Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Developing Intuition

Intuition is my favourite topic. So I was very pleased to read a fascinating article The Truth about Intuition in the latest Whole Living magazine. Author Dana White quotes psychologist David G. Myers, author of Intuition: Its power and Perils, in talking about the ancient biological wisdom that intuition is based on.  Apparently, early human beings needed to quickly assess if a stranger was friend or enemy. Almost like animal instinct, this wisdom grew in us. As our brain evolved, the prefrontal cortex, which is the seat of conscious thought, grew too. But sometimes, when it short-circuits due to stress, the brain switches back to primal mode, bypassing the conscious mind and operating on an instinctive, unconscious level.  We make a snap decision in a second, throw that spear, and it gets the mastadon between the eyes.

Sometimes intuition comes as a nudge from within, even a physical sensation, a 'gut feel' or a skin tingling creepy feeling of danger. Some people seem better than others at letting their subconscious mind guide them, by honing their instincts. The author mentions people who detect roadside bombs as being good at this.

People can be trained to awaken their intuitive abilities, and it doesn't have to be necessarily linked to anything spooky or psychic powers.  I think of it as friendly guidance, and the more I listen to it and act on its advice, the stronger the relationship between me and my inner voice grows.

In my experience, journal writing has been a very important tool in awakening intuition or inner guidance (IGS, inner guidance system, I like to call it).  It's like a higher satellite  intelligence that sees all and knows all and I have a direct connection to it within.  Meditation helps me settle and be still enough to hear it.  Yoga also brings me into body awareness and subtle thought, underneath the mind's busy chatter.  Whatever helps bring you into a receptive space, walking in wild nature, watching the sky and clouds, or contemplating the silence in a temple, allows the inner voice to speak up.

Perhaps it takes a little bit of faith in the beginning. But with practice, you can begin to notice when your intuition guides you in the right direction, and the times you didn't listen when you should have. For things as simple as whether to bring an umbrella or a pair of sunglasses, or whether to take a detour or stay on the straight and narrow, and for larger questions as to which direction to take on the path of life, your inner guidance is trustworthy.

Writing in your journal,  open up a dialogue with your IGS, or inner voice. Address it, write to it, ask the questions that are bugging you. Let it inform your daily life.  Develop this relationship with your own inner knowing. It will help you relax, and learn to trust the larger picture. It will reassure you that wherever you are, there is something to be learned. You are ok, everything is all right. Or if things are not alright, it will help you bust on out of there in a hurry.

Give yourself a few minutes of quiet time today, maybe over lunch, and just see what pops up.


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