How To Tell If That Gut Feeling Is Your Intuition Or Your Ego

Photo: Benevolente82 / Shutterstock
 intuition vs. ego

We've all felt it — that rock inside your stomach that feels like it's the heaviest thing in the world.

That feeling you get when you know something is up or wrong. That feeling that keeps you from getting into trouble or making the worst decisions of your life.

But what is that gut feeling? And where does it come from? 

Thanks to a viral TikTok, we may have the answer.

RELATED: Why You Should Never Underestimate Your Gut Feelings

A TikTok by user Jon Copeland has many people second-guessing if our gut is our intuition or our ego.

What's the difference between ego and intuition?

According to Copeland, "Intuition will tell you what to do, but will not give you a reason. The ego will give you the direction to go and it'll give you a million reasons why."

He goes on to explain how, through the teachings of a popular American spiritual teacher Adyashanti, he found that your intuition will never, ever give you a reason to do or not do something, while your ego will go from point to point on why.



The most common way to discern within yourself what is intuition and what is coming from your ego is if you are drawn to a certain decision, action, or item, and you have no idea why that is your intuition speaking to you. 

The TikTok has gained numerous comments, with users' minds blown about the concept. One user stated, "Because the ego needs validation, intuition does not. I'm having a lightbulb moment over here."

Another TikToker inspired a discussion on the thread, with a user writing, "currently rethinking all past life choices... I’m definitely using this from now on," to which Copeland responded, "It was very eye-opening to me. Your ego will give you a million reasons not to do something. But your intuition will just nudge you in a direction."

RELATED: What It Really Means To Trust Your Intuition (And Why You Should Do It)

What do the teachings say?

Adyashanti is an American spiritual teacher and author from the San Francisco Bay Area who offers talks, online study courses, and retreats in the United States and abroad, all to help people connect with their inner selves and explore their minds and spirit.

In Adyashanti's teachings, he explains how there are different reasons why we, as a collective, are drawn to look within ourselves — and one of those reasons is our ego.

Now, the ego isn't what we would think it means. When you hear the word ego, you think of self-centered, conceited, and being absorbed with one's self. It's why we have the adjective egotistical.

But what Adyashanti means by ego is a tiny part within our minds that deals with the Self.

The ego, he says, is usually in pain and is suffering, so it is looking for a way out. This can cause people to turn within themselves in a deeper way.

That deep reflection allows for self-consciousness, which is the feeling or experience of self-awareness. This arises from the difficulties and challenges of life, because the ego is trying to find a way for its experience to be better. And trying to make its life better is completely rational for the ego to do. 

Another call is intensely bigger than the ego, which is the spiritual impulse or instinct. Many of us would connect this to our intuition. Our intuition will use our ego to accomplish the ends, according to Adyashanti.

"Intuition imposes itself on the ego. This instinct isn't within your control," Adyashanti says.

Therefore, the ego cannot create anything, but is instead used to receive intuition.

These teachings are, of course, interpreted by many, including Copeland, who breaks them down.

Intuition is so big and powerful within us that it doesn't need to give you a reason to do something, while the ego (an incredibly tiny part of the psyche) does.

RELATED: How Your Ego Can Be Helpful In Living Your Best Life

Deauna Nunes is an associate editor who covers pop culture, lifestyle, zodiac, love and relationship topics for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.