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Years ago, my friends and I used to laugh about our children running circles around us.
We’d do our best to navigate those experiences that tested us with a sense of confidence and capability.
“Wouldn’t it be great if they came with an instruction manual?” we would muse, while skillfully disguising our internal hysteria.
I ponder on this now that my kids are older and I’ve had a few more years on the block. And I now believe that every one of us does have something like an instruction manual, or a compass, or an internal guidance system—call it what you will.
It’s there, should we choose to acknowledge it and listen to it. It’s what’s commonly called our intuition, or our “gut.”
So, what is intuition?
Well, according to Wikipedia, it is “the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired.”
Our “gut instinct” is the quiet, internal voice (maybe presenting as a visual image or a strong physical sensation) that gives us strong messages about our situation, feelings, decisions, and life choices. It’s us as human beings, but at a deeper, innate, soul level. It’s also the greatest, most significant and reliable compass we’ll ever get—our very own bespoke instruction manual
So why do we so often overlook our intuition and negate its existence? And even if we do accept its presence, why aren’t we encouraged to listen, well, more?
Who we are and how we each find solutions seems to come more readily from our head (thoughts), our heart (emotions), or worse, from all the external environmental things we attach ourselves to: people, situations, appearances, our roles, experiences, financial status, and material belongings.
What happens when, instead, we look inward? When we strip it all back and choose to listen to our gut instinct?
Well, if my own experience is anything to go by, we start a whole new relationship dynamic—with ourselves. It can be a painful transition (some will call this as an awakening), but it’s also the most authentic and necessary journey we can go on. It’s getting raw and getting real. And it’s also taking responsibility for ourselves. And I mean, full responsibility.
What kind of things am I talking about here?
For example, let’s say we’re deciding on whether to get a new job.
Head says, “Hey, this is a good, practical move. More money. Step up the ladder. You should go for this.”
Heart says, “Oh boy, I’m nervous. Worried I might get bored. I feel anxious, unsettled, and depressed.”
Intuition says, “You know this isn’t what you really want to do because you have always wanted to [enter appropriate job here].”
How many of us will proceed based on the often noisier, more dominant thoughts coming from the mind? This will usually appear to be the safer option.
It’s my belief that our intuition will keep that subtle message coming until we simply must listen. And as that message is repeated, the stronger and more insistent it becomes—even over an extended time period. I’ve witnessed some people ignore these messages for years.
That said, the cost of ignoring our intuition usually catches up with us in the end.
The good thing, however, is that usually, this experience brings with it a lesson, and is therefore part of our personal “stretching,” growth, and progress toward emotional maturity—essentially, an expanded awareness of self.
So how do we tune into our intuition? Here are a few suggestions:
Meditation and yoga:
Silence the “monkey mind” chatter. Without distractions, our intuition is allowed the space to exist, to communicate, and to be heard. A fleeting, but more deeply rooted thought can often surprise us with its strength and clarity. This is your intuitive voice, your compass of thought at the soul level. It will feel different from a normal thought and will appear as unique and individual as you are. Either way, you’ll be left with little doubt as to its sincerity.
Returning to our natural environment encourages a better connection with ourselves at the soul level and creates an opportunity for a more peaceful, receptive state. Again, allow the opportunity to tune in to ourselves at the core. This can be as simple as sitting in your garden or local park.
We sadly often lose our creativity as we leave the wonderment and curiosity of childhood—in fact, we’re actively encouraged to suppress it. Creativity exists naturally within every one of us. Through acting, dancing, drawing, painting, writing—literally creating something (and I mean anything!)—we tap into a more natural energy, our ability to express and flow. This impacts our communication with the self, both energetically and intuitively.
Laugh, lighten your mood and thoughts:
Consider your environment and the people within it. Laughter lights up your soul, quiets the mind, and is a natural and joyous response to happiness. It’s a moment of spontaneous expression.
Working from a place of gratitude, communicating from the heart rather than the mind, you will quiet the surface level talk and provide the opportunity for better “flow” or the ability to connect deeper down, intuitively.
This is similar to meditation and yoga, only in broader sense. Constant stress, distractions, and our busy, chaotic days only serve to dumb down our self-awareness and intuition.
Write, write, write! Many of us will have kept diaries in our teenage years, feeling the need to express our thoughts and feelings during a time that is known for personal transition. So, why do we stop? I believe we think this is something we outgrow the need for, but writing can serve as a form of expression all the way through our lives. After all, we transition consistently from the moment of birth to our death.
While dreaming, we have no choice but to allow our thoughts to wander without control—we simply let them flow. Meditation is good for this as well, but dreaming (and even daydreaming) are similar changes of state that allow intuition the room for expression and acknowledgement. Waking with a memory of our dream is often a message from our intuition. Simply reflect on what this message could be, and if it resonates strongly, it’s likely to be coming from your intuition!
Develop awareness of the relationship between thought and truth:
Our thoughts are not always factually correct—we should learn to question their legitimacy, be able to differentiate appropriately, and even define the real reason for the origin of the thought.
Repeated and unexpected “niggling” thoughts can hold important, intuitive messages. In time, we become aware that our intuitive thoughts feel different to us than regular thoughts.
Develop a new relationship with yourself, including your self-perception and self-trust:
The more we use our intuition, the more we learn that it has our best interests at heart and we can rely on it.
Finally, notice your response emotionally, in conjunction with your intuition. These are, of course, interconnected. Your mind (thoughts) may guide you one way, but if you’re feeling anxious or upset emotionally and your intuition is saying, “Hey, listen to me—your thoughts may not be true,” then stop! Listen, reflect, re-address the balance and your understanding, and realign.
If you aren’t listening to or in tune with your intuition, I can’t encourage these suggestions enough. Our lives can be transformed as we master the art of listening, creating balance, and being true to ourselves.
Trusting our intuition leads to making our best decisions throughout our lives.
“Our intuition eavesdrops on the mind of the universe, giving us access to the infinite source of possibilities.” ~ Deepak Chopra