Image by Gerd Altmann
Listening to your intuition isn't just for new-age folks. I believe our society is starting to recognize that this is a legitimate force. According to Attitude Reconstruction, intuition is one of the five innate tools all humans possess to take in information from our five senses. (Our other tools are emotions, thoughts, communication, and action.) Our intuition is our internal lighthouse to show us the way.
About Our Intuition
Obeying what we know to be true within is aligned with nature and with love and compassion. It seems to be in short supply and is sadly reflected in the words and deeds of some politicians. Their choice is between power and what they intuitively know. The behavior of these folks is out of our control. Hopefully this weird time we're experiencing is somewhat offset by the inner feeling we get when we experience acts of true giving or generosity. (I'll leave it at that. I went on a slight tangent. Back to intuition.)
Consulting and following our intuition is the easy way to experience joy, love, and peace in our lives. Our intuition, or inner knowing, makes a dynamic duo with our rational mind, our outer knowing or thinking. Used together, our heart and mind constitute an unstoppable team. This powerful combo can lead us to a life of comfort and ease - free of guilt, comparisons, negative judgments, and all those icky destructive thoughts.
The key is to remember that when you need to make a decision, employ both faculties together. You think or talk it thru with yourself and your two ways of knowing. Then, come up with a course of actions that feels inwardly right. Rather than being guided by impulse or outside pressures and opinions, be guided by what you know is best, highest, and most loving in the whole scheme of things.
This method may be particularly helpful in making major life decisions. Moving out of your parents' house and getting an apartment or taking a job that pays considerably less might seem daunting, overwhelming, and scary, and yet be intuitively correct.
As you shift captains of your ship, life will cease to be steered by woulda, coulda, or shoulda. As you begin to trust what you hear from within, self-confidence grows. You slowly develop the faith that no matter what transpires or what emotions arise, you'll be alright as long as you stay true to what you know in your heart.
Watch out! That means you'll have to say "NO" to the ego that wants what she wants and is used to being in charge.
The point is to listen and then obey! Because to experience self-satisfaction as well as joy, love, and peace - you need to translate into action what you intuitively know.
Theoretically this sounds easy, but many of us don't feel like our intuition works very well. So, first things first.
Can't Contact Your Intuition?
You may be making it harder than it is. The reality is that at any moment you can tap into your inner knowledge. Whether you're considering revving up on a third cup of coffee, dating an unavailable man, or fudging your income taxes, if you choose to listen within you will get some really helpful information. You really do know the answer. Intuition is always at the ready.
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Like any skill, contacting your inner voice gets better and easier with practice. Consulting your intuition can become second nature, and as your point of reference changes, you'll no longer waste time justifying your position to others. When your intuition illuminates what's true for you and you've learned to trust it, the need for validation from others lessens.
3 Steps to Hear Your Intuition
Learning to hear your intuition requires a one hundred and eighty degree turn from "out there" to "in here." The process is simple but takes practice. Here's how:
1. Stop and be quiet. Your inner voice resides in silence so you have to slow yourself down. First, calm your body so your mind becomes more settled. Shivering vigorously for a minute will remove emotional static, as will shedding a few tears or pushing against a doorjamb. Taking several deep breaths also temporarily quiets your mind and body so you can be fully present. Accompany your soothing, centering activity by repeating truths: "Everything will be all right. One thing at a time. I know what I know."
2. Ask your question, general or specific. If you've never consciously called on your intuition, start with something small and immediate, such as whether you should call in sick this morning for work. Pose your question. You might try one of these:
- What's true for me about this?
- What do I want?
- What do I need?
- What do I feel?
- What do I need to do?
Or try a more specific question, such as:
- Do I need to talk to my husband about what I'm feeling?
- What do I need to do about my bad knee?
- Should I work-out after work tonight?
Okay. Give it a shot right now. Calm yourself down a bit and then think of something that you are putting off deciding. Maybe start with something simple, such as "Should I drink this diet Coke?" Now, close your eyes, and gently and lovingly, ask yourself your question.
3. Be open, relax, and listen for the answer. It doesn't have to be profound; it's simply what you know beneath the mental chatter and opinions of others. One of the biggest clues that you're hearing your intuition is that it feels right in your body. Hearing your heart's truth brings a peaceful inner sensation, a relaxing, freeing, "yes" feeling.
Take just a minute. Now say what you heard out loud. How does it sound to you when you say it aloud?
The wisdom of your inner voice rings pure and truthful. It brings an expansive, tranquil feeling. Messages from your heart don't begin with "I guess..." or "I think I should..." or "I'd better..." That's your mind talking.
If the answer is complicated, you can be sure you aren't hearing your intuition. Likewise, if what you hear sounds flat or empty, or has a negative edge or tone, you still haven't contacted your inner voice.
So, did you hear an answer from your intuition? If not, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and ask again.
Tips If You Can't Hear or Question Your Intuition
You might be trying too hard. Your intuition's messages are usually fairly obvious. But if you've asked a question repeatedly and still can't hear an answer, pose your question in a different way. Trying on some different wording may be just the thing.
If that's still a no-go, take a more rational, logical approach. Expand your perspective by browsing through books, crunching numbers, or seeking opinions from experts and people you respect. Put a reasonable time frame on your data collection. Then pose your question again. Your answer will emerge in due time.
If you're having trouble accessing your intuition, try a calming technique, then gently ask your question again. More likely than not, you already do know the answer. Just stop telling yourself that you don't. Ask, "What's true for me about this specific topic?"
If you doubt the answer, you can subject it to scrutiny by asking again. If you've heard your intuition, you'll get the same answer. If not, you'll hear rationalizations or justifications or a different answer.
If you still don't feel like you're in touch with your intuition, express some emotions. Stomp. Shiver. Or have a good cry. Then you'll feel more "centered."
Set a specific time in the future to ask again. Some people recommend asking a question that they want clarity on, once a day and not dwell on it. Be persistent in your inner inquiry, and something will emerge, even if it becomes clear to you that it's not time to know yet.
Power (repeat with focus and intention) on constructive and supportive thoughts. If, for example, you're bombarded by negative self-talk (e.g., "I can't decide," "It doesn't matter," or "I don't care"), repeat for a minute or so, on truths such as:
- I know.
- This is important.
- I care.
As you repeat these statements, be sure to nod your head up and down, not side to side. You can also ask yourself one of these questions.
- What do I know when I'm clear?
- What does the best of me say to do about this?
- What's true for me about this?
Once you get a clear intuitive hit, hold on to it, it's your anchor amidst the choppy seas of the mind that will try to blow you away from your heart.
Time to start this strategy right now and see how your life may change.
Sometimes I'm clear that I need to break up with my partner but instead of following through, I get scared and listen to other's opinions.
Tapping into our intuition is one thing. Obeying it is another. Our habitual drive to control events or seize momentary pleasure makes listening and following through a bit tough. Being true to our intuition may be inconvenient or uncomfortable. It may not jibe with other people's desires. That's why all too often the mind undermines faith in your inner voice.
When you ask within, "Is this relationship over?" and hear a resounding "yes", the part of you that resists change and wants to avoid pain laments, "I don't want to break up. Not right before our birthdays." or "I can't bear the thought of him becoming involved with someone else."
Your mind is seductive! It can convince you of almost anything, including settling for the status quo. You start doubting yourself. "Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe he'll change. At least he's not violent. Maybe I'll never find anyone any better." Six months later, there you are in the same unfulfilling relationship. Why? Because you ignored your intuition to avoid the temporary pain of breaking up and facing the next chapter of your life.
©2020 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.
Book by this Author
Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
With practical tools, real-life examples, and everyday solutions for thirty-three destructive attitudes, Attitude Reconstruction can help you stop settling for sadness, anger, and fear, and infuse your life with love, peace, and joy.
About the Author
Jude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. Visit her website at AttitudeReconstruction.com/
* Watch an interview with Jude Bijou: How to Experience More Joy, Love and Peace