The idea of Direct-Knowing has an important place in my understanding of the world; because I think it is the proper and best kind of 'spiritual experience' for the typical consciousness of a typical modern, Western Man.
Another important principle is that God wishes us to be active in our spiritual lives - to be conscious, to choose our direction.
Because we live these mortal lives in order spiritually to learn (i.e. theosis) - and active learning is the most effective learning; when we meet life half-way, when we discern and interpret the lessons of experience.
Active learning is indeed perhaps the only truly effective, kind of spiritual learning. Passive learning is unconscious, unchosen, and therefore essentially irrelevant to Christian theosis; because Christianity is an opt-in religion, and cannot be imposed.
Real Christianity is not a social practice nor a habit; it must itself actively be chosen (sooner or later).
Putting together direct-knowing with the principle of activity - I suggest that the usual way we experience direct-knowing is when we receive an intuitive affirmation of the validity* of some thought that we are currently thinking.
In other words, we ourselves must first think the thoughts.
We - by our own efforts, or explorations, need to come-up with some kind of conceptual or factual knowledge - and this is 'directly' affirmed: it is endowed with a sense of valid insight.
Direct-thinking is therefore not an emotion that accompanies a thought - it is a cognitive quality of validity...
A recognition of such validity may be followed by an emotion, probably will; and this might be joy or excitement, or alternatively the emotions could also be shock or dread. But the apprehension of knowledge is separate from our emotional response to it.
Also; direct-knowing does not typically mean that we experience an 'alien' thought 'appearing' in the stream of our own thinking.
More often the direct-thinking arises in the context of an ongoing stream of consciousness, which may be very mundane and non-valid - and the particular thought is plucked-out of" this stream. Emphasized. Highlighted.
This is the necessity of spiritual striving; because - by reading, conversation, thinking, having particular experiences etc; we must firstly have the thoughts that become recognized as direct-knowing.
*Validity does not mean necessarily-true (and, anyway, truth can only be conceptualized in a partial way, and the part is only a part of the whole creation). What is happening in direct-thinking is that there is a mind-to-mind contact; at that moment we are thinking the same thoughts as another Being. Most of our relationships is indirect, via communications that must be transmitted, received, interpreted... But with direct-knowing, we have the experience of knowing some-thing of another Being. The value of this knowing depends on the Being - but it is always valuable to know, rather than - as usual - to make indirect assumptions merely.