About a year ago, I was driving through the streets about a block from my home.
I was listening to music, and there was a part of my mind that was already walking into my little house when I had a sudden strong urge to stop driving.
Without questioning the impulse, I stopped my car right before an intersection seconds before two little girls carrying backpacks ran out from behind a row of shrubs, darting across the street in front of my car, toward a school bus that I had not initially noticed.
My body and mind felt a rush of emotions in that moment as adrenaline was suddenly flooding my system.
I felt fear over what could have just resulted in a tragic situation, but I also felt a deep sense of gratitude for both that urge I felt to stop my car, and for having listened, without questioning in that moment, or it could have come too late.
This urge was my intuition.
I am not special, we all have a sense of intuition with which we can form a relationship if we so choose—but just like any relationship, this can take some time and some intentionality.
This relationship begins first with a curiosity then moves into the “getting to know” stage.
Like any partnership, listening is key.
But before we can listen we have to be able to recognize the voice, and this voice may sound slightly different for each of us.
For me, it is important that I find a way around the chaos that is sometimes my mind.
If our intellectual mind is processing too much, it will be difficult to hone in on our intuitive senses. You may find that this gets much easier though over time as it has for me.
I often describe to people that the best way I can explain what this feels like for me is to picture yourself in a room with your back against a corner.
Imagine a group of people standing in front of you who are all making noise. Perhaps one of them is singing “Happy Birthday,” another reciting the Gettysburg Address, and the rest are talking about drama in their lives or recent current events. About 15 feet behind this group of people though is another person—we’ll call this person your intuition, and this person is whispering.
You cannot immediately hear what this person is saying, but if you allow your mind to hear around the noise of the group, you can likely make out a gentle whisper, or maybe even read their lips in order to receive the message.
Though your intuition will guide you on myriad different decisions and situations, I have found that it almost always feels the same way.
Just like when someone calls you on the phone, you can recognize their specific voice, with practice and attunement we can differentiate the specific “voice” of our intuition in a similar manner.
Practicing to tune in to your intuition is important for reasons of recognition, but also for the purpose of being able to discern it from your other emotions. Intuition can sometimes easily be confused with fear, anxiety, and even excitement, so learning to discern between these can be extremely helpful.
For example, if I have made a commitment and am finding that I do not want to follow through—if I really dig deep I can typically determine why I am not wanting to do what I had previously committed to.
Sometimes it is out of fear, which has been engrained into my mind, other times anxiety over the unknown, but then there are occasions where I can recognize that feeling or voice as intuition telling me, “Don’t do this.”
It also needs to be mentioned that we seek to be mindful and aware.
We don’t want to be copping out of things that we are afraid of and justifying it by lying to ourselves by making ourselves believe that we are having intuitive senses about things when it is really just our emotions that are possibly acting up for no other reason than previous life conditioning.
If I am experiencing a lot of inner resistance around going to make a presentation in front of a really large group, is this resistance a result of intuition—is my message wrong? Is the timing not right? Or am I just experiencing some anxiety for reasons that are normal for most people pertaining to a situation such as this?
On the flip side, intuition can also tell us to do certain things—as with my example of stopping my vehicle that day. I can have a feeling that something is right for me—whether it be food that I order at a restaurant, a relationship, or career opportunities.
When we have the intuitive sense that things are right for us though, we also need to discern regarding timing.
Just because we know something is right, does not always mean that something is right for us right now.
Our lives are like music in that we can have an intuitive sense of the specific notes that we need to play, but if we were to play them all at once the sound that would be made would likely be anything but sweet. If we are mindful of our rhythm and intuitively feel our way through our song, something beautiful will unfold.
So we learn to discern that subtle voice, or feeling, of intuition, but while we are doing this we have grace with ourselves and accept that it takes time and practice.
Trying too hard will only impede our efforts and if we strike the wrong chord or play a note too soon, that is okay.
Just like any relationship, we listen in order to connect, and we have grace and understanding for ourselves along the way.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Renee Jahnke