The Basics of Intuition
Using your intuition is actually pretty easy. It's the most natural inherent guidance system we have.
It's entirely possible for all of us to understand intuition like it's any other old thang; like sight or touch or taste. It's an aspect of our consciousness, an extra-sensory experience that helps us shape our interactions with reality and how we experience life.
The problem is that most of us think we "don't know how" to access the part of ourselves that "just knows" – spending too much time (or no time at all) trying to get answers from other people while we "figure out how to learn to be intuitive."
Notice the contradiction there? It is literally counterintuitive to seek external opinion to legitimize the very aspect of yourself which is ALREADY WIRED TO GIVE YOU THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED, EVERY TIME.
I'm serious about this, it's bullshit.
You ARE intuitive. Everyone is intuitive. Just not everyone is tapped into it.
How does your intuition communicate with you?
Through feelings. More "advanced" forms of receiving intuitive messages, like clairvoyance (i.e. the psychic senses), are examples of feelings coming through a channel that is already aware of and responding to its basic intuitive signals, allowing for faster, more complete, more complex, and stunningly accurate flashes of knowing that translate through whatever sense is uniquely meaningful for that individual.
What are feelings?
For the purpose of this piece, a feeling is therefore an experience of energy being processed through the body – stimulating some kind of biological feedback, however subtle. Feelings are not the complex mental processes around an experience – they are the noises, movements, and reactions from within the body that alert us to a mental or emotional process which requires our attention. By this definition, feeling angry about what someone said is not an intuitive feeling; a stomach ache is.
How do you actually listen to what it's saying?
The same way you listen to any other very quiet voice: by becoming quieter than it, and paying attention. Imagine your intuition as a tiny speaker buried deep inside your stomach (a.k.a. the solar plexus chakra, home of the "gut reaction"). It is usually so muffled by all the things we stuff on top of it and all the other voices we are constantly turning up, that we think it's not even playing at all, but really we're just being too damn loud. You can't be really in tune with your intuitive feelings if you're out night after night drinking and dancing; nor can you do it if you're constantly listening to other people talking (especially complaining) and barely spend any time with your own thoughts.
My first experience consciously developing my intuition was in 2012. I had gone through a breakup, and was in the process of redeveloping my newly levelled internal landscape. I started to express myself by posting on Instagram, and found a post describing intuition in such a way that it felt very accessible, real, and kind of like magic. At the same time, I was starting a self-directed meditation practice in an effort to get ahold of general anxiety about my life decisions. It was awkward, because I was self-conscious about it and not really sure what I was aiming for. I was in university, working a couple of jobs, and at this particular point in my life, the study of intuition seemed to be the only thing "out there" that gave me a map to follow out of my emotions into clarity, so I decided to go deeper.
On one of my forays to a local esoteric shop, I learned about amazonite, which is a turquoise coloured crystal said to harness the intellect to the intuition. In the next moment, I was immediately drawn to a cabinet containing an amazonite ring, and decided to buy it as a reminder of my practice, a signpost for myself. This was in itself an intuitive message, which I felt but didn't recognize until later. I was just pumped to have a shiny new thing related to what I was learning.
At the time, I was enchanted with the idea of having the confidence to say no to others in favour of my own needs, and with the greater possibility for magic and opportunity that could come from following this new map day after day.
Perhaps I, a self-defined "indecisive Libra," would finally be able to make decisions with confidence that truly aligned me with my joy.
To start, I would go for early morning runs and use my intuition to pick the smoothest and most pleasant routes, just playing around by asking myself "Left or right?" and following the first thought I had. Later, I came to understand intuition as less of a thinking process and more of a feeling process.
Full mastery of the intuitive voice within, for me, required a complete suspension of the realm of thought and the development of a personal intuitive language based entirely in feeling.
I had to train myself to learn the cadence and vocabulary of this ancient, powerful, and razor sharp voice of truth.
How do you become open and clear to receive intuitive communication? Perform a radical purge of every voice that isn't yours. Stop reading Internet articles, stop reading your horoscope, stop reading entirely. Stop listening to music – stop listening to other people's ideas. Stop calling your mom for advice. Stop asking the damn group chat what you should text back. Start writing in an actual notebook or diary, with a pen.
Don't want to face your own thoughts? Doesn't matter. Write anyway. Get to know your own voice. Write down things you think "might" be your intuition talking, and keeping noticing those things over time. Refresh and simplify the media you see on a daily basis, from your walls in your room to your wallpaper on your laptop. Give your mind as clean and beautiful a palette as possible, free from other people's perspectives, so it operates from a more restful state and is more open to new thoughts.
We must be aware of ourselves blocking out our intuition with every other "voice" we listen to – music, speech, and image – and everything we consume, from chemicals to ideas. It's all noise that inhibits us from being quiet, conscious, and neutral enough to hear the innermost stirrings of our intuitive knowing. For the multitasking mind (like mine), hearing your intuition can require surgical level focus, and to really get the hang of it you have to consistently unclog the channel of communication within.
Since intuition is wired to help you feel good in the way that is unique to you, support it by knowing how your own mind operates without anyone else's input. This way, your intuitive practice can help you start to rewrite the way you think.
How do you actually follow your intuition when it gives you a message? By trusting it and saying YES to its wisdom. The biggest key to developing your intuition quickly is to trust it fully when it gives you an answer – especially if it's an answer you don't like or understand right away.
How do you learn to trust your intuition? By remembering that you (and your intuition) are wired to take care of you. You're not born inherently self-sabotaging; the things your intuition tells you are always in accordance with your greatest good. You'll believe me fully on this when you experience it for yourself, so practice trust by giving your intuition a chance to have the final word on what you what you really want, in a moment where you're about to hit Google or call a friend. Opinions are useless when it comes to hearing your intuitive voice; they just hog the line. Get on speed dial with your solar plexus, and then, after the fact, seek opinion if you must; external feedback is a great way to reflect on your intuitive accuracy, not to determine it.
Practice trusting your intuition on things you already "kind of" or "pretty much" know.
For example, if you have a choice to go to a party you're sort-of interested in on Friday night, but you also want to go home, have dinner, and do your laundry, use your intuition to discern by feeling the biological responses in your body that happen when you visualize each scenario, and following the one that feels good.
If you're the kind of person who needs a bunch of different opinions from everyone in your life before you make a decision (hello), or someone who often feels guilty for doing what you want and letting other people down, you're going to want to practice with something super easy that doesn't involve other people, like what to buy at the grocery store or how to spend that hour of free time you have between classes.
Remember: Being intuitive is natural. Being highly intuitive is also natural. Being "psychic" or having an intuitive channel that allows clear, powerful, accurate information through different senses is – wait for it – ALSO NATURAL. All the non-physical resources and extra-sensory power we have within us are available to us at all degrees of experience, from dabbling to mastery.
I hope this brief primer has inspired you to get off the internet and into a space of self-reflection, where you can discern what YOUR intuitive voice sounds like, and start to use it to create a better, more joyful reality.
Questions? Reflections? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Send me an email or write in the comments below.