Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.
in·tu·i·tion /ˌɪntuˈɪʃən, -tyu-/ [in-too-ish-uhn, -tyoo-]
1. direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.
2. a fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way.
3. a keen and quick insight.
4. the quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight.
a. an immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object.
b. any object or truth so discerned.
c. pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge.
a. the ability of the native speaker to make linguistic judgments, as of the grammaticality, ambiguity, equivalence, or nonequivalence of sentences, deriving from the speaker's native-language competence.
1400–50; late ME. LL intuitiōn- (s. of intuitiō ) contemplation, equiv. to L intuit ( us ), ptp. of intuērī to gaze at, contemplate + -iōn- -ion.
We know so much more than we think we know. Know what I'm sayin'?
Some things you just know are damn right because you know them, then, there, immediately. Blind Pilot's amazingly lilting melodies on Paint or Pollen, which carry you along so effortlessly that you know they were written in a blast of intuition; the listening is easy, the being there stops you in your tracks, the melody flows and you go right along with it, because it's so intuitively right. Adding almond to that cake batter and a few chopped pears, too; you don't overthink it, wondering if almond will clash with the pear; you just know it'll work, you play with it, you trust it, and of course, it does. Andrea's vinyasa sequences, which flow from asana to asana in the most rich fluid graceful easy natural intuitive kind of dancing way; that's good choreography, the kind that your body just takes on and embraces without fight, without thought. That's instinctive, organic, the mark of a good teacher, a skilled dancer, the kind of effortless flow that separates the amateur from the pro.
My mother always said she "knew things" before they happened. I've always been a little weirdly psychic myself. (Not gonna lie: it's kind of awkward saying that out loud.) But it's pretty creepy, to be honest. Clauds and I have long said that, should her modern dance career and my writing ambitions flame out in a blaze of failed artistic glory, we'll open a psychic shack and tell people's fortunes for a few bucks a pop. There will be turbans involved. And said shack will be made out of SR-PET, per our Plastiki boys (thanks, Ash and Matt). And we will wait sagely behind a curtain of sparkly red beads through which one must walk to access the divine medium, a.k.a Moi.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Point is. Intuition. Holy fucking intuition.
We in the West, still so rooted in Enlightenment-era notions of rationality as king, so foolishly insist on devaluing that kind of deep bodily knowing that's rooted in the bones. We waste so much time with the rational mind, thinking that if we reason one thing out or another, or make enough spreadsheets, or consult enough outside experts, we'll get the answers we've been looking for. When, meanwhile, that answer's been knocking at the back door the whole goddamned time, getting impatient, finally sitting on the stoop, putting his feet up, having a little siesta, chillin' with a cigarette and a bottle of cheap beer in hand as the foot taps and the head nods and the early evening sun sinks slowly below the horizon. And as twilight sets in, we're still hemming and hawing at the kitchen table, oblivious to the wizened old toothless savant waiting patiently for us to remember he's been out on the back porch the whole time. And if we wait long enough, stuck in our heads, fearfully lost in minutiae, he chucks his cigarette butt into the rock garden, says "fuck this," and heads out to play beer pong on the old ping-pong table in the woods.
Or some variation of that.
Think about it. Most of us "know" shit; we just don't trust it. Looking back, I bet you can find countless examples of certain things you knew in the moment, and in spite of any rational protestations to the contrary, later found that knowledge affirmed. I hadn't taken a vinyasa class with Rusty Wells in five years, and yet, one July day last summer when his email announcing a teacher training popped into my inbox, I knew in that instant it was exactly where I needed to be. I've awakened in the middle of the night in the throes of a new relationship, someone beloved breathing next to me in the rush of new and exciting connection, and "known" despite that present thrill that it was never going to work, even if it took six months for my rational mind to catch up with that bodily knowledge. I knew I needed to move first to Delaware and then to San Francisco, cross-country, sight unseen, a prairie kid in strange new lands, because I just knew. I knew on walking into this sweet garden flat of mine that it was meant to be my next home, and threw down an outrageous deposit within hours, in spite of the fact that it was inconvenient and expensive and completely unplanned. I've met men and known on eye contact that one day they'd matter, in spite of all obvious odds against it, although in some cases it took months or years for that mattering energy to shift, courtesy of a deliberately-placed hand on the lower back. I knew sitting on a remote hill one October afternoon northwest of Malaga that something was deeply wrong in my world, so I hitched a truck into the city courtesy of a strange German-Spaniard named Helmut, only to find a just-sent email from my mother that my father had been diagnosed that very morning with terminal cancer. We just know things.
You read anecdotes about this kind of knowledge. Mothers who wake in the middle of the night knowing that their soldier children stationed across the world in battle have come into some kind of danger, and then, sure enough - some disaster has really taken place. Examples abound. They remind us that this realm of intellectual knowing that we cling to with such a desperately grasping attempt at control is so very superficial, so shallow, so daft, in comparison.
Which is why I have so little patience with the indecisive chicks who sit at my bar and can't decide on a stupid glass of wine, who spend 10 minutes deliberating over the Pinot or the Malbec. Or the girlfriends who [god forbid] drag me along shopping and hem and haw over this color or that color; just pick the goddamned one you want already and stop questioning the fact that you don't already know! Because you do! So cut the crap! And which is why, on a more serious note, I get so impatient with the other, more grave kinds of mental masturbation over life decisions that often take up much of our conscious thought and comprise many of our day-to-day interpersonal conversations: should I move here or there, should I buy this car or that car, should I take this job or hold off, is this the right pair of socks or is that, should I date this dude or that one, should I get the ivy or the pothos (the pothos, duh!), should I blah blah blah blah blah. And on and on, ad infinitum. Mental masturbation, all.
How much time we waste trying to rationally answer any and all of these questions, when, as the years have taught me, we already know what we need/want/crave. It's not fucking rocket science. It's yogic, really; it's Buddhist, in one way or another; and it's Platonic, too, if I remember correctly all the way back to The Republic and the Theory of Forms and my freshman year Philosophy 101 class. The idea is that we already know everything we need to know; we just deceive ourselves into thinking that we don't, in failing to trust that inborn knowledge, in questioning that deep knowing that is part and parcel of being alive. It's a peeling away of the layers, really; an undoing, an unfolding, a blooming of the bound-up metaphorical onion. In other words, it's yoga: an opening, a softening, a letting-go of the clinging to thought and mind and reason and the illusion of control, and a resting in the deep wise something that is rooted grounded brilliant felt bodily knowledge.
I guess the point of all this is: stop fucking questioning yourselves. Stop over-analyzing every decision you make. Know what you know. Go with your gut. It's right, 9 times out of 10. Pick the color, the style, the cocktail you gravitated toward on first glance. It's the one you want, it's the one you went to before your overactive thinking mind got in the way. Go deep into that wild dark corner of yourself where everything's honest and naked and quite rough-around-the-edges, unhewn, misshapen. It's perfect there. Your body knows what it wants. It knows where it wants to be, what it wants to do, where it wants to go, what it needs, what it loves, what it craves, what it hungers for.
Undo the bullshit. Tame the mind. Quit the lists. Shove the pros and cons aside, cut the delay between question and decision. Just do. Just be. The mind can be crazy-making, if you let it. Slow down the talk. End the mental chatter. It's really just another meditation practice, in real-life form, in so very many ways.
And then once your mind is silent and still and your belly's telling you where you need to go, listen to this Blind Pilot tune, and feel the lilt of the melody, and notice how your breath slows when the lead singer slides through that one particular interval, and watch how your body goes with it, automatically, easily, effortlessly, and honor this little 4-minute ode to the kind of intuitive art that makes it such a fucking pleasure to be alive.
Blind Pilot ~ Paint or Pollen (Live on KEXP)