Instinct, Intuition, and Intellect

moon in water Winfrey







“Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests.” – Oprah Winfrey

I’ve always found it fascinating to ponder the difference between instinct, intuition, and intellect. For me, intellect is about thinking and brain function. It’s linear and logical, and the results obtain by the intellect can be defended based on known fact. It’s a very important human tool that resides in the masculine principle toolbox.

Intuition, on the other hand, seems to be much more about trusting an inner guidance. Intuitive truth is often described as a deep knowing that is unshakable, and sometimes impossible to defend. Welcome to the realm of the feminine principle.

And what about instinct? Animals have neither intellect nor intuition, but they still have instinct. It’s almost a visceral part of their internal wiring that transcends cognition. Instinct can be a matter of survival and demands obedience at the cost of death.

So where does instinct fall in the balance between masculine and feminine principles? I believe it falls right in the middle! Instinct can be explained with intellect and reason. Instinct almost always “makes sense.” And yet, instinct can also transcend known reason and looks a great deal like intuition. It’s defendable by the very survival it guarantees.

This makes Oprah all the more brilliant for recommending that we trust our instincts as the true place where wisdom manifests. Instincts may well be the perfect balance between intellect and intuition, and trusting it a perfect way to reclaim balance.
Seek Balance: Can you tell instincts from intellect and intuition in yourself?

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About Vicki Matthews

Award-winning author, naturopath, and teacher who is passionate about establishing balance in our world.
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2 Responses to Instinct, Intuition, and Intellect

  1. “Can you tell instincts from intellect and intuition in yourself?”

    Sometimes certainly. But when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I immediately fell in love with her, and would do anything to protect her.

    I knew that men had hormones affected by their newborn children, but this took me by surprise. I’m pretty intellectual, so my intellect was saying to me, “Farage, this is so weird. How could I ‘fall in love’ with this child I’ve never met before?” I knew hormones had to be a factor, but in my mind I knew that I helped bring into the world a soul and that my wife and I were responsible for her development.

    So it seemed mostly instinctual. with my intellect and intuition insinuating itself occasionally.

    The good news is that 25 years later, I’m still ‘in love with her’ and would give my life for her without hesitation.

    And the hormones have probably worn off by now.

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