Wise Words on Intuition from Linda Kohanov (and Horses!)

739035_2008-half-arabian-chestnut-mare_photo_1_1419540419_imgI highly recommend Linda Kohanov’s book “The Tao of Equus: A Woman’s Journey of Healing & Transformation through the Way of the Horse.”

Kohanov, a leader in equine-assisted therapy, combines her personal experiences with emotional trauma, horse training insights, spirituality, and “horse whisperer” philosophy to help humans learn to be better humans — from horses.

Here are some of Kohanov’s best quotes on the power of intuition, a key theme in the book:

“Staring into the vast reflecting pools of the equine mind, I realized that healing was less about helping someone analyze her childhood, or work toward some preconceived goal, than reconnecting with the world from a position of empowerment and compassion, expanding her awareness to see things as they were, moment to moment. Only from the vantage point of fully experiencing and participating in the present did the past make sense and the future show potential.”

“We have a culture in which the nourishing, life-giving waters of emotion, empathy, sensory awareness, gut feelings, and other forms of nonverbal awareness have dried up in the heat of our obsessive reliance on all that is light and logical and conscious enough to be mapped, explained, and controlled.”

Instinct is:  “a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity; a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency by an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason and for the purpose of removing somatic tension; behavior mediated by reactions below the conscious level.”

“Our culture tends to value thought over emotion, logic over intuition, territory over relationship, goal over process and force over collaboration, competition over cooperation.”

“Children are taught to narrow their attention, cling to the past, and focus on the future, thus losing their ability to fully function in the present. They become dependent on authority figures who themselves only excel in highly specialized environments and situations.”

“Most people deny and sublimate their feelings, keeping them well below the conscious level until the somatic tension becomes so overpowering that the emotion overrides reason and finally expresses itself, often in violent and self-destructive ways.”

 

New Findings in Intuition and Emotional Intelligence

Sept. 12, 2012

Toddlers apparently have finely tuned emotional judgment on whether someone is overreacting to a situation and whining or whether the person truly deserves sympathy. A study published in the current issue of “Developmental Psychology” journal suggests that we are born with the ability or learn very early on how to read the emotional validity of others’ reactions.

The study watched the reactions of 3-year-olds when they witnessed adults who were distressed in various situations, such as getting slightly bumped by box or getting their artwork cut up. The results show that when a toddler witnessed a justifiably distressing incident, the child’s face showed concern. But when the child judged that the event didn’t warrant distress and the adult was over-reacting, the child’s reaction was much less empathetic.

I just love these studies showing that we humans are probably born with tremendous emotional and intuitive abilities. Love that!  We really are social creatures and come fully equipped with the skills to live with others. I am fascinated that children have very good emotional intelligence at an early age.

But I become distressed when I realize that some of us have these fabulous and powerful skills trained out of us by our parents and society. We are taught not to value or exercise these tools of intuition and emotional and social intelligence. Many of us are taught to react solicitously to others’ pain, whether real or put on, but not to feel or value our own emotional responses. Religions also teach us not to “judge” others, so we learn to blindly accept what others do, even if that behavior steamrolls over us. These “Submissives,” as I call them in “Pack Leader Psychology,” don’t trust or value their emotional responses, sublimate their own emotions, overvalue the needs of others, and become inept at reading the emotional cues of others. Sadly, this makes them naive and gullible in relationships, possibly with abusive consequences when a manipulative “Dominator” is on the scene.

I guess we all need to act like little children! Of course, dogs also have very good emotional barometers.