The Intuition Network, A Thinking Allowed Television Underwriter, presents the following transcript from the series Thinking Allowed, Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove.


JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. I'm Jeffrey Mishlove. Our topic today is "Unlocking Your Subconscious Wisdom." With me is Dr. Marcia Emery, an adjunct professor in the Masters in Management progam at Aquinas Collage in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Marcia is the author of Dr. Marcia Emery's Intuition Workbook. Welcome, Marcia.

MARCIA EMERY, Ph.D.: Hi, Jeffrey.

MISHLOVE: It's a pleasure to be with you.

EMERY: Oh, it's wonderful to be here.

MISHLOVE: You define intuition in a very particular way. I know that there are thirty or forty different definitions, but you suggest that true intuition is always correct.

EMERY: Your intuition is always correct, and some people take offense at that, because how could anything be always correct? Or people make the comment, "I used my intuition but it was wrong." And I say, "Aha! You're not really using your intuition."

MISHLOVE: Of course people use the word in so many different ways. I know in social science, in many fields of science, a really good scientific discovery is considered counter-intuitive, which implies almost by definition that intuition must always be wrong.

EMERY: Well, to me intuition is a clear knowing, and it's an insight, it's knowledge gained without the information -- I shouldn't say without information; without factual information, without rational or logical information. That's one way I could define intuition, but I think I'd like to define it a little more graphically, if I may, which is really from the intuitive mind, which would send us a symbol like a flash, a lightning flash. Can you picture that -- a lightning flash?


EMERY: Well, that's intuition. It comes in a flash. Can you picture a key?


EMERY: OK, intuition is like a key. It opens the door. It unlocks and gives us information. How about a puzzle piece?


EMERY: OK, the puzzle piece falls into place. Two pieces will fall into place. And we're all familiar, I think, with the light bulb when it suddenly goes on, and we say "Aha! The light is on. I see. I feel illuminated."

MISHLOVE: Well, all of these are symbols that kind of bubble up from the subconscious mind.

EMERY: I think so, I think so. I often think of Jonas Salk; he used to say, "I wonder what my intuition will toss up to me like gifts from the sea." That's what the subconscious is doing, this type of motion. It's tossing up the image, picture, metaphor, or symbol, because the intuitive mind speaks to us in that way.

MISHLOVE: Well, of course Salk was one who emphasized the importance of the intuition and logic working together. Most people would not say, and I don't think you would say, that intuition all by itself is going to provide a hundred percent useful information that will solve all of life's problems.

EMERY: Well said. Jonas Salk said the intuitive mind tells the thinking mind where to look next. And I think this is what we do; we go back and forth. It's like a spiral. Here the intuitive mind; the logical mind. It doesn't matter who starts the spiral; it doesn't matter which mind. But it certainly goes back and forth, and to me all decision making, all problem solving, is integrated. And integrated means integrating your intuition with your logical mind.

MISHLOVE: Well, I suppose it's fair to say that we live in a culture that places more emphasis on the logical mind. The intuitive arts aren't really cultivated as highly in our culture as they are in other cultures.

EMERY: We certainly do, and our intuition is the most undersung member of the team, the dynamic duo of intuition and logic. It's almost as if we could picture two faculties in ourselves -- you know, we have an intuitive mind, and we have the logical mind, and for so many of us, because school and verbal things are rewarded, we just go on and become extremely gifted verbally. And what happens to the intuitive mind? We don't take intuitive classes. We hardly have creative classes. And so we don't get, shall we say, experience in the academic setting in listening to our intuitive mind.

MISHLOVE: But you teach whole-brain thinking to business students and to people in corporations

EMERY: Right. Can you believe that?

MISHLOVE: You're out there showing people that they can work with the intuitive mind and the logical mind together.

EMERY: Right, and I'm trying to actually have them develop that intuitive mind, so that they could use both of those minds in tandem. I just want to add quickly that people that I have talked to, very, very successful people, say, "Well I have all my tools. I use all the tools at my disposal, and all the tools are the intuitive mind along with the rational mind."

MISHLOVE: I would assume that the intuitive mind and the rational mind both consist of many, many aspects and facets.

EMERY: Complexities. Absolutely, absolutely. I use the word logical-rational for the mind of ideas, the mind of "Tell me" -- that's how I characterize the logical mind. The intuitive mind is "Show me." It's graphic. It's the mind that visions, the mind that projects into the future. And so here's the logical mind, the counting, the day-to-day, keeping us on line that way; and the intuitive mind is showing us the picture of what's to come.

MISHLOVE: Some people, though, don't visualize so well.

EMERY: That's right. I feel for them.

MISHLOVE: Too bad for them.

EMERY: Right. And these are people that get very distraught when they're in a seminar or they've put on a tape and they say, "Well, close your eyes and see," or "Close your eyes and picture this." And I come along and I say, "Aha! You may not be visual in your sense, but maybe you hear it. Maybe you feel it. Maybe you sense it in a different way." And this is very, very reclaiming for people who feel that they've been left out.

MISHLOVE: One of your research interests is this whole question of the inner sensory modality through which the subconscious wisdom of intuition works.

EMERY: Yes. For example, suppose I said to you, "Picture a tree." You might say, "Well, I can't see a tree." And somebody else might say, "I can see it." Well, they're visual; they're very strong with their visual suit if they could say it. Someone else might say to me, "Well, I hear the leaves rustling in the background." Their strong suit is auditory. Someone else might say, "Well, ahh, I can smell the pine, just as if the tree is right there." Someone else could say, "I can just feel the leaves; they're bristling." And they're feeling. It's so exciting to me to see that people are being impacted by different sensory experiences. That's how our subconscious mind is speaking to us, and it doesn't mean that a person can only be visual and nothing else. It just means that vision might be the dominant sense.

MISHLOVE: Well, there's also a sense of pun, the play on words, that seems to be very important.

EMERY: Oh, with intuition, I just love it. A bear comes up, and why does the bear come up? Well, maybe there's a bare spot. Or I remember the time a holdup came. I saw a robbery -- you know, this type of bang-bang holdup. And something was being held up. And somebody was thinking, "Should I take a new job?" And they didn't tell me where the job was, and suddenly the symbol Easter came to me, and I looked at him and I said, "Easter?" I said, "East-er." He said, "My God, how did you know I'm thinking about going out East?"

MISHLOVE: I think we need to backtrack a little bit, because you're saying there was a problem, and up came a symbol.

EMERY: Right. I said that very quickly.

MISHLOVE: Actually, many people who are naturally intuitive, such as I'm sure you are, will be able to operate this way; I mean, some people make a profession out of it.

EMERY: I hope so.

MISHLOVE: But many people who aren't so fluent in using their subconscious mind can go through various processes to train their mind to provide this kind of information for them. Why don't we go through some of the steps?

EMERY: I would love to. This is where I came up with the intuitive problem-solving formula. And it's interesting, if we could go back to my students in the Masters in Management program, they're middle- and upper-level managers in every major business. It happens to be from west Michigan, but the setting is irrelevant. They come to that class, and they're very logical, that's the important thing. And the first class is like, "I dare you. I challenge you," and they're really set in their way. And what we're trying to do is kind of relax their logical mind and show them that their intuitive mind has been working all along, and it's actually identifying the ways in which we're doing this. I say this as a little bit of background, because it's out of this background that this intuitive problem-solving was born. And it's true we have to start with a problem. Now when I say the word problem, some people say, "Well, I don't have any problems." I say, "I'll give you some of mine." So of course we could have a problem. It could be a decision. It could be a perspective; you're trying to understand somebody; you're trying to take the next step. You might want a creative lead into something, or an innovative lead. It's not a weighty problem. So I'm using that word "problem" in quotes right now. So it's starting with, let's call it an issue, and it's phrasing that issue very, very clearly: "Should I change jobs?" Not "Should I change jobs and move, and relocate?" See, that's a double-barreled question. So I like to have them start very simply and directly and write the problem down, because the act of writing it down really commits it.

MISHLOVE: Well, I suppose for many people simply figuring out what their problem is, is 50 percent of the problem.

EMERY: Yes, absolutely. I sometimes say 75 percent -- to get that starting point, and to make it very clear. And as I'm training people to do this, I say, "You know, there's a difference between a background and a problem, and if you want to tell me that you're not happy at your job, and you've been there for eight years, and it's very boring and you think you'd like to try something else, that's fine; that's the background. You could write that down; that's the background. But now, very succinctly -- succinctly, because the intuitive mind speaks very succinctly, very basically, 'Should I make a career change? Should I change my job?' However you say it, very basically and succinctly."

MISHLOVE: Just like that. Like maybe even yes or no.

EMERY: Maybe they want a yes or no answer. And you know what I do then?

MISHLOVE: So you pose the question.

EMERY: Right, right. And that's very basic. You're right in saying that, because asking a question like that can lend itself to a yes or no answer.

MISHLOVE: But it needn't.

EMERY: No, it needn't. So what you're doing is you're starting your search, and when you're starting your search it's the logical mind that's formulating the question. Then the logical mind -- I have to use my hands for this because it gets graphic -- the logical mind begins to recede to the background as the intuitive mind comes forward. And my next step is that of centering, and what we're trying to do is take the tension out of the mind. Our mind wanders; it goes all over the place. And so the intuitive mind can go forward and the logical mind recede, my next process is that of centering.

MISHLOVE: Centering sounds like meditation.

EMERY: Well, you're really getting very, very centered right now, and there are several props and tools to doing this. One is saying an affirmation. For example, "My intuitive mind will lead me to the best answer. My intuitive mind knows just what to say. My intuitive mind grows more reliable." So we say an affirmation. Or to get centered we could say, I call it, a focusing word. Or we could say "Peace." I like "Serenity." That always puts me in a very peaceful mood: "Serenity." Or we could use a phrase, a focusing phrase: "Peace. Be still." Or we could look at a focusing object. And what's exciting is we could look anywhere around the room, and I could always find a focusing object. So I look down at the rug. And a focusing object to me -- anything that is geometrical helps that intuitive mind come forward and helps that logical mind recede.

MISHLOVE: Now, at this point it seems to me that what you're saying would work pretty well for people who are already quite healthy, who are thriving, who are successful, who have a positive direction and a good sense of themselves. But I would think that for many people the unconscious mind, or the subconscious mind, is a little bit of a trickster. There may be self-defeating tendencies that could bubble up just as well as an intuition.

EMERY: Oh, absolutely. But do we want to finish the formula?

MISHLOVE: Oh, we're getting ahead of ourselves here.

EMERY: I usually get ahead of myself. But I think if we take it from the top and go through the formula, because that's a very, very important part of it.

MISHLOVE: OK, so we'll come back to this point.

EMERY: Absolutely, because that's one of the most -- I call them the culprits that get in the way.

MISHLOVE: The culprits. All right.

EMERY: So here I am; my intuitive mind is coming forward and beginning to feel centered. Now I have to rid my body of the physical tension, and to do that, breathing and receptivity. I train my students, people who come to my workshops and seminars, in any one of four breathing techniques. It doesn't matter what they are right now, but the idea is that the breathing is allowing the physical stress to come out. I follow the breathing with a relaxation exercise, and here I have about six different relaxations that they learn. All they have to do is one breathing, one relaxation, and suddenly they're in what's known as the alpha level. And in the alpha level our mind expands and it opens up. And it's wonderful; it's like a data base. To talk about the subconscious mind, I'm going to talk about the computer, because I always liken it to a computer, and our data base just completely widens.

MISHLOVE: In other words, you type in the question and the computer will come up with the answer.

EMERY: Many, many, many options. You know, sometimes we think in black-and-white terms: "I either have to stay at this job, or I'll never have another job again." "I either have to live in this house, or I'll never have another house." We think very dichotomously. And when the subconscious mind opens up at this alpha level now, we have some wonderful choices to choose from. So let's get back to our question. Our question was, "Should I change my job?" So now I've centered, I've done my breathing, I've done my relaxation. And suddenly my subconscious mind sends me a bunny, and I say, "What is that bunny? OK, that bunny reminds me of Easter." Now, I'm getting ahead of myself. So there's the bunny; that's the imagery. The next step is eliciting the imagery, so the imagery comes up.

MISHLOVE: So you've got an image.

EMERY: I have an image.

MISHLOVE: But you may not know what it means.

EMERY: Oh, I have no idea. I say, "Should I change jobs?" and I'm given a little bunny. What does that mean -- I should go hop-hopping along? I could have fun and I could play with it. But the very important step comes -- most of our images are metaphoric or symbolic. And that means we have to unravel them, we have to unravel this puzzling imagery and symbolism. So my next step is the interpretation, interpreting the imagery, and I have four techniques I use. One technique that I'll just talk about now is called amplification. It's an association technique.

MISHLOVE: Amplification.

EMERY: Amplification, patterned after Carl Jung, the great psychologist. So here I have my little bunny, and I don't have Easter yet, mind you, but I have my bunny. So to start associating -- let's say this is my bunny, and I can associate, "A bunny is an animal, and a bunny is rabbit, and a bunny is fur." I just let all of these associations come in -- "And bunny hops along." And suddenly I say, "A bunny is Easter! Wow! That's it." And you might look at me and say, "Well, what does that have to do with changing jobs? Are you going to change jobs at Easter?" And I say, "No, don't you understand? East-er!"

MISHLOVE: What you're saying is that there's a feeling. It could have been fur, right? But you had a certain feeling --

EMERY: Someone else may have had fur, right.

MISHLOVE: -- about Easter in this case. So it's not just enough to get an image, because the subconscious mind is capable, I think, of coming up with a rush, a flood, of images.

EMERY: Oh, absolutely.

MISHLOVE: There's a certain -- as you said, like a bolt of lightning, or a key, or a flash, a light bulb, or something -- there's some signal that this is the image.

EMERY: And you know, it has to vibrate to me. It has to strike a responsive chord in my spirit. That's very, very important. Because you and I could be working in the process, and you said, "Well, gee, I got a rise out of fur. That really gave me the 'Aha!'" And I said, "No, I really felt 'Aha! That's it!'" And what's exciting. no matter who I do this with, you could watch people, and at that moment, when that intuitive mind kicks in, it's like the eyes light up, the face has that truly "Aha!" look about it. Should I run through this with another process?

MISHLOVE: All right.

EMERY: Suppose I know of somebody who is saying, oh, their problem was they had a very good friend that was their subordinate, and they had to discipline them, and they didn't know how to approach them. So it's, "How can I discipline an employee who's also a close personal friend?" And they went through this process, and they did their centering; let's say they said, "Peace." And they started doing their breathing, and relaxation, and for this particular person an egg came up, an egg, e-g-g. And they said, "Well, I have no idea what this egg means." I said, "Let's amplify." And we started to associate, "Here's my egg." And so, you know, "An egg is fragile, and an egg is beginning" -- you could join me if you want -- "and an egg is life."

MISHLOVE: And an egg can taste good.

EMERY: Taste good. And it's food. And suddenly she said, "An egg is hard-boiled." She said, "My God, I've got to take a hard line." And that was her "Aha!" Someone could say, "Well, wasn't that very obvious?" And it wasn't very obvious to the person when they started.

MISHLOVE: I might have said soft-boiled.

EMERY: And for you that might have been your approach, see? And if that was the "Aha!" for you, that would have been your approach.

MISHLOVE: If we go a little deeper, there is this click, this "Aha!"

EMERY: Yes, yes. It's like that moment of truth. One of the things I love about this intuitive problem-solving formula, it gets to the bottom line very quickly and very, very easily. And I have seen people, again, that I have worked with, come up with solutions, and they've told this to other people -- you know, problems that they've been working on for six months. And they say, "Where did you get that from?" And yet it's very, very basic, and it's very simple. Now sometimes a symbol comes up, and we can associate, and it means absolutely nothing. Let's say we did all the symbols to the egg, and we still didn't know what the egg meant. We have to do a next step. We have to incubate. Incubate means just take a resting period, take time out, leave it alone.

MISHLOVE: It's one of the classic stages in the creative process.

EMERY: Incubation, right.

MISHLOVE: Focus on an idea as much as you can, and then you kind of take a nap.

EMERY: Exactly, exactly. You plant your seed and you let the seed go. And you could be doing something else, and then suddenly you come back: "My goodness, that egg was hard boiled! I really have to take a hard line" -- if that was not one of the initial associations. So that's another step that I employ, the resting period when it's needed. And then you come back and you offer further interpretations. Now sometimes -- I'm giving you examples where an image comes up and we're interpreting it right away. Well, sometimes we have a whole series of questions. I might want to ask you for a favor, OK? So my first question is, "I want to ask Jeffrey for a favor. After all, we're on the same team, and I really need him to help me with this project, but I just don't know if I should approach him." So let's say I start off, "Shall I approach Jeffrey for a favor?" Now, let me just stop for a moment and talk about imagery. Sometimes the intuitive mind kicks in very spontaneously, it's very passive. But when nothing comes up, we can activate and create the imagery. So I want to know if I should approach you for a favor, and I get nothing, absolutely nothing. So I say, "OK, let me create two light bulbs. One will say yes and one will say no." And I close my eyes and I see the Yes light bulb go on.

MISHLOVE: Like red and green.

EMERY: Red and green. Another very popular thing that people use is a traffic light, and green means go ahead of course, red means stop, and yellow means approach cautiously. So let's say I got the green light; I could approach you. Then I want to come back and create imagery: "Well, when should I approach you? Morning? Evening?" I could see the sun coming up; I could see the sun going down. Well, I see the sun coming up, so that's telling me the morning, that's giving me. And when I say, "I see," that means I'm just getting very back into my intuitive mind and I'm seeing the sun coming up. "Well, what day of the week?" And it's almost as if I could see a calendar with the days of the week going by. Oh, it stops on Tuesday! So can you see how I'm going back and forth to ask questions, and I'm getting information?

MISHLOVE: Yes, and you call that activating.

EMERY: Activating your imagery, activating it.

MISHLOVE: Now let's come back to the culprits you were talking about, because I bet almost everybody who's listening to this runs into those little gremlins of the mind.

EMERY: Oh yes, absolutely.

MISHLOVE: You know, the will-o'-the-wisps of the mind that pull us in every direction, it seems.

EMERY: It's interesting how these culprits often tend to smack of emotion. Let me give you an example of positive emotions. Self-fulfilling prophecy -- we create the script. Now sometimes it works out that it follows through, but sometimes we have wishful thinking in that script. It's what we really want to do and would like to do, but it doesn't have a trace of the reality into it. Now, that's a positive emotional culprit.

MISHLOVE: Now let's suppose that I'm prone to that, wishful thinking.

EMERY: OK. What about that?

MISHLOVE: Well, how am I --

EMERY: How am I going to help you?

MISHLOVE: Yes. How am I going to help myself?

EMERY: OK. That's only one culprit, one emotional culprit.

MISHLOVE: That's one.

EMERY: Of the positive ones.

MISHLOVE: I'm sure, in fact I know from your book, that there are dozens.

EMERY: Right, OK. And what I'm training people to do -- and I keep going like this and like this. We have centers, I think, where we're really responsivel to our intuition. And I want to say something. I don't think our intuition is here or here I think it's all over our body. Our intuition is a muscle. And when you hear information, you hear people say, "Oh my God, oh my God." And what are they doing? They're touching the intuitive centers.

MISHLOVE: The centers at the chest or in the solar plexus, or at the forehead, and so on.

EMERY: Right, right. And for me, when I know something is correct intuitively, there's just such a feeling of well being, of peace, of balance, flowing throughout. So if I'm saying, "Gee, I'm giving a workshop next week, and a hundred people are coming," and I'm sitting, and my body is going like this -- I mean, I'm starting to feel -- I'm exaggerating this to show what I would be feeling inside. And inside I'm feeling turmoil, and I'm saying, "Geez, I'm saying a hundred people are coming. Who is kidding who?" But I'm smiling, and I'm saying a hundred people are coming. Well, I'm not feeling comfortable. I'm not feeling relaxed at that point.

MISHLOVE: And so if you're in touch with yourself and can recognize that, you can get through it, is what I hear you saying. It seems, though, just as we have the capacity for wisdom, we have the capacity for self-deception.

EMERY: Oh, absolutely.

MISHLOVE: And I suppose one of the points about being self-deceived is you really are self-deceived, and you get caught in it. It's a deep subject, and one that we will undoubtedly explore in the second portion of this program. I don't think we have time to get into it, but I know you have many techniques for getting through these, as you call them, culprits.

EMERY: The blockages, the culprits. And they're blockages. Fear -- fear is a very strong negative culprit.

MISHLOVE: Well, Marcia Emery, you have laid out the basic parameters for getting in touch with this subconscious wisdom in a natural, healthy, positive way.

EMERY: Thank you. That's been my joy to do that, because I think this is a gift that everybody has, and everybody can and should be claiming.

MISHLOVE: Well, thanks so much for being with me, Marcia.

EMERY: I'm glad, Jeffrey.

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