Your Intuition Is Talking, Are You Listening?May 12th, 2021
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift - Albert Einstein
Have you ever heard the word intuition, and wondered what it is, what it feels like and what kind of people can do it? If you are someone who doubts their own capacity to be intuitive, I’m here to tell you that we are all intuitive.
For a long time now in the west, pretty much since the Enlightenment, reason and logic have been increasingly prized, and we have been propelled full steam into the material, in every sense. Strangely, instead of going hand in hand with the advancement of science our more intuitive, subjective, personal, and spiritual ways of knowing have been left behind. Most of what we are taught in school focuses on the material, objectively verifiable world, and in contrast, the less physically tangible communications in our life, including the instincts of our own bodies, the felt meaning in our inherited folklore, stories and myths, not to mention the rich world of our dreams, have been gradually reduced in importance. Because of this, we have gradually lost confidence in our innate abilities to know things from within. This has affected our sense of ourselves, how we find meaning in our lives, and how we experience awe, inspiration, creativity, beauty, joy, connection and spirituality. By relying solely on reason and logic, we are disconnected from the felt senses that help us find direction and purpose, and the confidence for what we know is right for ourselves.
It’s very easy for the tone of our intuitive voice to get lost in the wider noise of life. There are many demands made on us, which seem to insist on immediate answers. Sure, solid statements, and linear, visible goals. But intuition has a completely different way of moving and behaving which really challenges the ego, it doesn’t always know where it’s going, it can’t provide a linear map, and it doesn’t always have a rational explanation. Its goals are not straightforwardly definable, and it often requires a courageous leap of faith. The intuitive approach feels less clear, less solid, more mysterious, and we must allow for the unseen, the invisible and the unknown, and be prepared to change our focus. We don’t need to disregard our logic and reason, it is vital for our survival, but listening to our intuition opens up a whole set of inner bearings that can be profoundly helpful when we feel tugged around by the opinions, or knowledge, of other people. We all have the ability to make decisions that are good for us, and further than that, sometimes it is only we who know. Without the voice of our intuition, we are cut off from the collective indigenous soul, the same root of knowing that is found in all human beings, across time and space.
The Two Voices
I like to look at intuition as being one of two voices, or modes, that we use in our daily life. Both are essential but both speak in totally different ways and are appropriate for different tasks. We have the voice of our brain, which is there primarily to keep us safe and keep us in what we know. This is great when we need to remember instructions, or to find our way to the shops, or complete certain tasks. And then we have the voice of our intuition, which encourages an opening out, and an expansion in us, leading us to consider the soulful possibility for ourselves and inviting us to dream big. This is the voice we need for any creative or imaginative practice, be it poetry, expressive writing, dance, image-making or indeed any leaps of imagination. Lindsay Mack one of my favourite teachers on intuition, describes these two voices as two radio channels. The channel of the brain is usually on very loud, it is always talking! It speaks in a tone we are very familiar with, and most often involves words like Should or Shouldn’t. It can be a bully when we are tentatively going towards our bravest soul moves. The intuitive voice, in contrast, is a much subtler, quieter, more curious voice. It could be that sick feeling in the stomach when we don’t want to do something, the butterflies when we are excited, the warm feeling in the heart when we are drawn towards something, and the sense of deflating in the upper body when we are disappointed. Initially, it is harder for us to recognise, but with practice, we can become really well acquainted with it.
For the practicalities of life, the brain can be very useful, but for matters of the soul, it is the intuitive voice that we need to learn to listen to.
One interesting problem we encounter when we first start listening to our intuitive voice is that the brain immediately becomes louder in reaction. This loud and often cruel voice starts up the minute we have the tiniest thought of something brave and new or something that we might really yearn for. We all know the type of thing, voices that go “Who do you think you are” “You’ll never be good enough” “You never achieve anything” “Nobody is interested in your novel, artwork, poem …” “You aren’t the sort of person who…. writes a book/wild swims/learns to paint/dances in the garden” The intuitive voice is nearly always countered by voices from the brain, desperate to stop what it feels is happening - a brave leap of faith. There is nothing the brain dislikes more! This reaction from the brain is so predictable, that we can even learn to use the undermining dialogue as a sign that we are onto something powerful for ourselves! What we need to remember when navigating this path is that what the brain tells us is not always true. Its aim is to keep us small and safe, even when small and safe means miserable and unfulfilled. But for our most soulful and joyful growth, we need to turn down the volume of the brain in order to take these tentative steps towards what we long for. This is exactly what characterises the intuitive life.
How To Start Being Intuitive
A good place to start an intuitive practice is in simple everyday things. This is how we can begin to learn how our intuition shows up for us because everybody is different. When you are looking to connect with your intuitive self in the day, there is a small ritual that you can perform that is really important, and that is to Drop-In. This can mean different things to different people and can involve any number of elaborate rituals, but it needn’t be anything more than a conscious turning inwards. It is a change of awareness, allowing the periphery to soften and quieten, and dropping down into the core of the body in order to really listen. So, when an intuitive enquiry needs to be made, even something simple like making a choice for breakfast, or which route to walk that day, we can simply drop in, make that connection to our inner self, and ask.
What do I want, and what is here for me to notice?
The brain will have its own answer, based on its agenda of keeping things familiar and safe. But the inner voice is quite different. It bases its knowing on what is right at that moment for all kinds of reasons.
So, it might whisper “go this way today”, or “choose this to eat”, or “drink some water”. It might say dance, look out at the sky, stretch, whatever. There are a million things that intuition could suggest, and the key when you are learning and building a relationship with this inner voice is to be sure not to dismiss what comes up for you. This is so important!! You listen, and then you respond. If you’re feeling coffee, then don’t make tea, as usual, make coffee. Don’t turn on the news, move your body in a certain way instead, whatever it is that you are feeling. Remember that there is no right or wrong with an intuitive conversation, your knowing is your knowing, and although this can feel silly or awkward at first, the more you can suspend your judgment, the quicker you will be freely communicating with your intuitive self.
The more you ask of it, the more it will talk, and the louder and clearer it will sound. Whilst those everyday examples are seemingly small things, when intuition is allowed to develop in these small ways, it will also speak on the bigger things. This can happen in profound and seismic ways, giving us really precious insight into our own gifts and our own destiny, as we move through our lives.
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