Intuition is a seemingly innate ability to sense a correct course of action without any supporting evidence. Statements such as I just knew are often associated with decisions attributed to one’s intuition, but I’d argue against doing so without considerable reflection. Not because our gut feeling might be wrong, but because I doubt the existence of intuition.
I feel that we are shaped by so many different experiences and interactions that it is hard to be completely conscious of them all. I believe what we often credit as intuition is actually a subtler example of learned behavior. Perhaps we experienced a negative interaction at some point with someone wearing an orange shirt. We may not even realize it but our brain has probably held onto that information and the next time we see someone wearing orange, our body gives us a sense of insecurity that may feel as though it is without cause, and thus attributed to intuition, but is in fact because of our past experience. This is more a shaped instinctual response than anything mystical.
Why does this distinction matter? I think we should care because it is easy to get on automatic pilot and react without much reflection or consideration of deeper pulls for our knee jerk decisions. We may miss exciting opportunities because we are trusting our guts, when in fact we are letting past trauma and fear steer the ship. Or we put ourselves in harm's way because we just have a good feeling about something, when we are actually allowing something that feels positive like excitement act as the captain because excitement has felt good in the past, and not because we are necessarily making the best decision in the present moment.
This is not an argument against trusting ourselves. Absolutely not. It’s actually a plea to do just that. While I question the existence of intuition in its inexplicable and spiritual incarnation, I wholeheartedly believe in mindfulness and trusting our own goodness. When we can do this, we can push through fear, excitement, lust or sadness, without attaching to these experiences as having deeper meanings in need of blind action. We can open to what is honest and truly in line with our values as interconnected beings. We are open to the input of our thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we see them for the fleeting experiences that they are, rather than allowing them to become erratic and unreliable guides.