The intuitive mind is a sacred
gift and the rational mind its
faithful servant. We have
created a society that honors
the servant and has
forgotten the gift.
- Albert Einstein
Intuition is the sixth sense. For this contemplative photographer, it is in many ways the most important one. For the rationalists among us, it is dismissed totally or rationalized away as merely an unsubstantiated "feeling". Worse still, it often includes the word "woman" in the same breath.
There are many kinds of intuition of course but I want to focus on the kind of intuition a photographer might employ to direct their lens. I go to the pond, it is my "destination" but after I arrive there I allow my intuition, my trans-rational self, to guide me. Here are a few suggestions you might try:
1. Turn down the volume on your rational mind...
Don't establish an agenda; don't give yourself goals. Solidly formed expectations are a sure way to assure your intuitive mind will remain silent.
2. Don't pick up your camera right away...
Being in a hurry to record what is around you is playing into the rational mind's agenda of getting things done. Intuition takes time to manifest itself. The intuitive mind is not a "workaholic" like the rational mind. It is comfortable with inactivity and simply "beingness" and you should be too.
3. Take time to quiet your mind...
I close my eyes for a time. Your eyes first path is to the rational part of your mind. By closing them you allow the other senses a chance to enter into the conversation and the other senses are more closely aligned with the intuitive mind.
4. Trust your gut...
Once I open my eyes I trust whatever comes into my mind. I try not to second guess the process which is the surest sign your rational mind is still in control. If you find yourself attracted to the pile of leaves at your feet...go with it! And, most importantly...stay with it!
Cultivating the intuitive mind takes time and patience and most of all trust. It is there, in all of us - men and women - and it it just waiting for the opportunity to speak to you. But intuition is an elusive thing. The more you try to think about it, the less likely you will be to experience it. If the rational mind is the "know-it-all" at the party, the intuitive mind is the shy one in the corner.