Wouldn’t it be nice to have the inside track to get the most out of life and avoid pitfalls? You Can! And all for the low, low price of focused attention to details and trust in yourself. Sound too easy, it is – developing a strong intuition takes work, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Becoming aware of the subtle clues surrounding us at any given moment is overwhelming. Various cultures from around the globe have mastered many types of knowing by concentrated use of observation including animal behavior, natural phenomenon, body clues, and psychology among a myriad of other techniques. It’s amazing to me how checked out I can be of the world around me only noticing the obvious facts in retrospect. A simple example of this is when my daughter asked if we could count fire hydrants driving home one day and I thought well that’ll be a short list! When in fact, in 2 miles, we counted over 20. I had never seen these before and I understood the system of their placement and learned quickly where to look for them in other neighborhoods in the following weeks. I have to ask myself, how much information do I miss on any given day that could be of assistance if I were just paying attention? On the other hand, the amount of daily stimuli is staggering and it begins before we finish our first cup of coffee. Turn on any electronic device – media and advertising shoots there messages like a blackened sky of arrows during a Spartan War; our only escape from overload is to block it out, de-sensitize, and compartmentalize. Like a good camera lens, how to we find and use the best filter to optimize our life experience with peace and happiness. Call it a hunch, but my instincts kicked in and the word Intuition popped into my head.
The idea of an inner voice directing my life fascinates me. A religious teacher once told me to listen to the still, small voice inside me for direction. I sat still and quiet awaiting the gentle, peaceful persuasion to guide me, however, over time I discovered there was often more than one voice in my head with the same description. Is one a charlatan? Is the one giving me a subtle warning looking out for my best interests or is it False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.)? How can I hone my skills? I decided to make peace with all the voices instead of arguing and fighting with them over which one was correct and use another checkpoint to clarify my decision making process. Bringing gratitude to the things I already had, helped me distinguish the voice of direction to find more of the things that made me happy. Instead of looking for what was wrong and how to fix it, I began to look at what was right and how to get more.
Another cool tool to use to clarify intuition is body awareness. Gut feeling? Again, I trouble with this because, I felt “butterflies”, nausea, tightness, but I was not sure what exactly this was all intended to tell me. I knew very well that even a good decision could bring on a large amount of anxiety, or it could also mean I was just plain scared, or could it mean wrong way? Still, I began to practice body scans throughout the day and found I held tension in various parts of my body when it came to choices including tension in my jaw, neck and shoulders, lower back, or in my solar plexus. It’s certainly not a truth serum, but I became aware of stress I felt in my body and made notes as to what was stressed and when. I treated it like a scientist making annotations in a log book while looking for patterns. Bodies speak in a multitude of ways like cravings, illness, or exhaustion; the trick is to find out the root reason why. I did this by scientific method.
Still not sure if your hunch is on target? Ask. This too, is not a 100% strategy, but it adds to the mix of tools in your toolbox. Who do you ask? Like the methods suggested above, it is a personal, intimate choice, but I have seen it be effective in just about every instance. People ask their best self, God, Allah, angels, helpers, spirit, the universe. It can be asked in mediation, prayer, or out loud on the fly; whatever resonates with your personality is where to direct the question. My personal favorite is to journal my questions. I have received immediate answers, but usually I get an answer within a day or two. Be patient if it takes longer and trust the best answer will come with certainty. Another suggestion is to ask your inner guide 1st before getting advice from others as this can compound your confusion…and fast! Remember this is about cultivating trust in one’s own instincts. I believe I am on the right track when I feel an increased level of peace and enthusiasm. This is a step by step process, so try not to jump ahead too far as things can change rapidly. For example, I had been journaling for months about how to get more time to pursue my craft. I was afraid if I made big changes, it would hurt our family financially which I could not afford to do, but when I braved the confrontation, new solutions presented themselves and I went in a new, more satisfying direction.
Start always with the relationship to yourself. You must love yourself where you are, not where you think you should be. Love your successes and your failures for they are what make you, you and you are awesome. If you have no faith in yourself, it is going to be difficult to nurture your intuition with a constant barrage of doubt. When I discover unpleasant thoughts, ideas and beliefs about myself, I begin with gratitude for the revelation. I love the admission because it is me, even if the depiction is mean, rotten, and sabotaging because those feelings and actions were there for a protective reason at one time. Now I can thank them for their service and set them free. In other words, let it go! Forgive yourself and move on as soon as possible.
Developing your intuition takes determination, perseverance, and strangely enough, stillness to concentrate on your voice, your body and your heart. Enjoy the journey of discovery into your incredible, loving self. Hindsight is a great teacher and I take advantage of it often to better see where I took a wrong turn and avoid the same mistake in the future. Everyone is born with instincts, not just a select few, but those who develop this skill find navigating the maze of life just a little bit easier. Following a well-defined hunch brings a tremendous amount of self-confidence to you which aids in furthering developing your intuition. Have fun with it; laugh at your mistakes, celebrate your victories because nothing is ever lost.