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Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Do We Know When Our Gut Feelings Are Reliable? Can you Trust a Gut Feeling?


How do we know when our gut feelings are reliable? Is there a way to distinguish trustworthy intuitions from irrational feelings and biases? These are questions that we see people frequently pondering in blog posts and one that my colleague Robert Sterling and I have studied for some time in ourselves and many others in career and personal counseling.
Irrational feelings are our emotions, not the feelings in our guts, although unfortunately often confused. Let me explain briefly the difference between emotions and gut feelings, because I think this is a key to the question of how we know when our gut feelings are reliable:
1. Emotions are generally felt above the gut, above the hara, and are a combination of feeling from the gut and thinking from the head, i.e. fear, a combination of emptiness in gut feeling combined with a projection from the head as to a specified threat.
2. Gut feelings, felt in the hara, have no thinking component like emotions do; gut feelings are pure feeling of emptiness or fullness and they are the source of all feeling in emotions.
3. Gut feelings are pure feeling and relate to the state of the human organism.
4. Gut feelings are your truth, so to speak, related to how well your needs for acceptance and for feeling in control of your own responses to life/freedom is being met, and they are in that way always reliable.

It can take quite a bit of reflection on our gut feelings to begin to understand this, to see this in your own experience, particularly if one is not use to exploring feelings and distinguishing the difference in emotions and gut feelings. But just like it is so important to understand the difference in thinking and feeling to increase our EI, our emotional intelligence, it is important to take the time to understand the difference in emotional feelings and gut feelings to further increase our intelligence and facility that we may like to call "Intuition". So, we may have increased our "EI" by understanding the difference in our thinking and feelings or emotions, but let's go further and increase our "Intuitive Intelligence" by understanding and reflecting upon the difference in our emotional feelings and gut feelings.
This brings up another important question about gut feelings. “What role should intuitive thinking play in important decision making? And how can we train ourselves to have better knowledge of our gut instincts?”
We need to explore our gut instincts, not just use them with some vague idea of what they are. One really has to "know Thyself" and take the effort to do that inner work to use their gut feelings successfully in decision-making. There is much more to our gut instincts than just "pattern recognition brain impressions", although these patterns are certainly a result of our gut intelligence combined with our thinking—and rather it is accurate thinking or not depends upon whether we use our gut feelings as a premise of our thinking or leave out the impact of experience upon us and marginalize our human needs as unimportant to consider in problem-solving. This all effects the accuracy and haze in these mental patterns and our ability to have and increase Intuitive Intelligence. If we use our thinking as a premise for our logic without grounding it in our gut feelings, we run the risk of following a system of thought coming from an external source that may have no relevance to our life experience and may not take our human needs in consideration.

Have you ever felt like you were out on a limb trying to follow someone else's ideas of what you should be doing, even someone you carry in your head and haven't seen for a long time? We have to reflect on our gut feelings to separate out the thinking in our heads that comes from someone else's view of us, perhaps a view we picked up so long ago that we have forgotten when we first thought it or where it really came from. Successful people stop and reflect and listen to their own inner gut feelings and needs and take those into consideration in their goal setting and actions. When your thinking and feelings in your body are united, you feel confident and like you are standing on solid ground. This is also a condition that reduces stress and brings on good health, as well as intuitive and creative thinking.

This is not to say that all people who are having some success in a career are feeling full and a sense of wholeness. One can be successful and come to a place when the activities they have chosen in a career no longer serve them. We once had a person come to us for counseling that had been quite successful for a long time in his field, but the acceptance he got for doing a good job no longer served his needs and he realized that he needed to make a change. Here is an excerpt from our book on pages 87-88 about this experience. We include this because it demonstrates how success is both an external and internal experience and requires gut feeling awareness for a reliable decision:

"We once had a patient who was a renowned stain glass artist in his locality. While extremely successful both artistically and economically, he expressed that he was so very empty from his work. And upon reflection on his feelings, he found that he had begun his career early in life and was so rewarded positively by his family that he kept doing it, even though he was not fulfilled on an instinctive gut feeling level by his work. Marrying and having children only added to his pressure to succeed in a career and it seemed to make it all the more impossible for him to stop a successful career as a stain glass artist. At the time we saw him, he was and had been working for years in a career that emptied him and he had never found the opportunity to stop his work and make a career change, although he now desperately wanted to do so. He was beginning to experience medical symptoms that he intuitively felt related to working in a career that he wanted to walk away from. Yet he was frightened to make a career change and somewhat frozen in his effort to do so. Upon reflection on his feelings, we were able to trace his fear of leaving the career back to early childhood demands upon his performance from his well-meaning parents. 
"After several sessions, he was able to understand the source of his fear of change, gain the awareness of his true instinctual needs, and then make a career change into a business field he choose that was more truly satisfying for him. And he was able to use his knowledge of the field of art in his new business of buying and selling art and this continuity was quite fulfilling for him [as well as quite profitable]. And by the way, the last time we heard from him after his career change, we understand that he does voluntarily still make stain glass, but on a limited bases that fits his own inner need time-schedule of production rather than outer demands for performance success." 


We have found as counselors, researchers, and educators over 40 plus years on this subject of gut feelings that people find that their intuition and healthy decision-making increases exponentially with somatic reflection on the awareness of one's gut feelings. For this reason, we have created the Somatic Reflection Process that you can read about and find the complete protocol for in our book What's Behind Your Belly Button? by Martha Char Love and Robert W. Sterling available though Amazon on both the Amazon USA and Amazon UK.

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:


"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr  other international Amazon sites


"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.


If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

 



Monday, October 29, 2012

Reflecting on and Sharing Gut feelings of Emptiness and Aloneness to Deal with Feelings of Fear


  

Why do we fear death some days more than others? Have you ever ask yourself that question? We all know that there are some days or times in our lives that we buzz along without a thought of death, as we are too busy living and engaged in the now. These are our most healthy moments. But then something happens to wake us up to the stark awareness that we are mortal. 

  
The following is an account of how the feeling of fear as a flag of an underlying gut feeling of emptiness was discovered by one of the authors of "What's Behind Your Belly Button?". We thought it might be useful to share this experience and encourage anyone dealing with fear during and after the current tropical storm (or any other storm), to remember to reflect and share your feelings. The very act of sharing how you feel can diminish fear to a manageable amount. Understanding that the fear has to do with more than just the storm at hand, but about how you feel in your life at this time in general, is an important clue to know how to both reflect on the feeling and share it. If you have been feeling lately (prior to storm announcement) a little out of control in your life in general, try to share that with a person close to you. It may have far more to do with how you are feeling about this storm than you would think. Sharing your feelings will calm you and probably the listener too! If you have no one to share these feelings with, then try writing it down. Journaling your feelings, either privately or in social networking if you feel comfortable with that, can be a big comfort. Feel free to share what you are going through right here in the comment section. Sharing your feelings will undoubtedly be helpful to other blog readers and we will be a caring community for you during this time.
It is important to understand the anatomy of what your feeling of fear really is. Rather than indicating an outside danger over which we have no control, fear is a necessary signal that generally indicates there is some emptiness inside of us that has not been shared and exchanged with another person. Reflecting on the gut feeling of emptiness and sharing this feeling can help you deal with even a gripping fear and unit your body-mind connection so you can function successfully. 

Exert from What's Behind Your Belly Button? on the intelligence of gut instinct, page 83- 85
"Fear is a psychosomatic response reflecting our inner instinctive feelings against a perceived danger. When we are afraid, our logic is focused on our sense experience, telling us that there is a condition out there with which we are inadequate to deal. The psychosomatic feeling being experienced is related to the instinctive feeling of emptiness within us. Our logic generally tries to project the fear onto the situation rather than take the responsibility for the feeling of emptiness and we judge our selves inadequate to cope.
"If we are in a boat in a storm and afraid, the fear does not come from the situation but more from the underlying emptiness in our aloneness that we have not shared with another person. There may be some real danger in coping with the situation but the fear, which we experience, is not really produced by that danger alone. The danger is the trigger of our inner feelings. The feeling of fear that wells up in us always relates to an inner feeling of emptiness previously experienced. The “gut knot” accompanying the fear is the somatic response to the emptiness, not the fear of the immediate danger.
"The fear indicates that we have had some specific experiences in our lives in which we have felt empty but the feeling was not accepted or perceived to be shared by others. Instead of being able to share the empty feeling with someone who would accept it, we have accepted the judgment that we are less than for feeling empty and inadequate to deal alone. These judgments, accumulated over a period of time, are triggered by a current event in our life and "cave-in" on us.
      "I began to realize that fear had little to do with the outside situation or object that I feared and more to do with my own emptiness when I lived in Florida [in the 70s and 80s] and we would have hurricanes [regularly]. Some days there would be an announcement that a hurricane was possibly on the way to our town and I would be in a complete panic. I felt like I was going to be completely overcome, my whole family wiped out and death was impending. But in truth, it may not have been much of a possibility that it was even coming our way at all and it may have been a very small hurricane. Then another week, an announcement would come of an approaching hurricane, a much bigger one than the last and much more likely to hit our town. But surprisingly, I would barely care about it and go about my day, taking some hurricane safety precautions, but otherwise acting and feeling as if it was nothing to worry about.
      "I found this difference in reaction very curious and after experiencing this random fear versus calmness in the face of danger; I began to reflect on my feelings on those days. As I felt through the days I had these experiences, I could see that on the days I feared the hurricanes, feared my death and the death of others, there was always an underlying emptiness, with which I came into the experience. And the emptiness had to do with how close I felt to others and how in control of my own responses I was already feeling in my normal life just prior to the hurricane announcement. The hurricane was then just a trigger event and my fear was a signal that I was already feeling empty and out of control on a deeper level of feeling. Sharing this with another human being who could accept my feelings generally relieved the fear and I could focus successfully without panic on taking proper precautions needed for hurricane safety and felt a relief of stress."

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:


"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr  other international Amazon sites


"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.


If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Welcome to our Blog All About Gut Feelings and Instincts

Welcome to our International Guests,
Gut feelings are universal to all human beings, and therefore we see the needs they signal to us as instinctual needs of our human species. Gut feelings are an inner experience to which all people can relate. More and more questions about the intelligence of gut feelings are being asked all over the world. We have several new members to our blog this last month and a number of viewers from France, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, India, China, Australia, Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Finland, Slovenia, Barbados, Nigeria, Kenya, Chile, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, Argentina, and many from the USA. And we welcome our most recent visitors from the Ukraine, Egypt, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Turkey, and Latvia. We welcome all of you and hope that you will introduce yourselves and tell us what drew you to view our site on gut instincts and our new book What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct. Please let us know what country you live in and what your interest and experience is with your own gut feelings. Also, we welcome any other comments to our posts, old or new, we check them! 

If you are part of the study of gut feelings in general practice, the Collaborative Research Program of the Universities of  Maastricht, Antwerp, Gottingen and Brest, please leave word and sign in as a guest. We would love to hear more about your fascinating study.

Wenn Sie einen Teil des Studiums Bauchgefühl in der allgemeinen Praxis sind, die Collaborative Research Program der Universitäten Maastricht, Antwerpen, Göttingen und Brest, bitte verlassen Wort und melden Sie sich als Gast. Wir würden gerne mehr über Ihre faszinierende Studie zu hören. 

If you have questions about our work with gut feelings, we also welcome personal correspondence through our email at silver_love_@hotmail.com.

Please go to our "Blog Archive" on the left hand column of this page and view some of our many posts on the intelligence of the gut responses and gut feelings.

Aloha,
Martha Love



Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:


"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr  other international Amazon sites


"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.


If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Explore Why Doctors Can Save Lives by Listening to their Gut Feelings During a Diagnosis: On Gut Feelings in General Practice


I just went to Georgia to visit my parents. My father, now 95 years old, told me the story of how the family doctor used his gut feelings to save my life when I had bulbar polio at 6 years old. My father had called him on the phone to tell him that I was sick and told him my symptoms (which were almost flu like sounding) and the doctor felt a sense of alarm, immediately jumped in his car and came and picked me up and took me to the hospital in his own car. (yep, that is old school!) My father said he thinks it saved my life that the doctor followed his feelings and acted so quickly and spontaneously rushed me to the hospital for treatment. I am now 65 and had never heard that story before. So when, just following hearing that story, I started reading all the articles and blogs this past 2 weeks circulating about how a new study at the University of Oxford has found that doctors who experience a gut feeling when treating a child should not ignore it, well it really hit home.

The Oxford study found that serious infections can be easily missed in young children and that a doctor’s intuitive feeling that something is wrong, even after an examination suggests otherwise, appears to have even greater diagnostic value than most signs and symptoms. Here is another good source of further studies in Belgium on the importance of gut feelings in medical diagnosis.

So why is this so. I thought we might explore that in terms of what my colleague Robert Sterling and I have found in our many years of working with people exploring gut feelings for decision-making. Of course the best exploration would be with doctors themselves and a little later I will suggest just such a study and exploration.

We know that gut feelings hold information about the impact of our life upon us and they are the key to our feeling memories and patterns of intuitive experiences. Gut feelings reveal our unconscious information and often this information comes to our awareness before our conscious information in our thinking. Unconscious information is held in our bodies. That is why a painting we create today may hold clues to what we will consciously learn about ourselves in the future and that is the bases for exploring art as therapy and as a depth psychology process. Children can often not verbalize their feeling of trauma, but they can draw or do art about these feelings. Adults are really no different, although they may have learned some communication skills around feelings. It stands to reason that physicians would become aware of their unconscious accumulated information from past medical cases through their gut feelings long before the actual data for a conscious diagnosis becomes available to them.

We found in counseling that if a person reflects on their life by using their gut feelings of emptiness or fullness rather than just trying to think back about what happened (centering on details) and goes back in time using these feelings as a focus (that is, center on the feelings in your body, your gut, and go back in time and see where it lands you), they are surprised at the amount of data and information that also comes flooding in, memories of details that they had buried in the unconscious and could not access through merely trying to think back to earlier times.

Our book has several verbatim examples of this somatic reflection process with people in it and also includes very detailed instructions on how to access the gut feeling memory to reassess the past. I thought it might be useful to doctors reading this blog to have a personalized beginning of the protocol of the Somatic Reflection Process written specifically for their use while reflecting back on their gut feelings that prompt a curious look into a gut feeling medical diagnosis. Of course, we advise you to read our book in order to complete the process and to get a clearer and deeper understanding of this process. It would be interesting if doctors would take these gut feelings that they have about a diagnosis and reflect upon them, exploring them to more precisely uncover some patterns that they have in their unconscious of signals of disease. Here is the beginning of the Somatic Reflection Process for physicians:

1.    1.  — Center on the gut feeling about your patient. If you cannot locate this feeling at this time, see the patient’s face in your mind and say the diagnosis to your self, while you focus on your feelings in your body.
2.     2.  — Now describe just that feeling in your body and while keeping any details of the issue in your mind, express the feeling. (Studies thus far have shown doctors to have either a gut feeling with a sense of alarm that something does not fit or one of reassurance concerning the diagnosis.)
3.     3. — From here the physician will be able to use the general protocol of the Somatic Reflection Process (SRP) for exploring unresolved issues that everyone else uses to explore unresolved life events (see page 155 of our book “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?” for the complete SRP protocol). At this point, the reflection may take twists and turns into both the personal life and professional life of the physician and of seemingly unrelated events to the present situation and diagnosis. The protocol on page 155 will allow you to explore systematically your inner consciousness and most likely see patterns you hold in your unconscious that are based on both life experience and your medical practice, with an increase of access to information stored in your unconscious.

The use of the Somatic Reflection Process by doctors with gut feeling diagnosis would make a very fascinating and potentially significant heuristic research study in itself. Doctors may be holding far more medical knowledge in their unconscious that has never fully surfaced than we might imagine. And we may also find that doctors who have skills in accessing their gut feelings in general in their personal lives, have an added diagnostic gut feeling ability in their medical professional practice. This could have implications for educational programs for the general practitioners to include teaching a process like the Somatic Reflection Process to medical students.

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:


"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr  other international Amazon sites


"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and Amazon.fr and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.


If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.