“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein
I have spent 10 years working with the human body through yoga and chiropractic, and over the course of that time I have developed a deep appreciation for our body’s wisdom. I am fascinated by the way our body is communicating to us on many different levels every second of every day. It continuously takes in and perceives information from its environment and uses that information to form neural signals. Some of these signals run the systems and processes that keep the body functioning physiologically, even without our conscious control, and some of these signals guide our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, intuition being one of the more mysterious of these.
Intuition has been defined as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.” It is felt in the body as a gut instinct or a heartfelt impulse, and it is experienced in the mind as a deep knowing.
Have you ever caught yourself saying something along the lines of “it just felt right” or “something didn’t feel right.” These statements are things we often say when we can feel the gentle whispers of intuition, but because intuition lacks conscious reasoning, it’s easy to ignore those whispers.
Fear, on the other hand, is experienced much more loudly than intuition, often like a metaphysical scream. Fear feels heavy and leads to physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweaty palms, or shaking. Fear is a very primal sensation and is important for keeping us safe from harm, but the problem exists when we continuously live in the stories we’ve created about all the ways things can go wrong, all the ways we can get hurt, or all the ways we can suffer. When we get stuck in these stories, there is no way to hear the whispers of intuition over the screaming of fear.
Sometimes it’s not about learning how to tell the difference between fear and intuition so much as it is about learning how to cultivate a stronger awareness of intuition so that we can more deeply trust our inner wisdom to guide us appropriately.
At the end of the day we are always cultivating something. We are either cultivating a fear state by focusing on the future or the past and what could go wrong, or we learn to cultivate a stronger connection to an intelligence that is already present but is often silenced or obscured.
“Listen to the silence – it has so much to say.” – Rumi
Here are 3 ways I use to cultivate a stronger connection to my inner wisdom:
Make Time for Introspection
The busier you are, the harder it will be to pay attention to moments of intuition. Distraction keeps the mind occupied on things external to our physical experience, and when we aren’t paying acute attention to what is happening in and around us and looking at things with curiosity, we tend to act on our subconscious programming rather than through conscious control. We have to learn how to be more of a human being than a “human doing.” The more we can slow down and make time for introspection, the more we can question our activities and behaviors, our motivators, and our gut feelings.
Cultivate Body Awareness
The body speaks! It speaks in subtle ways and if we aren’t paying attention to the various ways in which our body either expands or constricts in response to different situations we lose out on how it communicates to us. Practice paying attention to the various sensations that arise throughout the day: notice when your breath rate speeds up or slows down, notice when you get a tingling along your spine, notice when a warmth spreads down your arm, notice when your chest tightens, etc. Simply take the time to notice, and the more you practice this art of paying attention, the more you train yourself to become acquainted with the way your body communicates its inner wisdom with you.
Trust Your Instincts
Learning to connect to our intuition is only half the journey, the other half is leaning into it enough to allow it to guide you, and this requires trusting yourself enough to have the confidence to say “yes” to what feels right and “no” to what doesn’t. The more often you act on your intuition, the more deeply you learn to trust it.
“The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.” – Gisele Bundchen