Learning to be Intuitive.

By Alan Vaughan

Venture Inward, Nov/Dec, 1992


Alan Vaughan, an internationally known authority on precognition, is the author of the Power of Positive Prophecy (Harper San Francisco). He teaches intuition in Los Angeles and may be reached at (213) 666-7243.

It is NO WONDER that most people (including myself) reach adulthood without a clue that they possess a marvelous potential for direct knowing, for in our society a person can go through 16 years of schooling and never once be asked to be intuitive.

Entering the field of parapsychology as a skeptical researcher, I set out to investigate precognition. In the process, I learned how to develop my own intuitive skills and began teaching others. In a 20-year research project with the Central Premonitions Registry in New York, I achieved the distinction of having the greatest number of precognitive "hits." In teaching psychic techniques to over 10,000 people over the past 22 years, I have found that most people85 to 90 percent-can activate their latent talent for intuition or "knowing something without knowing how you know it."

Here are some principles and techniques from my new book, The Power of Positive Prophecy (Harper, San Francisco), that students have successfully used to activate their latent intuitive potential. There are three basic principles:

1. Intuition works best when you don't know what the answer might be. Guessing at small numbers of known targets, like the famous ESP card tests, gives poor results because guessing activates the logical left brain, which overpowers the intuitive right hemisphere.

2. Activate your intuitive right brain by emphasizing the visual in your mental perceptions. The information that is likely to be right when you first attempt to use intuition includes shapes, contours, visual images, colors, textures, feelings, and emotions. That type of material comes mainly from the right brain. The information that is likely to be wrong includes names, numbers, addresses, dates, and anything you guess at. That is analytical information from the left hemisphere, which must be trained to be psychic. Just say or draw what you see; don't worry if you can't recognize or name the object or person.

3. You learn to be intuitive the same way you learn anything else: trial and error, with feedback to guide you to better performance. Learning intuitive skills is like learning a new language: you have 10,000 mistakes to make before you get it right. The faster you get the mistakes out of the way, the faster you will learn. So don't worry about making mistakes. The worst you can be is wrong.

Maintain a spirit of fun as you try the following tests and exercises, and treat them like a game.

What's in the Microwave?

This simple ESP test can be played as a game with adults or children. My children love it and usually do very well.

1. One person plays the role of experimenter and selects pairs of household objects that are different from each other, say, a banana and a salt shaker, or an orange and a pencil. The experimenter assembles the objects in the kitchen and makes certain that the people to be tested (the subjects) do not see the objects.

2. The subjects go to another room not adjacent to the kitchen. They have paper and pens.

3. The experimenter flips a coin to determine which of two paired objects will be the target. He puts the target in the microwave or oven or someplace known to the subjects.

4. The experimenter goes to the subjects and tells them: "Pretend that you are going out of your body and go into the kitchen and look to see what is in the microwave. You will see a picture in your mind of the target object. Draw what you see."

5. The subjects make drawings of their mental perceptions.

6. After the drawings are finished, the experimenter goes to the kitchen and takes out the target object from the microwave. He also takes in the other hand the control object of the pair. He goes to the subjects and holds up the objects, one in each hand. "What was in the microwave?" he asks.

7. Subjects compare their drawings with the objects and name the object most resembling their drawing.

8. After the subjects have all made their guesses, the experimenter reveals which object was the actual target. The subjects examine any correspondence with their drawings.

9. If you are doing the experiment as a game, let everyone take a turn at being the experimenter.

Psychometry or Object Reading

1. Find someone to act as a target person. It should be a stranger or someone you don't know well. You might meet at a dinner party, waiting at an airport, or at a doctor's office. Tell your target person that you are practicing developing
your intuition. The target person should respond to your statements with a yes or no about their accuracy. Ask the target person for some object to hold-a watch, a ring, a comb, a wallet --or simply touch the person if that situation is comfortable. Make sure you will not be disturbed.

2. Begin your reading by telling the person what you have already learned about him or her. This gets the logical information out of the way. Now open your mind to anything at all-pictures, words, symbols-and tell the person what you see and hear. After these initial impressions, ask yourself. what sort of work does the person do, what are his family members like, where does the person five, what is his emotional life like now? As you talk, pay attention to the imagery forming in your mind's eyes. If you are beginning to get "hot," the person will agree to some of your statements. If you are wrong shift the line of self-questioning. If you are correct in some of your statements, you are getting tuned in to the person and can proceed to the future.

3. Now ask the target person if he has any questions about events in his future. It should be something fairly important to the person, objective in nature, and not far away in time. Now you may want to attempt additional predictions If you feel you are in contact with the target person. Ask the person to telephone you when the outcome of the future event is known.

The Mysterious Stranger

1. The next time you plan to meet with a stranger (a blind date would be perfect), try to picture in your mind's eye what the stranger will look like. Sketch the person. What color eyes and hair does he or she have? Any predominant facial features? How tall? What clothing do you see? What kind of personality? Ask yourself questions about the stranger-the same questions you will ask when you meet in person.

2. When you finally meet the stranger, compare your impressions of his or her appearance with the way the person looks. Now engage the subject in conversation and ask the very questions you asked yourself earlier. Find out if any of your impressions are accurate. Mention that you recently read an article on developing intuition. If the stranger seems interested, you might ant to reveal your precognitive impressions and sketch. If the person is not interested, do not mention your little experiment.

The advantage of this exercise over many others is that the mysterious stranger never need know that he was the object of a psychic experiment-let alone whether you were right or wrong!

Artificial Dreaming

I originally invented the exercise of artificial dreaming for people who have trouble remembering their dreams. Over the past 20 years, it has proved to be the most popular class exercise in intuition. An artificial dream is a psychic reading for someone, cast in the form of a dream or a fairy tale. It tells a story, it has symbolic meanings, it can be illogical, and cut to new scenes without explanation. Since it is meant to be prophetic, the artificial dream is cast in the present and future, and emphasizes the positive aspects of life. The artificial dreamer casts the person dreamed about as the hero or heroine of the story and engages in the creative act of story telling -- which also engages intuition.

When artificial dreaming is done for someone else, there is often a mixture of the storyteller's projection and ESP about the protagonist. It is also a great deal of fun for the person making up the story. Since getting started is the hardest part, I recommend that the storyteller begin with a children's tale, since archetypal qualities suit such tales to universal symbolism. Afterwards, the person dreamed about can sort out the symbolism and interpret the correspondence with his life.

I also recommend that people make up artificial dreams for themselves. By getting caught up in the creative act of storytelling and depending on symbols, they are able to get around the logical mind to tap guiding images from the higher self. Once the story gets underway, images, begin to appear in the mind's eye and the story tells itself, often wandering far from its beginnings.

1. Find a stranger or casual acquaintance for a target person at a social event. Make sure you will not be interrupted. Tell that person you are going to make up a dream about his present or future, which he will have to interpret.

2. Let your imagination have free rein as you make up a story or dream about the other person. You may wish to start with some children's tale with the target person as protagonist. You are free to be as illogical as you like in your creative storytelling. Concentrate on positive aspects of the future as you improvise your artificial dream. Give it a Hollywood ending. There is only one rule: Don't be boring.

3. Now ask the target person for interpretation. Does it make any sense to the person? Does it correspond at all to that person's life situation? Are the symbols well chosen? What outcome does the artificial dream seem to predict for that person? 3. Now reverse the roles and ask the other person to make up an artificial dream for you. Give him feedback about any correct details and interpret the symbols. Discover what guidance the artificial dream may be giving you.

Becoming One Another

Sometimes we see ourselves most clearly through the eyes of another. If you have ever had the impulse to tell someone, "If I were you, I would..." then you will recognize the advantage of temporarily becoming someone else. This popular exercise could not be simpler. Two people who do not know much about each other are paired off and each assumes the identity of the other. Taking about 10 minutes apiece, each person introduces himself in this new identity and talks about the things that are important to him. Then the other person questions him about attitudes and goals in life.
Let's say our two people are Sue and Mack. Mack says, "My name is Sue. I'm married. I work in a stationery store but I would rather be an artist. Work at the store bores me but when I think of creating my own designs, I get excited."
The real Sue, now the pseudo-Mack, might say, "Sue, that's very interesting. Do you think you really have talent or is this just a pipe dream because you're bored?"

Mack, the pseudo-Sue, might reply, "I think I really do have talent but I haven't done much with it. Maybe it's because I devote so much time to my family that I just haven't found the time to do things I want to do."

And so on. The dialogue can reveal not only attitudes, situations, and talents, but can also help someone learn more about who they really are and where they are headed. By attempting to look at yourself through someone else's eyes -- someone who must be using ESP if he says correct things about you-a new perspective gives much food for thought and, occasionally, flashes of enlightenment. The becoming-one-another exercise can also be fun, since it engages creative ability, acting ability, and ideally, intuitive ability.

As with the artificial dreaming exercise, it is up to you to discern what might be projection from the other person and what might truthfully apply to you. Often you will find that the other person will be most accurate when the two of you are alike in some respect. People who try this exercise tell me that they find it unusually stimulating and they really learn some new things about themselves.

1. Find a target person whom you do not know well. Tell the person you will play a game in which you assume each other's identity. To start, announce yourself in your new identity and say what you already know about the target person. Then say anything that pops into your head; it could be about the person's attitudes, present life situation, or what he wants to do in the future. Make sure that the target person knows that he can ask questions, and before long you will have a dialogue with the identities reversed.

2. Now reverse the roles and let the other person become you. Ask questions about yourself. Does the other person describe you accurately? Does he give you suggestions about your future? Do you have a positive emotional reaction to some of the other person's predictions? If so, they may be guiding images for your future.

3. Did you find that you and the target person are alike in some ways? Explore your common life situations and attitudes. Did you gain any insights about yourself?

Computer Intuition

Frustrated with the poor results of traditional laboratory ESP testing in which a subject guesses at four or five targets, and usually gets worse, I designed a computer game called Psychic Reward that uses 26 possible targets the letters of the alphabet arranged in a circle. The program (for IBM compatibles and Macintosh) utilizes a new design principle of giving rewards for getting close to the target. The trainee's challenge is to predict which letter will be chosen randomly by the computer. The closer the prediction is to the target, the higher the score. Scores are recorded and statistically analyzed over 60 tests of 30 trials, giving odds against chance for ESP learning or above-chance scoring. Out of 22 trainees, 73 percent have improved their precognitive ability, and 32 percent have beaten odds of 50:1. This encouraging result is five times better than that of traditional intuition training systems. An advantage of computer intuition training is that it can be done alone at home.

Telephone Intuition

Techniques for training intuition on a one-to-one basis by telephone have been developed by Gail Ferguson of Topanga, California. She now has more than 30 long-distance students, including many in Europe. Her basic approach is to have students analyze their psychological functioning so that they come to recognize intuitive input and learn to use it. The students' first goal is to learn what intuition is not-it is not guessing. The first test is to describe an object on her desk. Gail Ferguson's background in neuroscience at Stanford University makes her approach, developed over the past 20 years, particularly appealing to professionals.

The Benefits of Intuition

Logic and diligent research may give you an accurate picture of the past, but only intuition can tell you the future. Look at financial investments. In a 1980 study made by Financial World of the 20 top financial analysts, the experts -- who
used computer models to project the future of corporate stocks-bombed out on 2/3 of their stock picks. A dart throwing chimpanzee would give better results.

Several comparisons between psychics and professional stockbrokers have shown a consistent advantage for intuitive decision-making in choosing investments.

One intuitive method for selecting investments is to write each name on a card and run your hand over each card. A tingling feeling or a "magnetic" pull may signal a stock with a positive future. The second stage is to ask for a symbol of the company's future. If, say, you see a withered weed, watch out! If you see a flourishing tree with beautiful fruit, that's the one.

Intuition was strongly linked to financial success in a study by Douglas Dean and John Mihalasky at Newark College of Engineering (now New Jersey Institute of Technology). Eighty percent of successful company presidents (who had doubled profits over five years) scored above chance on precognition tests, while 100 percent of unsuccessful presidents scored below chance. The top scorer with Psychic Reward was a woman who is president of her own successful consulting company. She beat odds of 2,500:1, and attributed her high scoring to "good instincts."

How can intuition help us in making a career choice or landing a better job? One effective way is to create a mental movie or artificial dream in which you have taken on a certain career or job. Watch yourself performing at the job. Do people congratulate you on work well done? Do you have a positive feeling in the solar plexus? Is your creativity engaged? Do you have a feeling of accomplishment? Look around at your surroundings to see if there is evidence that your work is providing abundance. If not, ask if the career will provide such great satisfaction that it will outweigh financial difficulty. After you have a feel for the new job in your mental movie, ask how you landed it. You may get an intuitive inspiration that will make your dream come true.
I once used this technique with my babysitter, a jobless young woman with a doctorate in theater arts. Her artificial dream of the future saw her getting a foundation grant and teaching classes. She took that advice, applied to a foundation and got a grant. I lost a babysitter, but the world gained a wonderful teacher.