After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, people reported seeing animals fleeing to higher ground minutes before the tsunami arrived.
There was a popular news story in 2007 about a cat who lived in a nursing home and consistently jumped on a patient's bed within a couple of hours of the person's death. Dogs often alert their owners before a health crisis occurs, like a heart attack or stroke.
It appears that animals have some kind of heightened sixth sense to subtle changes in the environment and to the people around them. They are tuned in to changes in smell and vibratory shifts. It's clear that some animals can sense human emotion and respond to it.
So do people have a sixth sense? I think we do — but not in a magical, woo woo way. I think there is science behind it.
(Please note that I am using the words “sixth sense” to refer to any seeming ability to predict future events or communicate and understand in extrasensory ways.)
Scientific studies reveal that an area of the human brain called the anterior cingulate cortex actually raises the alarm about danger without ever penetrating the conscious mind.
Human pheromones serve as chemical messengers that allow us to subtly communicate with others through our sense of smell. We have all experienced the power of intuition in making decisions and choices in our lives.
This quote from a web site on Psychodynamics (the study of cognitive, subconscious and primal neurological responses to sensory input and experiences) resonates with me as an explanation for our intuition:
“We tend to experience the higher levels of our intuition when dozens of conscious insights, subconscious memories and senses converge to bring forward a conclusive insight that would normally be beyond the scope of conscious calculation or cognitive explanation.”
That makes perfect sense to me. All that we have learned, observed, and sensed comes together in a nanosecond the moment we need the information. Everything that makes us who we are can serve us on a very sophisticated and complex level that appears to be extrasensory perception.
In the long run, I don't know if the “why” of our sixth sense is really all that important. Whether these abilities can be explained by science or not, there is plenty of evidence that they exist to some degree for all of us.
If you agree with this premise, then I suggest what matters most is how we use these abilities to positively impact our lives.
Unlike animals, most humans have an underdeveloped sixth sense because we don't pay much attention to it. We are so distracted by everything around us that we miss the subtleties of our subconscious or ignore the messages wafting around with our pheromones.
We have been trained by a modern, technological society to look outward for answers rather than paying attention to the plethora of more refined sources of information. Our sixth sense has atrophied as a result.
But if we did pay attention to these sources on a regular basis, I think our lives could be strikingly different. Our world could be different.
Our choices and decisions would be more thoroughly informed and grounded. We would sense and understand possible outcomes and deeper meanings. Our relationships and interactions with others would shift as we are more aware of the nuances of their moods and demeanor.
If we combined the sixth sense with logic and with our other five senses, we could harness the full power of our natural abilities in so many aspects of our lives.
Looking back at the 2004 tsunami, it wasn't just animals that fled before the big waves struck.
The native tribes of Sri Lanka also fled to higher ground before the tsunami. Having had nearly 60,000 years of contact with the natural environment, these indigenous people emulated the animals, and they nearly all survived. These are people who do not depend on technology and must rely on their sixth sense for their very survival.
Even some non-indigenous folk like you and me have an uncanny ability to be aware of and respond to sixth sense abilities. We've heard stories about psychic phenomenon, precognitive dreams, or simply serendipitous events like knowing someone is about to call before the phone rings. I've had dozens of these experiences myself. But I haven't taken full advantage of my own abilities. I haven't really paid attention.
After doing my research for this article, my attention has been shaken. I have been ignoring, or at least diminishing, an extremely valuable resource that is right at my fingertips. It's the same way I felt when I finally discovered and began to use the Internet. Why have I been ignoring this? This could change my life!
There are many ways to tune in and awaken your sixth sense and apply it's guidance and wisdom in your life.
Here are a few that I'd like to share:
- Take the time to pay attention. If you don't slow down, you won't be able to focus on your intuition and the subtle messages sent to you by others. Don't cram your life with so much input that you are too busy to stop and acknowledge what your intuition is telling you. Don't let this psychic gift remain unopened.
- Don't ignore the vibes you are receiving. Have you ever met someone and felt immediately uncomfortable? Have you sensed that someone was staring at you? Have you had a sense of danger before anything bad has happened? Even if you feel foolish or gullible, don't ignore these signals. Take appropriate action, especially if you sense danger. You are receiving messages from your subconscious or being alerted by some very subtle physical changes or sensations.
- Go within and ask a question. If you are seeking a solution to a problem, trying to make a decision, or if you need a creative idea, go to a quiet place where you cannot be interrupted. Breathe deeply for several minutes and calm your thoughts. Then ask a question of your subconscious mind. Sit quietly and wait for 10 or 15 minutes. If you don't get an answer immediately, keep asking the question — before you go to bed, when you wake up, while you are in the car. The power and patterns of all of your senses, insights and memories will converge to provide guidance for you.
- Write down your dreams and learn to interpret them. Your dreams are powerful subconscious dramas playing out while you sleep. They offer insight into your daily problems and life events through archetypal imagery and symbols. Do some research and reading on dream interpretation so that you can reap the full benefit of all of the messages and psychic support your dreams provide. Keep a dream journal and write down your dreams as soon as you remember them.
- Keep a journal for stream of consciousness ideas. Writing is a very powerful way to tap into your subconscious and to strengthen your intuition. Keep a journal in which you write down thoughts that come to you without your specific focus or intention. I often start writing by first asking, “What do I need to know today?” You'd be amazed at what comes out on your paper! Don't analyze it while you are writing. Just write even if it seems non-nonsensical. Close the journal and then wait a day before you read it. Like a dream, this information might make more sense to you if you sit on it a while.
- Visualize and speak your intentions. Your subconscious mind, intuition and dreams regularly send messages to you. Try sending messages right back! Visualize what you want to accomplish or your end goal (and you can use a vision board to help with this). Speak your intentions out loud as though they are already real. Reinforce your desires with your subconscious mind so that it can work for you to actualize what you want. I'm not suggesting some magical attraction. If you plant a subconscious seed, your mind and senses are going to help the seed germinate and bloom.
- Listen to others with all of your senses, not just your hearing. Be fully engaged when you are listening to someone. Pay attention not only to the words, but also to expressions, smells, gestures and moods. Read the full person, not just the content of the language. In interpersonal relationships and business interactions, this is a dynamic and useful ability. Some of these non-verbal cues are easy to pick up, but others are subtle and require “sensing” a person's real message. Pay full attention.
- Spend time in nature regularly. When you spend time in nature, you are stimulating and rekindling some of the ancient parts of your brain that were necessary for survival. You are tuning back in to the natural order and creating a heightened sensitivity to the interrelatedness of all living things. You are refilling your “sixth sense tank” so that you have a surplus when you reenter the modern world.
If you are interested in learning more about your sixth sense and developing it further, you might want to read Your Sixth Sense: Unlocking the Power of Your Intuition by Belleruth Naparstek.