Intuition is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence.” I’ve also heard it described as a knowing that skips conscious reasoning. In a society that places so much value and merit on the workings of the human mind, our intuitions go unnoticed. Rumi is quoted as saying “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” I think of how fast-paced and noisy our lifestyles are today – full of stimulation, full of busy-ness. It’s no wonder we forget how to listen to our intuition, to our inner knowing.
When we are living on auto-pilot, whether in a semi-coma of tolerance and plodding along or in the fast lane of having more, doing more, keeping up, we lose touch with that inner knowing. We start to look outside of ourselves for answers and we don’t trust ourselves to know what we need.
When I am out of balance in this way, I begin to make decisions from a fear-based perspective. I ask myself, “What if I’m wrong? What if I fail? What if I look stupid?” From that place, I certainly can’t connect to any sense of inner wisdom. It’s like trying to float while holding your breath and tensing up all your muscles. It won’t work.
By choosing to live in touch with my intuition, I am forced to slow down, to connect with myself, to be present to the moment. Like Intention and Inspiration, it connects me back to my center – that place from which I want to live – in alignment with my core values and in relationship with myself.
So, how do you cultivate your ability to recognize your intuition? Here are some tips:
Engage in a mindfulness practice. Whether it’s sitting meditation, tai chi, yoga, labyrinth walking, mandala coloring books, any practice that allows you to quiet your mind and connect to a deeper sense of awareness will help build those listening muscles.
Figure out how your intuition shows up. Do you access your intuition from a particular place in your body? Some people notice intuition as a sensation in the gut or feel the hair on the back of the neck rise. Some people hear words, other people see images; there is no right way to access your intuition.
Be patient. It does have an elusive quality, so grasping at it is often fruitless. Like holding out a hand for a butterfly to land, it requires stillness, patience and practice. And the more you practice, the more readily you will have access to your intuition.
Trust yourself. You know yourself better than anyone. This is your journey.