Sharon Franquemont is one of the few educators to have taught intuition at the university level. Her global experience in training individuals, couples, and organizations for more than two decades makes her arguably the best qualified person in the world to create a complete audio curriculum on awakening your own intuition.
Sounds True: Sharon, you are known as an intuition teacher who believes that everyone is born intuitive.
Sharon Franquemont: That’s correct.
Sounds True: So if intuition is something we are born with, why do we have to learn how to use it?
Sharon Franquemont: Yes, intuition is innate. But the point I’d really like to make here has to do with how little our educational system values intuition as a way of knowing. It actually puts it down; for example, the courses that depend most on cultivating inner resources—like art and music—are the first to have their budgets cut. No one in school ever gets to take “Intuition 101.” What would it be like if we were all tested to find out where our intuitive strengths are? We could assess our capacity for intuitive visions.
Some people are most intuitive through tactile experience; for example, through their hands and feet. What does that body tingling signify? How accurate are the gut feelings, and heart feelings, that spontaneously occur during decisive moments? But in fact, in Western culture, from the time we are children we are taught that the way to know is through the left brain, the analytical side. The right brain, the seat of our intuition, is mostly ignored. Intuition training begins with giving all people permission to be intuitive, and a framework for developing these intuitive skills.
Sounds True: The idea that Western education does not support intuitive learning is interesting because, of course, you ended up teaching intuition at the university level. How did you develop a college course about intuition in this context?
Sharon Franquemont: This is one of the more wonderful things that has happened in my life. I was given the opportunity to teach graduate students about intuitive knowing at John F. Kennedy University in the 1980s. As I prepared the course work, I was struck by the sorrowful way that intuition has been treated in academic circles. I had little to work with, and what there was—including my own experience—came primarily from the psychological point of view. So in a way, I had to start from scratch.
I began by researching the history of intuition, and its role in philosophy and spiritual traditions. I looked at ancient teachings, the many different mystical paths, and their relationships to intuitive knowing through the ages. Also, I examined how different cultures approach this direct knowing—how they see it and think about it. Eventually my students and I longed to study intuition even more deeply, on a long-term basis. We formed groups and workshops which have lasted up to three years long, where we really gave shape to our study of intuition—how it truly changes lives, and brings confidence to every situation we face.
Sounds True: You mentioned other cultures and how they teach about intuition. What did you learn here?
Sharon Franquemont: I uncovered the 3,000-year-old writings of the Indian philosopher, Patanjali. In his field of inquiry, he began with the question, “How does anyone know anything?” He then identified four paths of knowing. One is the physical way of knowing things, and the second is the emotional way of knowing. The third way we know things is through their meaning. And then the fourth way we know is literally through the spirit that is at the center of all things. Intuition thrives at the level of the spirit. So, Patanjali taught that if we know something only through our emotional reaction to it, we have little chance to see the pure, clear spirit behind it.
Sounds True: On your new audio learning course, you teach an “intuitive fitness p
Sharon Franquemont: I wanted to help people recognize intuition the moment it expresses itself in the body. We often hear the phrase “gut instinct.” We now know through the research of Daniel Goleman—he’s the professor from Harvard University who wrote Emotional Intelligence—that the neuro-peptides in your internal organs are similar to the neuro-peptides in your brain. So what we have been saying for years and years that “my gut knows” makes perfect sense. Literally the human body can tell us information, if we only know how to listen.
My fitness program is designed to teach people how to recognize what their body feels like when it’s trying to communicate. We’ve broken it down into a series of steps to make it easy to learn and practice. Once you begin to recognize that your intuitive body is talking, you can begin to trust it, and eventually act on what it’s talking about. Your intuition will never fail you.
Sounds True: Are there any other unique features about your teaching course?
Sharon Franquemont: Well, we’ve tried to make it the most comprehensive intuition teaching program that is available right now. No matter where you are in your intuitive development, there’s something for you. It’s designed for the beginner, and there’s a lot of advanced teaching for people who have been working with their intuition for 20 years or more. The exercises and practices not only start you off, they take you through to the destination.
Another key point is that my program shows you how to apply intuition in your professional life, particularly with reference to teams, and working with people. We work a lot with intuition and leadership—how to develop a greater vision, as well as enhance your day-to-day work life. I also give several hours of instruction about using your intuition to enhance your relationships, and increase the depth of intimacy that you’re comfortable with—with yourself and others. So, this is truly a full-spectrum learning experience.
Sounds True: What does the term “the electric self” have to do with intuition?
Sharon Franquemont: Your whole body is an intuitive mechanism—it is electrified in this sense. Intuition illuminates us or electrifies our lives, and reveals our purpose and guides our choices. We live in an age where electricity plugs us into global events and people throughout the world. I believe intuition plugs us into the spot where each of us belongs, into the community and into the activities which are part of our destiny.
Sounds True: You have an interesting point to make about IQs and InQs. What are you talking about here?
Sharon Franquemont: Just as you have an IQ (intelligence quotient) which is related to your brain, you also have an InQ (intuition quotient) which is related to your entire body. For example, your feet may have a high InQ. If you let them wander, they’ll take you exactly where you want to go. Or if I let my hands, which have a high InQ, work intuitively with art or construction materials, I may be creating something incredible without even thinking about it. The energy of intuition resides deeply throughout your whole body. The InQ assesses that energy both in the physical body as well as beyond the physical body.
Sounds True: Sharon, which intuition practices are the most meaningful for you—that have transformed your life the most?
Sharon Franquemont: Oh, absolutely, without question, meditation. Because when we meditate we are cultivating silence, while allowing the joy of being alive to come forward. And with that aliveness and in that silence comes the voice of intuition—the body flash of intuition, and the knowing of intuition.
Another very important part of my own practice is based on making my physical body a welcome home for my soul. I know many people and many traditions make a distinction between the soul and the body. I make no distinction. I think the body is an expression of the soul, just as the soul is in part an expression of the body.
Sounds True: Now, if you could give people one piece of advice about intuition, what would it be?
Sharon Franquemont: Can I say two words?
Sounds True: Sure.
Sharon Franquemont: “Trust” and “practice.”
Sounds True: And please expand on that.
Sharon Franquemont: Trust that you are intuitive. Trust that you’re a student of your intuition, and then practice. Just practice. Practice trusting in your intuition, practice acting on it, having fun with it, being curious about it. Let your intuitive world invite you into your greatness. And don’t be afraid to respond to it.