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einsteinThere are really two ways to look at intuition. Some see it as a spiritual gift, the small still voice of God, helping us to make the correct decision.

Others see it from a scientific position, seeing it as perhaps part of the subconscious mind, that tries, when given the chance, to help us make the correct decision.

Regardless of which side you take, the point is “making the correct decision.” My point, is that don’t dismiss what I have to say because you don’t believe in God, if that be the case. Listen anyway, because the same applies in the secular sphere, it just is reasoned to in a different way.

One of the truly interesting propositions in Eastern spirituality is the concept of reincarnation. It is premised on the idea that until we have achieved true enlightenment, we return again and again in new lives, placing us in circumstances which give us the opportunity to learn the lessons necessary to reach a perfect state of enlightenment.

Some people take a lot more lifetimes to achieve success, and all do eventually, but it only goes to show, that we have a lot of choice in how we will respond to the stimuli placed before us. If I am in need of serious growth in humility, placing me in a life that will naturally give me that opportunity, is no assurance that I will take advantage of the life given and actually grow. I can choose to, unknowingly for the most part, be stubborn and refuse to learn.

If we assume that we should want to process through this rebirth thing as few times as possible because enlightenment is desirable, then it makes sense to try to learn as much as we can about being “human” as we can during our stay in this lifetime.

Thus, much as this might dismay the average teenager, life is nothing more than a classroom that runs 24/7 from birth to death. We can learn what we wish, and we can ignore and avoid as much as we wish.

Avoidance can of course take many forms. Drugs or other mind-altering substances, multitasking, being an A-type personality, being driven, being overwhelmed with responsibilities, all and more can limit our ability to learn. Sometimes of course, we actually want to tune out. We engage in plenty of fairly useless “entertainment” to avoid our minds and our own human condition.

Some Eastern systems, like Zen Buddhism teach mindfulness. Mindfulness is a direct assault against the idea that you can have it all. Having it all necessitates multi-tasking and that means split attention. Split attention means really no attention at all, and plenty of studies have now proven that multi-taskers are not nearly as efficient as they think, and most of what they do is substandard.

Mindfulness, on the other hand teaches total attention to the task at hand. If you wash dishes, then experience dish washing, don’t look out the window and muse about where to eat out tomorrow night. Move to the task, engage it fully, and move on to the next task. You will find you do it better and faster.

Why does this matter?

If your life is a classroom that is always going, then there is something to learn at every moment. In fact, there are many somethings to learn at every moment. Most of it goes unnoticed by our conscious minds because we are busy listening to the radio and singing along, making a list of things to do in our head, rehashing the argument we had last week with Mother, and well, you get the idea. If you have ever been driving and suddenly realized you had no conscious recollection of traveling several miles, then you know exactly what I mean. Plenty went on during that drive, but we can’t recall a single thing.

Yet, our subconscious does “see, hear, feel, smell, taste it all. But it’s fighting a losing battle (or nearly so) when we are not attentive at all. People with weight issues will admit that much of the eating they do is mindless–sitting in front of the TV barely aware of what they are consuming, let alone enjoying it.

Still, our subconscious attempts to convey to us the results of its attention. It’s called the nagging feeling that we’ve done this before, shouldn’t walk that way, saw that person somewhere before, and so on. Some of us are fairly good at paying attention and some of us demand actual facts, find none, shrug our shoulders and ignore it.

This intuition, this thing we don’t quite trust, but wish we could, works so much better when we pay attention to the world around us. When we can point to a clue or two of actual recollection, we feel much more confident in responding to its summons to follow.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a technical synaptic event that triggers our “gut” or whether it is God whispering that is making that sense of “gut” go off. The point is, learning is at hand and we would do better should we listen.

It’s really quite simple. We make better decisions with more information rather than less. If you want to make the best decisions, that start paying attention, being more mindful as you proceed through the day, and your decisions will improve and your life will become happier? Yes, happier in the sense that you will waste less time, go down fewer dead ends, have more free time to spend creatively as you wish, hurt yourself and others less often, complete tasks faster and more completely.

That’s happy in my book.