In a previous post, I wrote about the importance of finding your personal truth and using your voice to speak that truth. In that post, I mentioned that these tasks involve intuition. But what exactly is intuition? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence,” or “a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.” In other words, intuition is a part of our being that helps us make decisions not by intellect, but through what many of us refer to as a “gut feeling.”
As children, we all had a sort of natural radar of intuition. We did not yet have a complex understanding of language or even social interactions, but we were in touch with our feelings. We knew that if we had an uncomfortable sensation deep in our gut about someone who was talking to us—someone who seemed untrustworthy, perhaps—we needed to get away from that person. Essentially, we knew that if something felt wrong, it probably was wrong. Intuition was a survival tool, much more primitive than a modern-day GPS, and yet infinitely more valuable.
One might assume that such a tool could only sharpen over time; however, in our society, no one talks much about intuition. Plus, we are bombarded with messages telling us what we should do, and what will make us happy. For one, as we grew up, we became educated, and we learned to use logic and reason to make decisions. But, I have discovered that logic and reason aren’t always the best tools. I have found on my path that following your intuition is better. For me it is connecting to that voice within that helps guide my steps in the right direction. When I fail to listen to that voice, that is when I have moved forward in the wrong direction. It is not a decision I can calculate by facts or by some form of proof I can see outside of myself. It is a choice I can make based on that “gut feeling,” that I feel within when I take the time to get still and listen to my inner truth.
In just the last decade, the majority of Americans have become overly available and over-stimulated. We are constantly bombarded with texts, emails, phone calls, sights and sounds—all delivered to us through our handheld devices. These advancements have their benefits, for sure; they allow us to stay in touch with family members, friends, and colleagues, among many other things. But what effect does technology have on our inner well-being? We might be connected to people halfway around the globe, but are we connected with ourselves? Busyness creates internal clutter that, as it accumulates over time, threatens to bury one of our most useful intrinsic assets: intuition.
The good news is that, even in this busy world, there are ways to strengthen this asset.
Blaise Pascal, a 17th century French philosopher, once said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” These days, it takes courage to “sit quietly…alone,” especially if it means temporarily disconnecting from all forms of technological entertainment. But what awaits us in the quiet stillness is a reminder that a natural power exists within us—a power that can help us make important choices, both big and small, in our daily lives.
When seeking alone time, we might be tempted to go for a walk with a set of headphones and a favorite playlist, but the key word in Pascal’s quote is “quietly.” We need silence to truly be able to hear ourselves; it is this “hearing” that enables us to enhance our intuition.
Therefore, we can strengthen our intuitive skills by:
- Letting go of gadgets and finding comfort in stillness
- Embracing—not running away from—silence
- Practicing yoga or mindfulness meditation
- Simply sitting quietly with our eyes closed
- Looking to nature for inspiration, because nature has a “knowing” that needs no thoughts or language.
Of course, it is important to step outside our comfort zones once in a while and take a risk, but only if our internal radar—our intuition—tells us that the risk is in alignment with our deepest values and beliefs. Ultimately, intuition serves as an inner guide by steering us in the right direction and keeping us on a healthy life path.
Sending you love and light,
“intuition.” Merriam-webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.