Practising introverted intuition
Introverted Intuition is my dominant preference as an INTJ Myers-Briggs Type. I’ve been working recently at how to tap more into this strength more. It’s a creative gift and I am focusing on how to translate this into words.
Learning to be aware of and capture my night thoughts has been a crucial part of this. This post outlines how I’m working with my introverted intuition to inspire my creativity and direction. I hope it may also inspire yours.
What is introverted intuition?
Introverted intuition is one of the eight psychological types developed by Carl Jung and described in his work, ‘Psychological Types‘ first published in 1921. Jung saw these different personality types as gifts. Introverted Intuition can be seen as having the gift of visionary insight. Angelina Bennet in The Shadows of Type, describes Introverted Intuition this way:
Introverted Intuitive types quickly see the connections between things and use these to create new concepts. They enjoy theory, innovative ideas and making connections. They are motivated by implementing original ideas and value inspiration and originality.
So true! Another phrase to describe the Introverted Intuitive is ‘The Seer’. Gary and Margaret Hartzler in their book, Functions of Type, describe the hallmarks of Introverted Intuiting skills, including:
- insights that seem to come out of thin air and learning to rely on them
- the ability to see intrinsic patterns and working with them from different perspectives, and
- being energised by and making meaningful connections using visions, images and symbols.
From this you can see why an Introverted Intuitive like me loves poetry, imagery, writing, strategising, big picture visioning and imagining what might be. Balance can be provided by realising that some things are just as they are and by focusing on the senses more. This rounding out tends to develop more fully later in life. As Hartzler & Hartzler put it:
This leads the individual to being much stronger, both ethereal and real.
What a fantastic combination to strive for! This post describes and explores the experience of working with introverted intuition to make it both ethereal and real.
Listening to introverted intuition
On this occasion, I wake in the night with a word clearly in my mind. It happens quite often. This time, the word is ‘vessel’. I note the word down, knowing that, as clear as it is, it can be forgotten by the morning. When day breaks, I reflect on this word that spoke to me from my inner voice in the night.
I start with definitions and check in with Google and dictionary.com and come up with:
• a ship or large boat
• a hollow container, especially one used to hold liquid, such as a bowl or cask
• a duct or canal holding or conveying blood or other fluid.
• person regarded as a holder or receiver of something, especially something nonmaterial: e.g. a vessel of grace; a vessel of wrath.
In essence, I see it’s about being a receptacle or conduit, especially in relation to liquids or transportation, and apparently derives from the Latin word ‘vascellum’, meaning ‘vase’ and also ‘ship’.
Being a vessel
I think of what ‘vessel’ might mean at this time: being a conduit, a channel, surrendering a bit more, allowing things to move through me as blood moves, intuition, ideas, finding my purpose, what others might need, with me as a channel. Maybe it’s about a quieter way of being, without the ego chattering away.
I wouldn’t want to be an empty vessel making the most noise. I would hope that I could be a vessel that can conduct things of value, like: life, blood, music, words, something created out of silence and flowing, moving through to keep things, me, other people, alive. A receptacle: receptive, open, transporting, watery, fluid, flowing.
Then I remember I have written a poem called ‘Vessel’ many moons ago.
Only yesterday, I went through all my poetry files and created a receptacle for them, something I have been trying to get to for too long.
The placeholder, entitled ‘Poetry Working Files’, is now set up in the Scrivener writing software space, ready to be filled. Elsewhere, I have all the files organised in alphabetical order by poem. It’s a small but powerful thing now to transfer them in as a body of work. From there, I can conduct magic with them. I know where they are, where they’ve been, how I can combine them, coalesce, revise, add to, edit and seek to publish them, if I so choose.
It’s a receptacle now, an empty vessel right now, but one easily filled with the richness of years. Receptacle, coming from the Latin – ‘recipere’ – to give back, receive, be receptive. I now have a place to receive, and give back. I have a place for poetry’s heart; even if it’s only on my computer, it’s a start.
Vessel – the poem
‘Vessel’ is actually a poem I love, previously published in a writing anthology, Writers at the Raglan. I don’t know where the title came from. The titles of my poems are often a word or phrase that just arrives capturing something more than I know. Sometimes arriving in the dead of night.
Your hands are all encompassing
in their imminence,
but maybe you are simply
And I, the virgin field
of your imagining,
dressed in white
for your uncovering,
feel the widening flaws
expose the cotton armour
of my longing.
Will the hard rubbing
of your words
make me shine
above the clouds
The poem captures the feeling of being an empty vessel, waiting for another’s blessing, being alone and feeling vulnerable. There’s abrasion, exposure, a waiting to be filled.
It’s from a long time ago when I used to spend a lot of time waiting for others, waiting to be blessed, ordained, consecrated, to be made pure, to be approved of. It’s not a practice I engage in so much now, if at all, but it’s good to be reminded of the risks through these words penned from another time.
Preparing for transition
So I am now preparing this vessel again, this space to fill with words, receptive and ready to transport and be transported. I think of the imagery of the Six of Swords, the journey across the open water into the unknown and the card I used to symbolise the start of the Quiet Writing journey. It’s a message of surrender, but a soulful surrender, creating a vacancy for the new, for what is to come.
It’s a watery journey, and there’s spirit involved, fire as well – all the elements coming into play, as I ground myself as a channel for what comes next. The destination is open-ended with an out-stretched sky, but a faint horizon to anchor me, there in the distance.
There’s receiving and giving – being open-hearted, flowing, dressed in white perhaps but not feeling quite so vulnerable. My own skin is now something I am much more used to and happy to be sitting within. The lifeblood of poetry is coursing through again and taking me to new places with the heart of the old whispering guidance.
I’ve learnt you need to listen and watch for signposts that quietly show the path: like two white feathers and a shy rainbow one day recently. And words that arrive in the night. Like the single word ‘vessel’ that started this piece and the train of connection to form a message winging its way through the dark to inspire a circle of light.
For more on Introverted Intuition, one of the eight personality functions, this article is a great introduction. A key thought:
The powerful means by which Introverted Intuition reveals its solution are associated with a gut sense of conviction and certainty. INJs “know” at a deep intuitive level that it is correct. But they cannot stop there. Once they have received the intuition, they must work to flesh it out. They must articulate and illustrate it in order to render it accessible and useful to others.
Hence this article!
I would love to hear your thoughts on Introverted Intuition and creativity. Jung has described the Introverted Intuitive as one of the most difficult of the types to understand, one that has elements of mystery.
So I encourage your comments on this as we explore writing with spirit here. Please share in the comments below or on the Quiet Writing Facebook page.
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