The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.Albert Einstein
When faced with indecision, I often play a trick on myself. I reduce my dilemma to two choices and flip a coin. I let the coin decide. As soon as the coin lands, heads or tails and the decision has been made, I check my feelings, my thoughts and most importantly sensations in my body. This assessment tells me in an instant whether the coin has made the choice that I secretly wanted. In a split second of the coin landing, I know that there really was no indecision on my part. I just needed to listen to my intuition.
But what is intuition? Often referred to as instinct or our sixth sense, intuition is derived from the latin meaning to contemplate or look within. It’s communication from our unconscious and so it can be harder for us to connect with than bits of information which come to us consciously. Sophy Burnham, author of The Art of Intuition, describes it as ” different from thinking, it’s different from logic or analysis … It’s a knowing without knowing.”
In recent years intuition has come far more into the mainstream and is now seen, thankfully as a wholly legitimate way to make judgments and decisions. Steve Jobs called intutition “more powerful than intellect.” It’s associated with the right side of the brain which is responsible for creativity, imagination and emotions. Research has shown intuition can be derived from past experiences and cumulative knowledge, but it arises in such a natural way that it can feel pretty magical and otherworldly. I personally like to see intuition as something soul related. For me it’s part of our inner compass which helps guide us towards our true calling; our soul’s purpose. Just as clever Mr Einstein explains, it is a gift which we ignore at our peril.
Our key challenge is how to listen and trust our intuition. We all have it, the choice is whether we acknowledge it or not. It can at times seem pretty scary to trust something that can’t easily be explained or justified.
A massive part of where we need to start when it comes to attuning to our intuition is with our body. The clue is when we say ‘my gut was telling me…’. Our bodies are amazing in lots of weird and wonderful ways, and one of them is that they will tell us when something feels good or not. Sometimes it can be an obvious sensation such as getting goose bumps, feeling a flutter in our tummy or sensing a shiver down our spine. But then at other times it can be far more subtle and we detect it as a ‘knowing’. I notice sometimes in session, I’ll check in with a client as they talk about a certain topic to see what they are feeling or sensing as often the process of talking and sharing with another will help encourage their intuition to the surface. Once we start listening, and acting on our intuition, it will communicate with us more easily, a bit like exercising a muscle, it gets stronger with every use.
Activities which can help us connect with our intuition include:
- Dreamwork- both our dreams and intuition are unconscious communication, so looking at our dreams, however strange, can put us in touch with our sixth sense also.
- Finding times for quiet and/or meditation can also help us connect within and shut out the chatter from outside. It can be hard to listen to our inner voice if all is noise and bustle around us.
- Creative pursuits are not only food for the soul but also helps boost our intuition, as if we need another excuse to pick up our paintbrush or journal.
- Intuition best works under less pressure, so whenever possible lots of time should be allowed. If I could rewind a few decisions I made in a panic when I should have slept on it, I would have avoided a fair amount of heartache.
I sense in these heightened times, listening to our intuition is more important than ever. Carl Jung once beautifully wrote “Intuition gives outlook and insight; it revels in the garden of magical possibilities”. To cut ourselves off from this magical garden would seem pretty tragic, so let’s start connecting to our gut feelings and see what wondrous possibilities unfold. Happy listening all.
Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash