Intuitive Education and the 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence

Some people think of intuition as a natural understanding with which certain individuals are simply "gifted" or not. Actually, intuition, or accessing information from the deep consciousness, is a type of perception that can be learned. We all have the capacity for intuitive learning, just as all of us can develop good study habits for learning with our conscious mind.

A key component of the Shamanic Training Program I teach is the  theory of the 6 Patterns of Natural Intelligence created by educational psychologist Dawna Markova. In her book, The Open Mind, Markova reveals a simple principle that encompasses how people learn in both conscious and subconscious ways, and provides an educational theory for teaching intuitive arts. She takes working with intuition out of "woowoo" and shows its relation to conscious learning.

Most people are familiar with the concept that there are three basic modes of perception: auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), and kinesthetic (feeling or movement). These are ways we take in information about what is happening around us.

They are also ways we learn: some people learn by hearing, others by seeing, and still other by doing. For example, when you are going to learn something new, do you prefer to hear an explanation of it? Or, would you rather watch a demonstration? Or, just plunge in and start doing it? If hearing an explanation is your best way of learning, you are an auditory learner. If you'd rather see charts and pictures, or read text to understand how something is done, you are a visual learner. If you prefer to physically do the action to learn, you are a kinesthetic (physical movement and touch) learner.

Many people already know which type of learner they are. What they don't consider is that are usually aware of their conscious mind's way of learning. The fantastic thing Markova discovered is the relationship of learning with both the conscious and unconscious mind.

Here is what she says. There are three modes of perception: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. There are also three speeds of brainwaves that are associated with learning: beta, alpha, and theta. (There are actually more than three speeds of brainwaves, but just understanding what happens with the three speeds can transform one's life!)

Beta brainwaves are the fastest of the three. When your brain is going at beta speed, it is in what we call conscious mode: paying attention to the world around you, taking action in a conscious way. This is the brainwave speed you want to be in to drive a car or do other activities that require outward focus and precision. Markova calls this consciousness, I call it alertness.

Alpha brainwaves are slower than beta brainwaves. When your brain is going at alpha speed, it is daydreamy. This is the brainwave speed you want to be in to relax and "chill." Markova calls this subconsciousness, I call it relaxation.

Theta brainwaves are the slowest of the three. When your brain is going at theta speed, you are focused inward on your mind's eye, having visions and receiving intuitive information. For example, when you dream when you are asleep, your brain is in theta brainwave rhythm. Markova calls this unconsciousness, I call it intuitive.

But knowing about the brainwaves and their relation to levels of consciousness is not news, either. The startling thing that Dawna Markova discovered is that the three modes of perception trigger different brainwave patterns in different people. For example, for one person, visual stimuli triggers their beta brainwaves (conscious, alert) while sound triggers their alpha brainwaves (subconscious, relaxation) and touch or movement triggers their theta brainwaves (unconscious, intuitive).

Another person will have a completely different pattern: touch or movement makes her more alert (triggers her beta brainwave), while seeing pictures or colors makes her relax (triggers her alpha brainwaves), and hearing sounds makes her go into a trance-like state (triggers her theta brainwaves) in which she accesses intuitive information.

There are 6 Patterns of the mode of perception that triggers each type of brainwave (state of consciousness):

auditory beta; kinesthetic alpha; visual theta (AKV)
auditory beta; visual alpha; kinesthetic theta (AVK)
kinesthetic beta; visual alpha; auditory theta (KVA)
kinesthetic beta; auditory alpha; visual theta (KAV)
visual beta; auditory alpha; kinesthetic theta (VAK)
visual beta; kinesthetic alpha; auditory theta (VKA)

By understanding which pattern you follow, you will know not only how you learn consciously, but also how you learn (or perceive) intuitively!

You will notice that the preferred mode of conscious learning will always be different than the preferred or natural mode of intuitive learning. For example, if you learn best in your alert state (beta) by listening to someone talk, you can bet that your intuitive mind (theta) will communicate to you visually through pictures, or kinesthetically through "gut feelings."

Understanding which perceptual mode triggers your alpha state (relaxation) is also important, because the alpha state is the bridge between the unconscious, intuitive information and the conscious mind. Use your alpha mode of perception to bring up ideas from the intuitive state into consciousness.

For example, if you are an AKV pattern (such as I am) you will receive intuitive information by closing your eyes and sitting still to see pictures or images in your mind's eye. It may be difficult to articulate these visions by putting them into words (auditory), but by using your alpha mode of perception (which would be moving your body, such as making gestures with your hands) you will be able to articulate what you saw in the vision.

I invite you to read Dawna Markova's book, The Open Mind, to see all the implications that this work has!


Joan Forest Mage has been practicing shamanic healing since 1995, and teaches a year-long Shamanic Training Program. She is the founder and director of Life Force Arts Center.