One Saturday afternoon in 1998, Jane was cooking dinner preparing for a quiet night in in her Byron Bay apartment when a thought crossed her mind: “Don’t sleep here tonight”. The thought occurred again, “Clear amongst the day”, Jane says. The third time was indisputable. “It was like someone yelled in my head ‘Do not sleep here tonight!’. So I called a friend and asked to go over. As I drove away, I waved to my three neighbours in the apartment block and it was like our spirits met in that moment. At 3am, the phone rang. It was my flatmate to say there was a fire. I drove straight there to find the whole building alight. Four people died that night and, if I didn’t listen to that voice, I would have been one of them.”
Since then Jane has always trusted her intuition, her ‘sixth sense’, as she calls it. “I use it all the time”, she says. “It always leads to the next best thing. It’s never failed me”.
She believes the voice intent on protecting her was her higher self.
Gut instinct, gut reaction, inner voice, intuition, instinct, call it what you will. According to filmmaker Bill Bennett, we all have access to it. We just choose to ignore it most of the time.
Bill’s life was also saved by ‘a voice’ when he was driving on a country road at dawn, no other cars on the road, and heard the words ‘slow down’, clear as day. When he heard it a second time he decided to heed the warning and, just as he did so, a truck ran a red light, ploughing through the intersection at hurtling speed.
“At that point I jammed on the brakes and it just missed me,” Bill says. “But had I not slowed down, had I not listened to that voice – if I hadn’t trusted it – there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would have been killed.”
A self-confessed cynic and sceptic, honed by a successful career as a news and current affairs journalist, this incident led Bill on a quest to find the source of that ‘voice’ – what he came to know as intuition.
He spent three years researching intuition, interviewing some of the world’s leading experts on intuition across science, religion and spirituality about what it is, where it comes from, and how we can harness it to improve our lives.
His film is called PGS, which stands for ‘personal guidance system’, a term Bill has coined to describe instinct or gut feel, that sense that a higher power is watching over us and has our back.
“All of those people who are experts in fields of spirituality, religion and science were all basically saying the same thing,” says Bill. “That intuition is a guidance system. It’s a system that’s a part of our energetic bodily functioning – like our digestive system and immune system – and it exists to try to guide us through life and keep us safe. I have come to the conclusion that there is some divine force that guides our life.”
Bill describes intuition as being like a muscle that gets stronger with use but when we deny its existence, it atrophies. He suggests practising with little things like parking spots (“I always get the best parks,” he says) and predicting the weather forecast. Then when big decisions come along, we’ll trust ourselves more. When we pay attention to our ‘inner voice’ more often, we’re more likely to find happiness. “Intuition is trying to steer you to those things that will bring you true fulfilment in life and lead you to your true purpose,” says Bill. “Intuition constantly challenges us to break away from what’s gone before. Sometimes that’s scary. The greatest achievements in technology, medicine, science and the arts have come through intuitive insights.”
So how do we discern the voices we hear? How do we know if it’s our ‘personal guidance system’ speaking or our ego?
“Your intuition leaves you in no doubt,” says Bill. “First thought, best thought is my rule. Intuition is pretty bloody persistent. It steers you back to the right path. It often comes in a flash and you dismiss it and default to the rational mind. Your first thought – often crazy, illogical thought that makes no sense and you think could lead to disaster – that’s the one we should trust.”
And it’s also always right.
Bill’s extensive research, including 76 interviews with top scientists and spiritual leaders, concluded that the intuitive path is, without fail, the one to follow.
Bill cites Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, who features in the PGS film. “She says, ‘how do you know what’s a bad thing? You might think intuition led you down a bad path, but you don’t know what a bad path is’. It might end up being way more beneficial than you could have imagined.”
“When I look back at all the screw-ups in my life,” says Bill. “They had to happen to get me to this point of who I am right here right now, so we can learn these lessons. Growth doesn’t happen without mistakes.”
5 steps to using your intuition
Stop. For us to hear our intuitive voice, we have to to stop and find stillness.
Listen. Pay attention. Intuition tries to connect with us, not only through whispers of the soul, but also through signs – coincidence and synchronicity. Pay attention to those moments. When a song comes on the radio, it’s not random. It’s synchronicity working with you to help guide you to your next step.
Ask. There are times when intuition comes unasked; other times we have to ask for guidance.
Trust. We can get to a point of receptivity where we can access intuition, but then have to trust it. Trust is where we battle with our logical rational mind which wants to steer us to ‘safety’. We must override our fear.
Follow. It’s one thing to trust our intuition. Another to follow. To follow, we have to surrender to those greater powers that will look after us. It takes courage, enormous belief and trust.
More information on the film and screenings, visit pgsthemovie.com