Extrasensory Etiquette

What to do when intuition strikes

| November/December 1998

Intuition is hot. Books and tapes abound; classes are filled to overflowing.Perhaps you're part of this renaissance and your skills are developing nicely—flourishing, in fact. Intuitive insights keep showing up, sometimes unbidden. You may be at a PTA meeting and get a strong feeling that the person sitting next to you, someone you barely know, has a child in serious trouble who can't ask for help. Or you may be listening to a friend enthusiastically talk about a new hiring choice and know “in your bones” that this candidate will turn out to be the employee from hell. Or you may be shaking an associate's hand and sense that cancer is forming in his gut. What are you supposed to do with this unsolicited data? Are there any rules here?

After all, these people haven't asked for your advice. As is often the case with our most blatant hits, especially early on in the development of intuitive capacities, the information is not always wonderful. If anything, it seems to be of the dire-warning variety. So where does our responsibility lie? Do we say something and risk rudely mucking around uninvited in someone else's life? Or do we just button up, perhaps missing an opportunity to help?

As a practicing psychotherapist for 33 years, I knew that professional rules exist—as they do for the ministry and medicine—for handling inadvertent outside information that falls into practitioners' laps. But here we're talking about “inside” information. Signposts are especially necessary in the free-floating, amorphous territory of psi (the catch-all category that includes intuition, ESP, channeling, distant healing, and psychokinesis), where distinctions between “I” and “thou” become blurry, and where the dissolving of boundaries is, after all, the essence of the experience.

Here are the basic rules of etiquette I've leaned from interviews with more than 40 professional intuitives around the world:

1. When in doubt, do nothing.

People have a right to their own lives, and we need to respect and honor that. It would be arrogant to assume we've all been deputized by God to interfere, sometimes even if people ask us to. The path of not doing is your safest default position.