Improve Intuitive Discernment with Sensitivity and Specificity
At this evolutionary time featuring ever-increasing challenges, we can best survive and thrive through improving intuitive discernment.
One of the key fundamental organizing concepts learned by Medical school students is balancing sensitivity versus specificity. Sensitivity represents the likelihood that a test can and will detect what is looking to find, while specificity represents the likelihood that “false positives” will not occur while seeking to detect something. There is a trade-off between sensitivity and specificity, with best results occurring when setting acceptable threshold levels to ensure optimal results.
The topic of sensitivity versus specificity recently came to my attention in the article, Spiritual Considerations in Medical Ethics by A Midwestern Doctor from The Forgotten Side of Medicine.
Within medicine, many medical decisions are made based on sensitivity and specificity (although they are rarely described by this terminology). For example, the reason why a doctor checks your cholesterol and your blood pressure is because if either of those is too high, it may increase your risk of dying over time. However, the risk dramatically varies as different human beings have different ideal cholesterol and blood pressure levels. For example in older adults, their arteries tend to calcify and thus require more pressure to move blood through their system. For these patients, higher blood pressure is thus a necessary physiologic compensation of the body, and commonly when their blood pressure is lowered with medications to bring it into the “ideal range,“ the reduced blood flow to the brain will cause those patients to pass out and seriously injure themselves (this is a very common pharmaceutical injury in the elderly).
A Midwestern Doctor continues to explore how and where to choose whether to maximize sensitivity–or specificity.
In modern medicine, there has been a consistent bias to continually lower the cut-off points for sensitivity and specificity, and over the years using blood pressure as an example, the acceptable threshold has been repeatedly lowered. As a result, many individuals who are told they absolutely must take blood pressure medicines or have an immediate risk of dying, fifty years ago would not have even been considered candidates for blood pressure medications.
As you might have guessed, this bias is a result of pharmaceutical corruption within medicine, because as thresholds are lowered, this makes more individuals eligible for drugs and thereby causes more and more to be sold. One of the best examples is statins being recommended for everyone to lower healthy cholesterol levels on the basis of non-existent evidence voted through by committees composed of scientists taking money from statin companies. The continually increasing sensitivity for requiring “preventive” medicines leads to the curious tradition we have now where the majority of the population is on multiple medications, many of which do not benefit the patients and in combination significantly increase the likelihood of death or disability for the patient.
I’ve been aware of the value of sensitivity and specificity to science, where sensitivity contributes to brilliant field observations by Biologists capable of documenting events that could not have been witnessed without the presence of someone willing to transcend pre-existing assumptions and beliefs. Some of the world’s best naturalists, such as America’s John Muir, wrote:
“Most people are on the world, not in it — have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them — undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.”
Mankind has become master of specificity, sometimes to such a degree that we lose touch with our inner spiritual core and sense of meaning, purpose, and connection to others. In our quest for certainty, we have risked losing our ability to trust our own hearts, minds, souls, and spirits.
For those of us who have been in need of support from others when in incredibly complex, unique, complicated situations, we hopefully had the benefit of witnessing the kindness, compassion, and discernment of those capable of perceiving our specific needs–through the broader lens of sensitivity.
Two Step Process
We can hone our intuitive discernment by alternating between optimal Sensitivity and Specificity. Sensitivity provides us with the ability to sense things we didn’t even know we were looking for, and we can develop this deep listening capability by regularly practicing mind-clearing meditation exercises. Mind clearing practice can just take a few minutes, during which time any thoughts or feelings that arrive are immediately cleared away. This kind of mental clearing practice can take the form of imagining a clear blue sky with no intrusive thoughts–or clouds. The moment thoughts–or clouds–arrive, one simply clears the sky back to blue sky again.
One of my favorite Specificity training exercises is simply a matter of asking High Self / Divine Guidance, “What message do you have for me right now?” or “What can I best be doing right now?” The goal of this exercise is to receive very specific information that is timely, useful, and inspirational. It may be primarily practical, and that can be excellent! Such information might feel like you are receiving a kind of download, which is also just fine. You can trust that you have what you need, and that you will continue to have what you need each step of the way.
Putting these two steps together of Sensitivity followed by Specificity can feel a lot like taking one step, and then another. By going back and forth between the two, tremendously improved intuitive discernment is possible that is fully capable of addressing whatever situations arise.
And of course I also recommend asking at every opportunity, “How good can it get?”
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A Midwestern Doctor. Spiritual Considerations in Medical Ethics. 30 Jun 2022. https://amidwesterndoctor.substack.com/p/spiritual-considerations-in-medical
Muir, John. John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1979.
You can watch the companion video to this blog here:
Cynthia Sue Larson is the best-selling author of six books, including Quantum Jumps. Cynthia has a degree in physics from UC Berkeley, an MBA degree, a Doctor of Divinity, and a second degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won. Cynthia is the founder of RealityShifters, and first President of the International Mandela Effect Conference. Cynthia hosts “Living the Quantum Dream” on the DreamVisions7 radio network, and has been featured in numerous shows including Gaia, the History Channel, Coast to Coast AM, One World with Deepak Chopra, and BBC. Cynthia reminds us to ask in every situation, “How good can it get?” Subscribe to her free monthly ezine at: