Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition. ~ M. L’Engle (A Wind in the Door)
Instinct. Gut feeling. Hunch. Inkling. Sixth sense. Whatever you like to call it, intuition is the mysterious force in our lives that guides us, protects us, and informs us with insight not usually available or readily present in the conscious mind.
We all possess some degree of intuition; from the most cynical, to the most naive of us. As Einstein once said of intuition:
I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.
And this is precisely what intuition is at its core: a sudden and inexplicable feeling that arises within us, a feeling that tells us to take this chance, to go down that path, to accept that opportunity, to open that door. Intuition also tells us what not to do, what to be careful of, when to be vigilant and when to stop. As novelist Dean Koontz summarized beautifully:
Intuition is seeing with the soul.
The Soundless Voice
Derived from the Latin word Intueri which means “to look at, to consider”, intuition is associated with the right side of the brain. As you may or may not know, the right side of the brain is responsible for creativity, imagination, musical and artistic aptitude, and emotions as opposed to the left side of the brain which is connected to logic, reasoning, and critical thinking.
So intuition stems from that nonlinear dimension of our minds, that part where unconscious connections and associations are made, and arise within our conscious minds seemingly out of nowhere.
As Joseph Murphy, author of The Power of Your Unconscious Mind notes:
Within your subconscious depths lie infinite wisdom, infinite power, and infinite supply of all that is necessary, which is waiting for development and expression.
Thus, intuition is an amazingly powerful tool, a gift ready and available to us, but often ignored or forgotten.
When Life Whispers, Listen Closely
All throughout history people have listened closely to the whispers of life.
From Dr. Loewi’s intuitive discovery of the chemical transmission of nerve impulses, and Elias Howe’s invention of the sewing machine, to Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity, many great strides in all fields of existence have been attributed to spontaneous sparks of intuition.
But why should we pay attention to our gut feelings? I mean … it’s not like we’re planning on becoming world famous physicists or inventors, right? Wrong. You don’t need to strive for either. This is why:
1. Intuition reveals deep truths in our lives.
Either about ourselves, other people, or life at large, intuition helps us to develop deeper understandings, which help direct our thoughts, feelings and decisions.
2. Intuition helps us identify negative omens in our lives.
Failure, financial collapse, death, emotional threat – intuition puts us in touch with our instinctive defense systems, helping us to avoid harm.
3. Intuition opens new paths to us.
By also helping us to identify positive signs in our lives, intuition opens new doors to us when we least expect it.
4. Intuition guides us and helps us to make wise decisions.
By allowing us to know what decisions to make and when, intuition helps us to achieve a measure of confidence and peace of mind, assisting us in following paths that are true to ourselves; paths with heart.
5. Intuition helps us to live fulfilling lives.
Truth hurts, but truth also helps us wake up to the false, corrupted, delusional lives we sometimes lead, and choice we occasionally make. Intuition is a bringer of truth, and thus a bringer of change and transformation. When we listen to it, we make decisions that ultimately help our lives to be genuine and fulfilling.
The Soul’s GPS
So how can we listen to our intuition in order to lead more happy and whole lives? I’ve asked the same question many times. Here is what I’ve learned:
- Learn to trust your intuition by listening without judgment. Most of us, myself included, have a terribly strong Critic inside of us that loves to analyze and nitpick everything to death. Listening to your intuition isn’t about simply paying attention to it, it’s also about allowing it to say what it must without us undermining it. The more we get into the habit of listening without judgment, the easier it will be to seriously take into consideration what our instinct is trying to tell us.
- Be discerning. I’ve often mistaken fearful and paranoid thinking for calm and neutral intuitive thinking, and this can be very detrimental. You need to learn to distinguish fear from intuition by remembering that intuition is peaceful, centered, unemotional and detached. Fearful feelings, on the other hand, are emotionally-charged, chaotic and vague.
- Learn to become more self-aware. Self-awareness is the ability to be aware of you feelings, thoughts and behaviors and the way in which they impact you, and the people around you. The more aware we are of what goes on inside of ourselves, the easier it will be to identify our still, small voices in the first place. Mindfulness, meditation and introspection all assist in developing self-awareness.
Intuition is a small glimpse into the enormous magnitude of wisdom and intelligence possessed by your largely secret and untapped unconscious mind.
I hope this article has helped you to understand why we should listen to our intuition and how. Feel welcome to share your insight, advice or experiences below!