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Sensing Vs. Intuition: What Is The Difference?

by Natasha Wanderly November 7, 2018

The world is filled with information, and our understanding of the world is based on how we access and perceive that information.

Contrary to popular belief, we actually have two different ways of accessing this information — via intuition or via senses.

So, then the question is: Sensing vs. Intuition, what’s the difference? How do I know when I am intuiting something, and when I am sensing something?

In this article, we will explore “sensing vs. intuition.” Then, we will dive deeper by giving some example scenarios to help you determine whether you would be tapping into intuition or sensing.

What Is Sensing?

Intuitive and sensing

Most of the information you receive from the outside world is sensory — sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Your sensory receptors assign meaning to reality based on the information they receive and remember from past experiences.

Seeing dark clouds form before feeling light rain, or smelling something savory and knowing exactly what you are about to taste are examples of sensory perception.

Sensing is creating meaning from the information you observe through your 5 senses, consciously or unconsciously.

What Is Intuiting?

But what about extrasensory perception (ESP)? “Extra,” meaning outside sensory perception? What happens there?

What about that feeling you get in your gut about certain situations? Or the seemingly random thought about the future that ends up becoming a reality?

This is intuition.

Intuition isn’t a cognitive or sensory process.

It is a way to perceive information outside of these conscious, cognitive, and sensory processes. Intuition transcends time and space and allows us to access the knowledge we don’t consciously learn or think about.

To understand the science behind intuition, check out these studies performed by the Heart Math Institute confirming how the heart perceives intuitive information before the brain does.

Also, check out our ultimate guide on all things intuition.  

Sensing Vs. Intuition Scenarios

Intuitive versus sensing

Okay, real-life sensing vs. intuition.

How can you tell if something you are experiencing is coming from intuition or sensing? What’s the difference?

To understand these differences deeper, let’s take a look at some hypothetical scenarios.

Scenario 1

Let’s say you’ve been thinking about a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Just as you are thinking about them, they “coincidentally” call or message you.

Is this an example of intuition or sensing?

That’s intuition, baby.

As mentioned above, intuition transcends time and space.

Because you have no logical reason to believe that your friend would call you at that moment, this thought is sparked by intuition — your perception of a future event (in this case talking to your friend) created the thought.

However, if a friend you frequently talk to calls you as you are thinking about them, this would come from a more sensory thought process. Based on your past experience, you can logically expect that you will talk to them periodically and regularly.

Scenario 2

You are leaving your home to go into town on a Sunday morning. You have a strange feeling that there will be traffic, despite the fact that’s it’s early on a Sunday.

Sure enough, on your way into town, you end up getting stuck in traffic.

Is this feeling an example of intuition or sensing?

Now, the answer to this question is a little more complex… It depends on whether your feeling is rooted in past experience and sensory input, or if it is coming from an unexplainable source.

Perhaps a majority of the people in your town are Christian and traffic strikes on a Sunday morning because many people are going to church.

While you don’t consciously think about this, you have received information that subconsciously supports it — whether you see many churches across town, many people wearing crosses, or any number of “micro-clues” that your subconscious observes and stores.

While these clues are subconscious, but they are still sensory.

So, this case would be an example of a sensory feeling.

However, if traffic strikes on that Sunday morning for reasons that cannot be perceived by the senses (whether conscious or unconscious), like a spontaneous road closure or an accident, your gut feeling would come from a place of intuition.

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When was the last time you considered sensing vs. intuition? Do you ever mistake the two also? Share with us in a comment below!

by Natasha Wanderly
Natasha is a happy no-mad with a love for living lucidly, dancing with fire, and talking to strangers. She's also an enthusiast of self-development and personal growth, and is constantly reading and writing about it. From living with Shamans in the Amazon to studying hieroglyphs in Egypt, she is always on some type of adventure. Every day, she wakes up with two goals: 1) Be here 2) Be love.

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