If we all have access to intuition, information that would help us live happier, more creative, and fulfilled lives, what is it that keeps us from tuning in to, recognizing, and benefiting from it?
Without a doubt, the greatest impediment to effectively working with and understanding our own intuitive strengths is fear. It can take many forms: fear of what others might think; fear of looking foolish; fear of making a mistake; fear of the unknown; fear of consequences; fear of losing control. The list goes on.
Our fears can lead us into a state of denial, where we do not even recognize the promptings of our intuition when it tries to gain our attention. When we let these fears take hold, we are closing ourselves off from the greatest source of insight, help, and comfort that we have available to us.
If we let the voices of others speak louder, whether they are our closest friends and relatives of today or the authoritarian voices and childhood tauntings of years past, we give them greater power than our own insights.
Janice shared an experience in which her fears nearly overrode her intuition regarding the purchase of a used car. Because she was aware that she was letting fear take precedence, she found a way to work through it and take action instead of remaining immobilized:
"I needed to replace my ten-year-old, unreliable car. I searched the local dealerships and newspapers while researching information on the makes and models of the vehicles I was seeing.
"One evening, I test-drove a compact sedan, and as I tooled around the neighborhood, I felt an opening in my heart. I was really excited about the car, as it seemed a good fit. I had it assessed by my mechanic, then contacted the bank about a loan. Every time I thought about the car and the people I was buying it from, it felt right. Then fears crept in, and I became obsessed with 'what ifs': What if my intuition is wrong, and there's something better out there for me? What if I get this car now, and then find what I really wanted at an unbelievable price? What if I don't get this car, and my old one completely falls apart? What if I'm not able to sell my old car? What if my friends don't like it? I was driving myself crazy.
"Finally, I asked in prayer what I should do, as I was finding it difficult to remember my positive intuitive response while all these fears were holding court. The thought came to mind to work with an exercise I had learned many years before in Lucia Capacchione's book, The Power of Your Other Hand. This exercise is intended to help give voice to the unexpressed emotions and impressions that influence our self-image, self-esteem, and behavior.
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"I began by writing, with my dominant hand, questions regarding how I felt about the car and the situation in general. With my non-dominant hand, I wrote the responses, a process that helps to disengage normal rational thought and allows suppressed or forgotten thoughts and emotions to come to the surface.
"After a few questions, the voice that came through in my writing was that of my inner child, to whom I had paid little attention over the years. What I learned was that she was afraid that if I purchased this car, I would pay even less attention to her need for expression, that is, my need to play, be lighthearted, and to laugh. The car that I was considering was very different from the sport utility vehicle that she wanted but I couldn't afford. So, my inner child felt ignored and fought back by creating confusion.
"Because of the writing exercise, I was able to mentally tune in to my inner child and made a commitment to take care of my need for excitement and play. Then I went out and purchased the car, which has served me very well."
If allowing fears to take hold can be so detrimental to our development, why do we let it happen? Why do fears take precedence over our inner knowledge? One reason is low self-esteem. We forget that we are children of God, divine beings with a divine inheritance who have direct access to all the help and guidance we need. We doubt our own ability to be in touch with our higher self, or that it even exists. We enfold ourselves in thoughts and feelings that disguise our true nature. The litany of self-effacement sounds something like, "I'm not good enough," "I'm not worthy," "I don't know how," "I can't..." When we lend energy to such thoughts, we feed our fears rather than the divine spark within and thus dull our senses to the messages we might otherwise receive.
Perhaps our Western culture's emphasis on acquired knowledge is partly to blame. Most of us spend many years in school. In traditional institutions, we collect information in a linear, rational way, often denying our own innate knowledge. Nonlinear thinking is generally not appreciated, at best, and is frequently discouraged, either through blatant criticism or dismissive attitudes of its validity. After years of this non-supportive response, most sensitive people learn to squelch the expression of their true feelings. Perhaps the key to integrating the inner voice with acquired knowledge is in finding ways to couch intuitive insights in more conventionally acceptable terms, allowing for an appropriate expression in any given circumstance.
Loss of Attunement or Unclear Intent
The Cayce readings (Edgar Cayce 1877-1945) are very clear that in order to tune in to our higher selves through our intuitive capabilities, we must keep spiritual growth as our primary focal point. Maintaining regular spiritual practices is absolutely essential to establishing and nourishing that attunement.
In addition to focused spiritual attunement, we need to be clear about our intent and clarifying our ideals. If we allow self-glorification, control over others, or a desire to simply make life easier to become our guiding motivation, we lose our connection to our true ideal. Most often, this creates a muddying effect on our intuitive senses, causing insights to become inaccurate or unreliable. To remain true to our higher selves, the readings suggest that unconditional love and service to others should be our guiding lights.
Pitfalls on the Intuitive Path: Judging Others
In the process of recognizing and developing our intuitive gifts, we will most likely begin to pick up information about those around us, our family, friends, co-workers, or even someone we pass on the street. It can be a great temptation to judge their thoughts, emotions, or actions, based on our insights.
It is vital to seek ways that we can be of service rather than compounding another's burden through judgmentalism, reminding ourselves that there is always more to a story than we might realize.
As we begin to put our intuitive insights into practice, it is likely that we will experience times when we just don't get it right. The following example, shared by Ria, is one in which the misinterpretation of an intuitive insight, compounded by judgment of another person, created a very uncomfortable and difficult situation:
"One evening after attending a conference, I was preparing for bed, anxious to get to sleep because I needed to get up early. As I was drifting off to sleep, I got the impression that I should not leave my small pack, which contained my wallet, near the bed. The feeling was very strong, but I was exhausted, and, after a moment of wondering what else to do with it, I left it where I had originally intended and just decided not to leave it unattended. I was rooming with someone I did not know well, and, although I felt a little uncomfortable with her, I decided that I was just being oversensitive and suspicious.
"The next morning, I pulled my hairbrush out of the pack and went into the bathroom, completely forgetting my resolution not to leave my belongings unattended. Then I remembered that the pack was now open on the bed in full view of my roommate, who was also getting ready. I panicked, raced back to the room, and scooped up everything that had fallen out, but could not locate the wallet. I looked everywhere.
"Certain that my 'intuition' had been trying to warn me about this person, I asked her if she knew the whereabouts of my wallet. When she said, 'No,' I insisted that she open her suitcase for me. I then went through her belongings. Although this response was not my normal mode of dealing with a crisis, I was filled with conviction, certain that I knew what was going on, and standing up for myself.
"My roommate was understandably confused and appalled by my actions; however, she tried valiantly to not take my behavior personally. After we both searched through each others' suitcases and other belongings, I finally found my wallet trapped in a fold of the blanket on my bed. I felt absolutely awful and incredibly ashamed.
"My first mistake had been in ignoring my intuition in the first place. If I had gone ahead and put my wallet in a more secure location, it would not have fallen out of my pack, and I would not have had to worry about it. My second mistake was that I assumed the information I was getting was about the potential behavior of my roommate, not about a situation I might create because of my suspicions. If I had taken the time to pray, to tune in a little more closely and ask for clarification, I believe I would have received the information I needed at the time. The entire episode would have been avoided."
When we allow ourselves to learn from our intuition, to move with it, and to grow with it, we truly progress, even, or perhaps especially, when we stumble and make mistakes. One person asked Edgar Cayce in a reading, "How can I avoid getting incorrect answers?" His response reflects the great compassion of the Universal Forces:
No one way while remaining in the flesh! For, there is ever the trial, the test, the gradual growth. And there are faults, but use those faults as stepping-stones -- and be guided by the greater influence that is thy ideal. 317-7
More than a simple "try, try again" approach, this answer reflects a compassionate understanding of the complexities of life on earth, and of the struggle through which every soul must find its way. It is almost as if the Universe is saying to us, "Okay, here you are. What have you learned? What did you miss? How might you act or respond differently the next time you are faced with a similar situation?"
Steps to Intuitive Development
Rather than a list of techniques, the following steps come from the Cayce readings' approach, which emphasizes practices that will strengthen our connection with the Divine within and help us to better discern the information we receive:
Spiritual practices. Intuition develops naturally as a result of our spiritual development. Meditating, praying, setting ideals, and working with others on a spiritual path are all important tools for spiritual growth.
Ask questions during meditation and listen for the answers. If an answer isn't forthcoming, consider that there may be other underlying questions that need to be answered first.
Pay attention to the impressions you receive as you fall asleep or first awaken. Insights will come as a result of asking questions during meditation, through inner reflection, or as you are falling asleep. Write these down, and find a positive way to act on them.
Trust your inner self as much as your analytical self. This can take practice, as it is easy to brush aside our intuitive promptings. Give yourself permission to give voice to the intuitive.
Have an insatiable curiosity. Discover those things you are drawn to and follow them.
Inspirational writing after a period of meditation or attunement. While in the meditative state, write down your thoughts, feelings, and impressions.
Spend time in nature. We can learn about our own natural balance and harmony by attuning to those primordial aspects of God's creation.
Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. If the physical body is not in equilibrium, our intuitive development is inhibited.
Listen to uplifting music and read inspiring literature. This positive engagement of our mental and emotional selves nourishes us spiritually.
Develop your creative imagination. Spend time expressing talents and activities for which you have a passion.
Intuitive awareness is more than just an indicator of how adept we are at accessing psychic perceptions. It is an indication of how attuned we are to our spiritual side. When we develop and rely on our abilities, discern inner truths, and apply that awareness on the physical level, we open the doorway to manifesting our true highest selves.
Excerpted with permission. ©1999.
A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.
Awakening the Real You: Awareness Through Dreams and Intuition
by Nancy C. Pohle & Ellen L. Selover.
Everyone has intuitive abilities not just a chosen few. This book shows how intuitive insights and dreams are expressions of our inner selves that can reveal who we really are: souls seeking to grow. In down-to-earth ways, with dozens of first-person accounts, this book guides readers in developing their own creativity and awareness.
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About The Authors
Nancy C. Pohle has lectured, counseled, and taught classes on dreams and intuition throughout the U. S. and Canada for more than eighteen years. She was featured internationally on Voice of America radio and appeared on A&E's Biography: Edgar Cayce as a representative of the Association for Research and Enlightenment.
Ellen L. Selover is a lifelong student of the Edgar Cayce readings. Her tenure on the staff of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, Inc., has included international study group coordinator, manager of youth programs, and program manager with membership and the Mission in Life Institute.