99.90% my knowledge my feeling was straight up honest as it could be.
    So how do we treat such a situation.
    I have had lot of other situations where when i became silent usually i could trust what i should do next. Although i only have a year of working/trusting intuition.

    • John Cali

      Hi Chuck,

      If you felt that strongly about it, I would say that’s a clear message from your higher self, or spirit. The question is — and only you can answser it — what are you going to do about it?

      Whatever you do, it’s crucial to always run your choices through the filter of your intuition, your inner guidance. As my spirit guides say, your inner guidance will never lead you astray.


  2. Chieko

    Dear someone who wrote the very honest and thought-provoking response to John,

    I just would like to show my appreciation for the reader in this blog post who wrote the very honest response to John. Because of your precious letter to John, his beautiful response to you was born. And in turn, this blog post was created and sent out to this world. And at the end, other readers’ numerous wonderful comments have also come to existence. We cannot not feel the appreciation for the importance of each person’s role, especially yours. With any one of them missing, we couldn’t have come to the place we are now — this deeper understanding we have now about intuition. This is probably what is meant by we are all connected, and nothing exists outside of all that is since we are all one. This co-creative example shows us very clearly that the difference and uniqueness in our perspectives make it possible for our consciousness to expand to a new place where we’ve never been before. It’s very clear your role was the key to all that has happened in this blog post. I thank you for following your impulse to write your response.

    Probably for someone like you and me who is not very intuitive (oh sorry, you’re much more intuitive than me), someone like John is very annoying. (^^; Sorry, John.) Why he can hear what his spirit guides are saying and we can’t? That’s so unfair! But I think you agree with me that we all have our spirit guides or non-physical part of us or Source or Spirit or higher-self or God — whatever the names are — that are always with us, loving us, and walking side by side with us. Anyone who’s a subscriber to John’s newsletter would agree on this point.

    I honestly think you are a very blessed, rare, aligned, and intuitive person who could survive such a severe car crash. Do you know how strong you are to overcome such a shocking experience? It sure WAS a harsh experience for you. It’s very obvious your spirit guides have worked very hard, and successfully guided you to be able to survive that horrible accident. You followed their guidance intuitively and precisely without even noticing — that’s why your body was just at the right position to avoid any fatal damage during the accident. Your loved ones must have been happy beyond words to know you were still alive. They must have thanked “God” — whatever the name is — for saving you. I can’t imagine how much they appreciate your existence now. Even I do this much. I’m so glad you’re still there being able to write comments to John. I’m glad somehow I can still talk to you this way although we don’t even “know” each other. Imagine I walk out of the house today and never come back home alive again. That could have happened to you, or to anyone actually.

    I have a neighbor, about 35 years old, who also survived a severe car accident. One day he was driving on a road, and a car on the opposite lane suddenly came into his lane because the lady who was driving the car wanted to commit suicide. He didn’t die but his legs were shattered badly, and the doctor said he probably would not be able to walk properly again. When I first saw him several months after the accident, we were extremely happy to see each other on this earth again! He was walking on his crutch but the appreciation for seeing him alive was beyond measure. Later on, I always saw him practicing walking on the street, bit by bit, without a stick eventually. He seemed so determined to walk properly again, even though he was still dragging his feet at that time. His legs seemed so heavy — must have been painful to force them to move. But I just remember his face facing forward, only looking at the space above. His rough breath showed me he just couldn’t allow himself to remain that way. He seemed to know so well one day he would walk properly again. (I thank him enormously for what he’s taught me.) Now he walks perfectly — a few years after the accident. Do you call him not following his intuition or he did perfectly? What is this touching feeling I got from him after seeing his every effort and strong will to live his life the way he used to again? No, not again. He’s living even a better life now. He’s become a different, stronger, and enlightened person after the accident. He’s a man of appreciation and passion.

    I also have a cousin who miraculously survived a terrible car accident. The doctor was amazed he survived after being in an intensive care unit for several days — unconscious and not knowing where he was going. Later, he fully recovered without any after-effects. I don’t know how he did it. I just know how happy his wife was. I even felt strange to see him again with no after-effects. I felt it was a miracle he was still in front of me, talking to me just like those old days. Well, is he intuitive? He’s miraculously intuitive.

    I also know a 87-year-old man who survived a heart attack three times in his life when he was younger. Now he lives a very active “young” life that people even envy. My godfather was a famous fortune teller. And after he checked this 87-year-old man’s fortune for more than twenty minutes with all sorts of books and tools in silence, he finally said to him, “You’re supposed to be dead by now according to my calculation.” I can’t forget the confused look my godfather had on his face when he finally said that.

    To make a long story short, someone like you feels special extra appreciation for life because you don’t take your life for granted. And whenever you tell your miraculous story to others, they must be looking at you with amazement and appreciation that you’re still here. They will respect you and say “What’s your magic?” You can say “I’m very intuitive. I can follow my intuition even without knowing. So can you. We’re all doing that anyway.”

    You’re far too humble, my dearly loved friend. You don’t have to be so humble. You can show off how aligned you are with your Source. The miracle happened to you and there are so many other people who are proud and appreciative of these things. I know you’re already feeling very appreciative too but it’s just that John was annoying. (^-^); (John: Delete this sentence immediately. Me: Yes, sir!) I hope you know how amazing you are. Yes, you are! You are a miracle walking and breathing on this planet. And I hope you also know how much your spirit guides, higher-self, Spirit, Source, etc. appreciate you and praise you. I can’t reflect that enough to you. All I can say to you is “Thank you.” from the bottom of my heart.

    Love, appreciation, and hugs,

  3. Bartholomew

    That was an interesting dialogue – sharing the “ram” sign as well, it may be worth noting that I used to consistently have the same difficulty the reader described. Two things going on of note in such a case: One, your astrological nature is one of passion and drive, and two, you seem to get contradicting senses of which direction to take at various crossroads, so to speak.
    No one in recent times has asked a similar question to me personally, so I never really sat down and put together my reply – and in the last two years especially, those contradicting directions have become a clear voice. So the question is how to get to that clearer “voice” in general, perhaps? What I do know is that things are simpler now where I’m at within, even in the midst of starting a new business, and venturing into another career at the same time that involves overcoming a lot of self doubt, among other changes. There’s a lot going on to consider at any moment, including timelines, desires, perceived “needs,” present energies and feelings, etc. So there’s a lot to this, actually. That said, once I became aware of how much there was to it, I used that awareness to focus on my present energy “in the moment” and also what I’d like to manifest to achieve the most fulfillment of who I am. There became a steady general vision and increasingly steadier state of being within (higher vibration). This also enabled me to think more clearly and creatively, and any surprises along the way end up helping that vision I hold and progressively experience (I personally like the surprises because it makes things funner – so when I desire more surprises, more come to be). Things manifest much more noticeably and smoothly than ever before as a result of all this. Additionally, there is a greater sense of calm, a knowing things will ultimately be fine (not worrying about details or about missing some grand inner guidance about even menial tasks)– which, as a bonus, further untangles energetic blockages. So going back to ram-like qualities, it balances them out, which can make manifesting things as a “ram” very fun and fulfilling.

  4. Shirl

    I am in absolute agreement with you John. It is like breathing. It is there all the time and we either acknowledge it or not.

    If we are asking what is intuition? I say it is awareness. As we work more and more towards our awareness of higher truths, as we embrace the “awakening” process our awareness becomes very heightened. That is when we are more intune with the vibratory senses or all that is around us and within us.

    I feel that it is our natural state to be intuitive and aware. In the density of this physical life in 3D we have had to re-awaken ourselves to the many gifts and attributes that are truly an integral part of who we really are. It has been all a part of our chosen task to remove the veils that have kept us less aware and less in tune. Many now are in that process of moving forward toward the truth of our BEingness.

    It is an exciting time for those choosing to move beyond the limitations of duality on 3D earth.

    Hugs and blessings

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Shirl. I love your perspective on this — it’s simply awareness, or our awakening consciousness.

      Big hugs,

  5. IanB

    Hi John – interesting question – and I like your analogy with breathing. I certainly find that my intuition works best when my conscious mind stays well out of the way! As with breathing, when I try to “do” it, it becomes awkward and confusing, and I start to worry and doubt whether I’m doing it right. When my conscious mind is occupied elsewhere, or quietened, it all works beautifully – I just ‘know’ what to do. As soon as I start to question why, or how I know, it falls apart because I cannot give an answer that my ego will accept!

    I think people may doubt their intuition, or find it confusing, because we often believe that when things work out well, it was nothing to do with us; we got lucky, or that’s just the way it turned out. I’m coming to understand that when everything works out beautifully it is, in part at least, because I was paying attention to, my intuition. The problem, for my fearful ego, is that it’s all so subtle and natural that there’s no room for (over)analyzing! I just need to be ‘in the flow’, allowing, making decisions that feel natural and easy, and trusting that my intuition is guiding me. The trust bit is the hardest for the ego to deal with, but the evidence is clear – soon that small, fearful, suspicious part of me will have to admit that it can safely relax; it is possible to know what to do, to get answers easily, naturally and effortlessly, because intuition works – it’s talking to us all the time, we just need to learn not to shout over it!

    IanB ~

    • John Cali

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks very much. I agree with you — as humans in this seemingly chaotic, confusing world today, we often doubt our own power, our own inner knowing. And yet we are powerful and wise beyond what most of us know or acknowledge. As you said, it’s a matter of trust — trusting ourselves, our spirits, and the universe.


  6. Berna

    I agree with you, John. When we consider intuition as something we can switch on (means we can control it), our mind is blocking the guidance.
    Just do it, with trust…and only if it feels good!!

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Berna. One of my spirit guides, Chief Joseph, is always telling me, when I hesitate to do what I know is right for me, “Just do it!” 🙂

  7. Margaret

    In grammar school I called my intuition: my guardian angels. By high school I called it magic. It trained me to listen to it: to listen & to follow my inner images. At 21 I thought I was now an adult and didn’t need magic as an adult. That only last a few months. I was miserable without it. By late twenties I was calling it my greater consciousness. Driving without a map I’d tell it to go out ahead of me and find the correct route. I’d follow which ever turns that came to me to travel and I’d end up exactly where I needed to go. My training by my intuition became subtler and subtler through my 30’s. I lost a beloved wallet because I didn’t heed it. Walking out of school on a Friday to the parking lot I got a blip of a subtle image of my wallet. However I was too tired to check my purse for it. Too exhausted to chance going back to my office to retrieve it. I told myself my wallet is in my purse. Once home I saw it wasn’t & on Monday I discovered it gone from my office desk drawer. That was the last time I didn’t follow my intuition, no matter how brief an image I got. I’m 62 now and it is second nature. Its part of me; loves me; guides me. I’ll tell it – the next thing out of my mouth, or action I take is what I need to do or say and it is. The first book I pick up will have what I need, and it does. If I get an image I follow it and all works out. It trained me young to trust it. We’re partners.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Margaret, for sharing your experiences. Your journey to trust in yourself and your intuition, is similar to mine. Trusting is the issue for most folks, and it was for me too. But now when my intuition talks, I listen! 🙂

  8. Martha

    Hi John,

    For me, intuition is trusting what I know and knowing what I trust.

  9. jerry

    Hi John and Spirit,

    After I read your question on ‘intuition’, I was contemplating how we tell the difference between intuition and ego. It occurred to me that intuition would not be dis-empowering or conflicting like the ego. Intuition. in my experience. just comes in and delivers the message and then just leaves and that knowing allows me to be in my sovereignty.

    I cannot recall a time when intuition failed me, but there had been times when I intentionally went against it just to see if it was correct…. silly me!!

    Love and hugs

    • John Cali

      Hi Jerry,

      I agree with you — that’s been my experience with intuition. There’s no wavering or doubting. You just know — often without there being any obvious, logical reason why you should do (or not do) what your intuition is guiding you toward. As you pointed out, the difference between ego and intuition is clear — if we’re paying attention.

      Like you, I cannot recall a time when my intuition failed me. As my spirit guides are fond of saying, “Your inner guidance will never lead you astray.”

      Love & hugs,

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