Trusting that gut feeling
You always hear the term, always trust your gut. It is something I know I even talk about all the time. I mean after all who knows you better than you! There have been so many situations where I have had a 'feeling' about something, and I was right. I don't know how or why, but I somehow just knew. In a field though where we are always promoting rational and critical thinking, should we be trusting our gut feelings when it comes to paranormal investigating?
What is a gut feeling?
A gut feeling is a type of instinct or intuition that has no logical rational basis. When we feel an emotion for example, it is a reaction to your brain processing information. An emotion gives us a feeling in relation to this information. Sad news makes us feel sad for example. A 'gut feeling' is also a response to the brain processing information. In fact it goes even further. Scientists claim through research the brain not just processes information, but it predicts it. It is what is called 'predictive processing framework.' The brain will compare incoming information and current experiences against information stored in your subconscious based on previous experiences and will predict what might happen next. This in some ways can also lead to an irrational fear. If you are someone for example that has had a past trauma, it would be no surprise for you to react with fear if you are confronted by signals that remind you of what happened. For example if you had an accident in water, seeing water would make you scared and your 'gut' would tell you to stay away from water.
Has anyone ever told you that you are overthinking things too much? Often when you are dealing with a situation or trying to answer a question, you likely come up with an initial concept. You then start to doubt yourself and question yourself and try to rationally reason with yourself which leads you to change your mind. This debate can go on and on depending on how much you obsess over something (if you are someone like me, sometimes it goes on for a very long time). You somehow though end up with two different finishes to this scenario. The first is that you go back to the first choice you initially thought of. The second is that you choose something else but regret your decision and it doesn't feel like you made the right choice. Does this mean we should have just trusted our 'gut' or that initial reaction in the first place? As humans, sometimes as much as we may feel our gut is making the right decision, we need to know actual reasons why. I suppose when it comes to the paranormal, this is 101 stuff because when something happens and someone says it is paranormal, we want to know why? What makes it paranormal? What factors were in play? We need to analyise all of the other possibilities first before even entertaining the idea that it was paranormal.
A gut feeling at times is also described as a form of intuition. It is just knowing what is going to happen. While some people believe they have a psychic gift that allows them to pick up on these things, Science tells us that everyone is actually capable of intuition in some capacity. Often these feelings, emotions and predictions are made from the brain processing information and comparing it to what is your subconscious. The brain has made it's decision so to be speak, but you are not consciously aware of it yet. Intuitive thinking is described as a very fast process and again it is something that happens on an unconscious level. Intuitive thinking is thought to be quite reliable as it is judging a situation based on your own experiences and comparing them to what is happening now. An important thing here which I will expand on a little more below is that once your experience in a particular area increases, your brain has more of a reference point and your intuition actually improves. This makes sense in a way when you think of psychics who work with intuition. They are constantly training and working on their abilities and therefore their experiences so is this how they get better over time?
Should we trust our gut when it comes to paranormal investigating?
There is no black and white answer here, but the above shows us that there really us some merit behind trusting your gut. Now we know that it works on the basis of how much a person has experience in a certain area. This is where education becomes really important when it comes to the paranormal. If you are well educated about certain things and even if you are person that thinks critically and rationally, your experience will tell you unconsciously if there is something irregular happening based on things you have experienced before. An example I will use is Black Rock House. I go into that house several times every month. Most times I am walking around in the dark quite comfortably. There have been some very odd occasions where I have opened the door and felt scared. Things just didn't feel right. I couldn't figure out why because it is something I do all the time. Why suddenly was I losing my nerve? Could it be that my brain was looking at the situation and something was different. From all the times I have been in the house before, perhaps my brain noticed something a little different. Something wasn't adding up so it told me to be on guard. The same can happen when you meet someone.
You know how sometimes you meet someone and the seem really nice but for some reason your gut is telling you there is something not right here but you can't figure it out? It is quite likely that your brain has noticed some characteristics that have raised alarm bells based on your dealings with similar people in the past. This is why when you get these gut feelings about people, you are usually right.
There really is something to listening to your gut. While you can't use this as 'proof of paranormal', you can definitely apply it to certain areas when it comes to investigating the paranormal. Even using it as a reference system by understanding how it works. It is your brain telling you that something is different than it has been before. It is up to you to determine what that is. At the end of the day, you know yourself, you know your body and you know how you react to certain situations. I think using your gut along with a bit of rational thinking can serve you really well when it comes to investigating the paranormal. Not everything is paranormal and it may take the rational side of the brain to realise that, but sometimes things happen that we can't explain and usually your gut knows why. It is seeing something different that we are not conscious of. I have spoken so many times about our subconscious and it's potential power. We don't even know what information is stored in there and what it is capable of. We know that in some ways it can act as a warning system. I definitely feel it is worth listening to from time to time.
What do you think? Do you think we should trust out gut?