As metaphysical discussions become commonplace, I hear certain terms used interchangeably and the same words used to explain different things. This is a natural progression as we talk about the inexplicable. We are charting new territory. We are going to try out labels and see how they fit.

I adore the courage of so many people who are coming out of their shells and sharing what they once feared to admit. We are meeting each other in beautiful ways, having mind opening dialogues, and making much progress in understanding how the worlds beyond the five senses operate. We have an appreciation for energy. The presence of helping spirits is accepted.

As we share our stories we inspire each other. New ideas spread like wildfire. The material world, the illusion, loses its sway over us.

The flipside of this dazzling expansion is we are not always able to meet each other. We assume we know what someone is saying, and we forget to question if we really do.

One place I see this happening most frequently is with the two words “intuitive” and “psychic”. Many people use these words to explain a similar experience, while others see a distinct difference between the two. I do not claim to be an expert on this subject, but I would like to pose a definition of each and share my view of how the two interface.

You may choose to agree with or even adopt my viewpoint, or create your own. The goal here is that we become aware of how we are using these words and that we question how our friends, mentors and students use them. Then our conversations can evolve from there.

Firstly, let’s look at intuition. The definition of the word is “the ability to understand something immediately (likely from instinctive feeling), without the need for conscious reasoning.” This western world description makes it seem as if intuition arises from thin air. In my experience, intuition does arise independently, as if coming from nowhere. It is inherently unpredictable and something I cannot force like I can an answer from my reasoning mind.

What we miss in the current day definition is the spiritual component. The word intuition historically denoted “spiritual insight or immediate spiritual communication”. This shows the wisdom that intuition has a spiritual component and it is more than something of the mind or the gut. Intuition is a form of spiritual guidance. This guidance may come from an outside spirit helper or it may come from our own soul.

When seeing that intuition comes from instinctive feelings, which we possess innately, then intuition also shows itself to be a natural talent that comes from within and is something we all naturally possess.

So many people talk about having an “intuitive gift,” but, for me, this is a talent each of us owns from birth. The degree to which each of us is available to this gift is another question all together. Society values reason and teaches us to rely heavily on it from an early age. Intuition is a lack of reason. We forget to use intuition. We forget how to use it. We may even be afraid to trust it. Nonetheless, intuition is always there.

Now, let’s look at the term “psychic.” To have psychic powers means to have telepathic, medium, channel or clairvoyant abilities.

Telepathy is the way of communicating thoughts or ideas between two individuals using means other than the five senses. Someone using telepathy can read another person’s (or animal’s) thoughts. A medium is able to communicate with those who have crossed over to the other side. A channel is able to communicate and convey detailed messages from spirit beings such as angels or star people. A clairvoyant is able to see into the future.

Often, to call someone psychic says they have extraordinary talents of the mind that we can’t explain. To be psychic means to put experiences, visions, knowings or feelings into language. A psychic relays a message from somewhere or someone else.

Psychic abilities appear to be talents that can be learned as well as innate. A woman may be born with the natural ability to predict the future. The visions may come without her effort and only later she may learn to call her spontaneous experience clairvoyance. Another woman may not have any talent whatsoever for talking with animals, but after discovering and being trained in the skill of animal communication this capacity becomes available to her with effort.

If we all have psychic abilities is, in my mind, still up for debate. It is akin to wondering if we all have artistic abilities or not. The artist will say “yes”, while the self proclaimed non-artistic person will say “no”. I believe being psychic is a vocation, a calling, whereas being intuitive is natural for all of us.

Whether inborn or taught, psychic abilities rely on intuitive senses for support. Intuition helps those with psychic abilities check the information they receive for authenticity. Intuition helps psychics decide if a feeling, sensation, vision, etc. actually originates from the future, other being, or their own mind.

We all have intuition and use it to one degree or another for any number of things. Intuition can help us make large and small decisions, understand what message our body is giving us and know the comforting words to give a friend. Intuition is a personal capacity of the soul meant to guide us through life and connect us with the Divine. No one person can be more intuitive than another any more than one person’s soul is able to weigh more than another’s soul.

So, let us not judge and compare each other’s intuitive abilities. Let us instead meet on the level field of knowing that we are all intuitive. Then we can have the discussion about who will use intuition to be a successful psychic, healer, engineer, or artist. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insight on the topic. Sometimes it’s a good idea to return to the basics for a moment and make sure we all know what we’re talking about.