Intuition, Mindfulness, and the Alarm Bell In My Brain

This is the story of something that happened to me last year. It won’t take long to tell, but it’s important.

I met someone at a social event who was friendly, funny, and charming at first glance. They seemed like exactly the sort of person anyone would want to spend time with.

They’re hiding something, my intuition said quietly a few minutes after we’d met.

This was the first time I’d laid eyes on them, and I knew nothing about them other than the basic details they’d shared about their life and interests. They thought carefully before they spoke, and every word that came out of their mouth sparkled.

They’re sugarcoating the truth, my intuition said in a slightly louder tone.

I had no proof to back up these feelings. I’d literally just met this person. They were full of smiles and kind words for everyone around them. There was nothing about their words or actions that should have alarmed me. It was a perfectly ordinary get-together in every way you could imagine.

They’re lying about something. This wasn’t a question. It was a declarative statement I had no proof for but still kept circling back around to.

I felt uneasy around them for reasons that are hard to put into words. There was something about them that was slightly off-kilter no matter which way I looked at it, and that made me nervous. When I was younger, I might have brushed off this warning and decided to find out more about this person for myself.  These days, I listen and take heed.

The beautiful thing about mindfulness is how it can focus your attention on what really matters in situations such as these. Something wasn’t lining up in the things they said about their life.  I didn’t and still don’t know exactly what they were being evasive about, but my mind was still enough to listen to those thoughts when they popped up and take action quickly when they refused to go away.

No, I do not think I’m clairvoyant or have any other abilities that defy scientific explanation.  If anything, I believe that my mind picked up on subtle but important discrepancies between their verbal and non-verbal cues that might have shown they weren’t being totally honest about the things they shared about their life.

But I do think that my mindfulness habits helped me to realize there was something off about this person sooner than I might have in a different timeline. The beautiful thing about learning how to quiet your mind is that it makes the rare feelings that refuse to be ignored much more noticeable than they might have otherwise been.

 

10 Responses to Intuition, Mindfulness, and the Alarm Bell In My Brain

  1. This gave me food for thought. I’ve had a couple of moments over the last couple of weeks, where something tells me to do something, esp, in regards to work, and I don’t listen to it — and later, my manager asks me to do the same thing anyway

  2. I have no doubt that you were picking up on something real. I don’t necessarily mean something physically verifiable, like nonverbal cues or microexpressions. What I mean is, whether you were picking up on nonverbal cues or whether you were picking up something intangible, the fact that your intuition was speaking so insistently and so clearly suggests that there really was something amiss with the other person.

    It’s important to listen to and trust your intuition. I’ve learned that as both a medical patient myself, and as a parent of a very sick child, as well as in some other types of situations. But it’s hard to do when, as you experienced, everything appears fine/normal on the surface. Or when, as I’ve experienced, the experts are telling you everything’s fine, and your intuition tells you it’s not. (I was right, as it turned out, but luckily everything turned out OK.) In both cases, I had a deeper knowledge of my own body/my own child than the doctors could.

    What’s harder to explain are the times when there’s literally nothing physical you could be picking up on… like knowing who the phone call is from before you pick it up, even though you’re not expecting a call from that person.

    The mind is an amazing thing.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more.

      I’m so glad your child was able to get the care they needed. What a frightening situation that must have been for you.

  3. Lydia,

    I am playing catch-up on your posts. I see I missed a lot!

    I have never read before about this “side-effect” of mindfulness, but it makes sense. What also made sense was the role experience played, that when you were younger you wouldn’t have trusted yourself as much. It’s nice to be reminded that there are benefits to maturity.

    I am curious: how did the presence of this person affect your behaviour at the party? Did you feel uneasy or did your awareness that something was off make the situation more interesting?

    Ruth

    • It’s so nice to hear from you again, Ruth.

      Yes, this is definitely one of the benefits of maturing. 🙂

      I felt so many conflicting emotions about this person. They were a great conversationalist, but I also felt uneasy around them. There was something about them that didn’t feel right to me even though they didn’t actually say or do anything unkind. Does that make sense?

      • Lydia,

        That makes complete sense to me. People with great charm and appeal often learn to deploy these qualities to mask less desirable traits. Of course, charisma is also often an aspect of quiet saints and effervescent heroes, and that’s why we have to rely on our instincts to protect us from the charlatans and villains. Sometimes we’ll be wrong and misjudge, but usually we’ll be right. I’m glad you had faith in what your intuition was whispering and reminded us all to trust our inner voices.

        Ruth

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