Ahh, this is such a puzzle and one of great debate. When you first delve into discovering and playing with your inner senses and the realm beyond, you probably discount anything that you receive and attribute it to your imagination running wild. And rightly so, because it is quite difficult to separate or differentiate one from the other. But there are significant differences, although they may seem quite subtle.
Humans, including animals, insects and sea life, are born with intuition. Some people are born with it already highly developed, while others must vigilantly practice to develop it. Children respond heavily via intuition up until age seven. But unless they are encouraged to use their intuitive abilities daily, they slowly lose their natural inner senses once they become conditioned by outside influences. As adults, individuals who do not use their intuition at all, usually can be described as being confused, afraid and doubtful or whose energies are scattered. In other words, they vibrate at a much lower energy vibration, thus it blocks their connection to their intuitive abilities. But individuals who have confidence, plus trust in their inner guidance have a much easier time and will reap the benefits that their intuition gives them.
Imagination and intuition are both avenues by which we express ourselves. And while both can use thought and feeling processes, generally imagination plays with our thoughts, while intuition is felt from deep within and comes through as your first impression, without any editing. It can be almost like a magnetic pull or it can be like a nagging, nattering feeling that just will not let up or go away or it can be just a definite knowing.
But can your first impression ever be wrong? Yes, I believe so, especially if you are ill or un-centred in which your energies have become scattered or if you have become ego-centred. In order for intuition to be effective and work in your favour, you must keep yourself in a balanced, healthy state on all levels - mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually and this requires daily attentiveness and awareness.
Intuition is an inner awareness that goes beyond the realm of logical thought. It works at your soul level which connects you to higher sources or to higher realms of being. It will speak to you through your inner psychic senses, the major ones being clairvoyance (clear seeing), clairaudience (clear hearing), clairsentience (clear feeling/sensing) and claircognizance (clear knowing). Two other senses which are not referred to as often are clairalience, also call clairaroma (clear smelling) and clairambience, also called clairgustus (clear tasting). Whatever is sensed through these inner senses does not come from a physical source and when developing your psychic senses, you must also develop complete trust and surrender your ego. Yes, I know this is easier said than done.
When your intuition is sufficiently developed , you may experience a sudden flow of thoughts or feelings when you least likely expect it, generally when you are in a relaxed state. You may also receive inspirations by intentionally asking for guidance from the universal source and answers may appear as very sudden, quiet subtle thoughts, ideas or impressions, but unless you have an awareness, you may miss these altogether. Expressions of intuition may be shown through many forms such as painting, dancing, poetry, singing writing or inventing. The trick here is not to doubt the information that you receive or allow your logic to interfere, but rather just embrace what is received and work with it without becoming overly sceptical. In other words, stay in the moment and go with the flow without arguing or wondering why. How many of you have often said, "I do not know why or how I know this, but I just know it is true" or maybe you have said, "I do not know why, but it just feels right."
Imagination can also happen suddenly, or occur as a direct result of deliberately building one thought or idea upon another until you produce a story or a broader picture, but usually it does not ring as a truth deep within, at your soul level. Instead, you consciously know that you are fantasizing or some may call it daydreaming and that it is not to be taken seriously, because you were just having a fun moment. Your intuition will always feel like a truth no matter what, because you will feel and know this, deep within, without wanting or requiring actual proof. Intuition does not cast judgement, it never causes harm to you and it never gives you reasons why it shares certain information - it is just as it is and this is what you must learn to accept un-conditonally.
It is also true that your imagination will give you pleasure, relaxation, plus it will comfort you, especially when you are thinking pleasant, peaceful thoughts, but with intuition you will get an "ah-hah" moment or a revelation. You may suddenly discover a hidden talent that you were unaware of or make a break-through in a scientific project or invention or fix machinery that you had no prior knowledge about.
Your intuition will always encourage you to grow and it will take you to higher levels of consciousness where you begin to see everything with more insight and clarity. As well, you will think with greater and deeper understanding. At this stage, you will arrive at a state where you experience complete satisfaction, deep fulfillment, peace, joy and be elated with happiness that cannot be attained through the material world.
Imagination does not produce this higher, developed state of being and you are usually still floundering about wondering what your next step or direction should be. Well, can you imagine all the rampant thoughts running through your head fuelled by this dilemma? Hah, what an imagination you have! And yes, your imagination can work against you where it conjures up all sorts of improbable or negative possibilities or situations. Something your intuition would never do, because your intuition always knows what is true and what will benefit you for your highest good.
An important concept to keep in mind is that without imagination, there is no intuition. They are sort of like conjoined twins, but intuition will take you far beyond your imagination or beyond your wildest dreams by blessing you with inspirations so profound that you will have no doubt that you tapped into a greater universal source of knowledge and wisdom.
Margaret Jang is a Reiki Master Teacher & Practitioner, Numerologist, Intuitive, and a Spiritual/Inspirational Poet & Writer. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC and can be contacted at email@example.com or through her website www.margaretjang.com.