The Four ways of Knowing and intuition


Excerpt from Animals of the Four Windows by ES Gallegos, Chapter 1, pages 1-2


The Four Modes of Knowing

We are so used to viewing knowing from within the abstractions of thought that we are initially struck with wonder when we recognize that there are actually only four modes of knowing. The surprise comes first from recognizing that there are only four, secondly from realizing that we have been highly confined in primarily thinking about knowing rather than seriously exploring it, and third from finally encountering the vastness and ultimate wholeness of knowing. The four modes of knowing are: thinking,sensing, feeling, and imagery. Yes, I know. If you are a Jungian, the fourth one will seem strange to you. Jung. in speaking of the four functions of consciousness spoke of the fourth one as intuition. But there is good reason to rename it.

Jung was in a peculiar position in that he was highly intuitive, and his imagery was very powerful. Furthermore, his intuition, i.e., knowing things beyond the present moment and circumstance and for which there is no immediate evidence, came to him through his imagery. So, it is not surprising that he didn’t differentiate the two. It is clear that his life’s purpose was to help Western humankind return to the window of imagery as a valid mode of knowing.

But there are other people, also highly intuitive, for whom intuition arrives through one of the other windows. My own intuitive window is that of feeling. One of the beautiful things that happened during my two year residency in psychotherapy was that I would have certain feelings about my clients when we first met, I would know certain things about them without there being any word or evidence whatso-ever about the issue, and then this knowing would be validated, sometimes months later during the course of our meetings. There is probably not a better setting in which one’s intuition can be consistently validated over time.

I also have a good friend for whom thinking is the intuitive window. Intuitive thoughts come readily to her about the clients she works with. And I have another friend whose intuition comes through the window of sensing. He loves the outdoors and is totally at home in the wilderness. It is true that for many people intuition does come through the window of imagery, but this may be due more to the fact that we have culturally disallowed intuition while at the same time disallowing imagery. After all, there is no course in the curriculum called ”Intuition 101″. We do have many other courses which involve schooling in a particularly specialized way of thinking – “Mathematics 101”, for example – which specifically exclude intuition as a valid dimension.