Before we can even begin to delve into this idea of "what is intuition?" we must first identify "what exactly is ego?". For, how can we learn to guide ourselves from a state of total awareness (ie. our Higher Mind) without working through our lower mind, first (ie. our Thinking Mind)?
So, what exactly is ego?
Ego is commonly understood as our own individual sense of "Me, My, I". However, have you ever stopped to think: where exactly do these identification states stem from?
When you wake up in the morning, how do you know that it is your bed that you are sleeping in? How do you know that it is your apartment that you are living in? How do you know that it is your clothes that you have on? Memory. More specifically, your ability to remember. It is your past recollections allowing you to identify accordingly with the tools that you have at your disposal in that moment.
Now, take your life. How do you manifest the ideal job for yourself? How do you strategize what you should do that day? How do you move onto what you should do next after having read this article? Memory. More specifically, your ability to predict. It is your past recollections allowing you to direct accordingly with the memories that you have gained up to that moment.
That is ego. The ability to jump back and forth through time while peering through the Mind’s Eye. We're always doing it — this is my car. I should do this today. There's likely to be traffic at that time. How can we be certain of each of these things? Time. Thus, the ego can be distilled into nothing more than our ability to move through the fourth dimension: time. So, then, what is the real problem with ego? As the Buddha said, it is our attachments that will lead us astray. "What" exactly are you attaching to? It is not simply the "act" of attaching that causes us to suffer, but the "object" of that attachment.
If you woke up this morning and remembered something you did not like from the day before, you can either (1) be pulled down by it (attaching to the negative outcome and how it made you feel), or (2) learn from it (attaching to the negative outcome and moving past it, remembering 'never to do that again'). It is not the ego, but the attachment, that causes us to suffer.
If this is ego, then what resides in the space between time — completely free from the chains of both past and future; fully here, in the present moment; immemorial, timeless? Awareness. In the present moment, there is no past or future, only the ability to become aware. When we reside in awareness, we can then begin to be guided through intuition, rather than impulse. To see objectively and hear what is truly being said; echoing beyond the strings of past and future; the instinctual pull towards what you know, not what you think. That is the seat of the Higher Mind; the innate ability to become mindful — to be cognizant.
Have you ever felt something that you just knew you should do? Do you remember following your gut-instinct towards something you were unsure about, but later realized that it was the best decision for you? Have you ever manifested a reality for yourself that, only when looking back with 20-20 hindsight, are you able to connect the dots and know exactly how you got there; yet, somehow you knew all along?
The mystics have a saying that goes, before we are born, we all know what it is that we must do. We have a mission in life. However, the birthing process can be so traumatic that we forget. And so, we spend the remainder of our lives trying to remember that which we must not forget — our life's mission, our reason for being.
If awareness is beyond all time, and life is like a movie being played through the lens of both past and future, then perhaps awareness is the sentient-you watching over the movie screen; knowing exactly how the movie will end, and frantically screaming back at the characterized-you, trying to set you back on course.
We can all hear it, the whisper of what we know we should do and how to get there. For some, it is a calling to help the sick; for others, it is a calling to build great ideas; for others still, it is a calling to create. Whatever your gift, we eventually come face to face in life with the choice of either following that call (and thereby manifesting who we were meant to become) or not (falling at the wayside and giving up on the meaning of our life).
Perhaps this is samsara, perhaps this is reincarnation, perhaps this is the relentless recycle back into suffering. Whatever you choose to identify with, the answer is resoundingly clear:
Follow your heart; follow your calling; and always, always — let intuition be your guide.