I recently received a question from a reader:

“I can’t distinguish between real spiritual input from my guides and other stuff, like imagination. I keep getting conflicting messages as well.  What’s going on?” – Abigail

Hi Abigail,

It’d be great if there was an ‘exact science’ formula for knowing what is your intuition and what is your imagination, but I don’t think there is one.  However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when trying to distinguish between intuition and other things.

#1: Practice and Feedback

Practising intuitives have it easier when it comes to distinguishing between imagination and intuition and this is because they get more feedback than anyone. They get their intuitive insights validated, or not, as the case may be.

So, if you want to develop your confidence and clearly know the difference between your intuition and your imagination, do what practicing psychics do to gain confidence in their abilities – (1) practice as much as possible and (2) get feedback on your intuitive insights.

You don’t need to be doing professional readings for others in order to get feedback on your intuitive insights – you just need to apply them in your own life and see the results. For example, if a voice inside impulses you to take some sort of action, notice how that voice sounds, what it feels like, and then see what the results are.

But, the catch here is that you must practice detachment in seeing the results of applying your intuition.

What many people do is apply their intuitive insights, and if it doesn’t immediately get proved correct, they get discouraged – try not to approach your intuitive development like that. If the information is not proved correct immediately, don’t worry. Every time you apply your intuitive input and see the results, you get a little bit closer to knowing what your unique intuitive voice sounds like or what your intuitive nudge feels like, so even when you’re wrong, you learn something. But in order to get very far in your intuitive development, you’ve got to be open to being wrong.  All developing intuitives get it wrong sometimes and practicing intuitives can get it wrong too.

#2: Notice the feeling that accompanies your intuition

All intuitive information comes with a special energetic ‘signature’ that you can make out after a while.  The more you practice receiving intuition, the more you can identify the feeling that comes with real intuition.

In a reading, when I am getting accurate intuitive information, I know in my gut that it’s real and correct – I can feel it. When I first started out doing readings, when I picked up on really specific things, I’d try and tone down the specific-ness of it, because I was afraid of being wrong. But I had that gut feeling which was telling me it was right on. The energetic signature of the gut feeling was something between excitement and certainty. And through feedback from clients, I came to realize that the gut feeling of certainty/excitement was a sign of accuracy. But if I never got feedback from clients, I still wouldn’t know what that feeling meant.

Your energetic signature or feeling may not be the same as mine, but if you practice receiving and applying intuition, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to.  Next time you get intuitive input, go inside and ask yourself ‘how does this feel to me?’

In addition to getting feelings in my gut, I also get feedback on the accuracy of my intuition through my emotions. If I get some information, but it ‘feels’ wrong or off to me, (and it’s not a good feeling), then I know it’s not on the right track. When I’m passing on information that I know is accurate, then I feel good, I feel uplifted. If any information is not accurate, it feels discordant in me just before I open my mouth to say it.

Like me, you may get gut feelings as part of your intuition, or you may not. It all depends on whether clairsentience is one of your intuitive gifts.

#3: Imagination is active, Intuition is passive

Another key difference between imagination and intuition is that imagination is an active process and intuition is a passive process.

When you’re imagining something, the imagination is exerting itself actively. Whereas intuition is what you get when you clear the mind, through meditation, and you make yourself a conduit. You become passive. So if you’re afraid that your imagination is feeding you input when you want your intuition to have more of a say, work on getting your mind under control.

When you get a flash of something – and you’re not sure whether it’s your intuition or your mind being overly active, just stop and quieten your mind. You can do this by focusing on your breath for a minute or two and by just not paying any attention to the thoughts which arise – focus on your breath above all. This really helps to put your mind out of action for a minute while you hear what your intuition has to say about it. Intuition arises in the gaps between your conscious thoughts – so you need to create more gaps in order to hear your true intuitive voice.

When it’s definitely not your intuition:

  • The voice that’s talking to you makes you feel bad, discouraging or belittling you.
  • When the voice tells you something that sounds vague or confusing. Intuitive information should be concise and clear and should slot nicely into your mental frame of reference. If it asks you to have faith in its accuracy, but makes no sense at all to you, then it’s probably best to discard it.
  • When the voice tells you to obey it. Intuition is usually without an agenda. Your Higher self and Guides will offer their perspective but you’re not required to live your life by that perspective or take into account the input, as you have free will.

If in doubt, don’t worry – a true and relevant intuitive message will usually repeat itself if you don’t get it the first time.

Practicing or developing intuitives – how do you distinguish between imagination and intuition?