It absolutely drives me crazy when people talk about the 6th Sense.  When I hear it, whether it is from a student or another instructor, I lose my mind.  So I ask them, “what is the 6th sense?”  Please define for me what this 6th sense is.  I am aware of and believe in the 5 accepted senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, but I don’t know what this mythical 6th sense is.

I have been given a number of answers:
–       “It is gut instinct”.  So your stomach, intestines, and appendix are giving you this magical feeling?

–       “It is an accumulation of all the other senses.”  That person actually defined the 6th sense as the combination of the other senses.

–       “It is the hair on the back of your neck standing up.”  So the hair follicles on the backside of my body are sensing danger?

–       “You see dead people?”  Seeing is already covered in the first 5 senses.

–       “It is a woman’s intuition.”  I guess men are out of luck.

That last answer is actually closer to the truth though than all of the previous ones.  That last answer has the word intuition in it and now we are in to an area that SCIENCE can prove.  There is one piece to our limbic called the amygdule that focuses on identifying threats.  This is often happening before we even realize the threat consciously because it is occurring deep in our brain, not governed by conscious thought.

The messages sent out by the amygdule, which will prepare your body for flight or fight, may cause the erector pille muscles on the back of your neck to activate, causing the hair on the back of your neck to stand up, so that answer was partially right.  The way that your amygdule receives the stimulus that it recognizes as a threat comes from your senses, so that answer is partly right.  As far as intuition being a woman’s trait?  It isn’t that they are the only ones who have it; maybe they just listen to that warning from their limbic system more than men do.  Maybe men try to rationalize what their amygdule recognizes as a threat as something that they can deal with.

Intuition not only ties in what your amygdule perceives, but also ties in the memories that are stored in your hippocampus.  Your unconscious brain, which is operating much faster than your conscious brain, is integrating an observation with a memory, and preparing your body to deal with that threat well before our conscious brain has even caught up.

Gavin De Becker wrote a great book, The Gift Of Fear, that talks a lot about our intuition and our need to recognize it for what it is.  Gift of Fear is on our recommended reading list and we will get a review up for it eventually, but you don’t have to wait to start learning about how our bodies are hard wired to predict this danger, if we would only shut up and listen to it.

Disagree on the 6th sense and think you have a better definition?  Give it a shot on here.