Studies that consider the use of intuition in nurses with varying levels of experience confirm that this is a valid modality for decision making. These studies note a progressively greater development of trust in intuition – according to levels of experience, from nurses who are beginners, through those who are competent, proficient, and expert.
Pattern recognition appears to be (at least in part) an extension of learned knowledge, honed to a fine, automated tool. As clinicians learn more and become more experienced, they can perceive increasingly subtle patterns of appearance, behaviors, monitored body data (from sophisticated instruments), and laboratory studies which alert them to unusual changes and dangers in their patients .
This is the art and science of medical and psychiatric practice. It is medical detective work, the gathering of evidence and seeking the underlying pattern that explains the underlying dynamics (physical, psychological, spiritual) that solve the riddle of what caused the problems. Pattern recognition can this be a factor in intuitive awareness.
This level of intuition, pattern recognition, is congruent with the prevalent materialist paradigms that guide and inform conventional medical and nursing practice. Intuition, however, can reach far beyond this level.
Inspiration and creativity
When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
- Patanjali (c. 1st to 3rd century BC)
Poets, writers, actors, painters, sculptors and others in the arts speak of inspiration that sparks their creativity. Inspiration may come as an idea in words. It is as though a voice speaks to them from another dimension, planting a new idea or a new way of perceiving or explaining something they are working on. Many speak of a muse that has the feel of a wise entity with a distinct personality, visiting from some other dimension when they are quiet and receptive to its whisper. The muse may show them directly what is helpful or may speak through imagery – sometimes in dreams. Among those acknowledging such inspiration are poets A. E. Houseman, Longfellow, and John Masefield; authors Kipling, George Eliot, Oscar Wild; actor Sir Alec Guiness; musicians Stravinsky, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky; artists William Blake, Picasso, and Klee.
Scientists have acknowledged the help of a muse, including André Ampère, Karl Gauss, Henri Poincaré, Michael Faraday, Lord Kelvin, Albert Einstein, and Nikola Tesla. Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors, reported that he found inspiration particularly in the dream-like state that is between waking and sleeping. Finding it was difficult to maintain this state, he would sit in a comfortable chair in the evening, holding a heavy metal spoon in each hand, resting his arms on the arms of the chair so that the spoons were suspended over metal pots on the floor. If he fell asleep, the clang of the falling spoon would bring him back to resume his receptive state.
This article appeared as the editorial in The International Journal of Healing and Caring – On line May, 2002, Volume 2, No. 2