My intuition literally saved my life at least once, (that I know). I was in Costa Rica on a yoga retreat, and had planned to stay several days after the retreat ended. On the last day, I suddenly had this idea that I should change my airline tickets and leave the next day like almost everyone else. I was unhappy with this decision, even angry at myself. I told myself that I’d be sorry when I got back home and realized all the fun I could’ve had with friends who were staying. I kept questioning this decision, but I felt powerless to do anything else. I didn’t know why, but I had to go home. Dejectedly. Unhappily. Days after I got home, I had a stroke. I was in a public place and able to make it to the hospital to get life-saving care. Had I not listened to this intuition, I would have been in Costa Rica, hours from a hospital. I believe I would’ve died, or at least had a much worse outcome from the stroke.
Dictionary.com defines intuition as “direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process”. I particularly like the bit about “independent of any reasoning process.” Intuition doesn’t always make sense until you get to the other side of the intuitive process and see the result. I reasoned with myself for hours about the decision to leave Costa Rica early, and was never truly happy with the decision, which made no sense to me. But when I thought of staying, I got this horribly uncomfortable feeling. I didn’t realize this was intuition at the time, but in retrospect, I’m certainly glad I followed it!
So, how did I develop and use this potentially life-saving skill? Quite honestly, I did it by accident. I was this incredibly uptight, conservative, unimaginative, non-spiritual CFO of a huge organization when I decided I wanted to go to massage school. (Little did I know this decision was intuition in and of itself, but that’s another story.) While I was in massage school, I was exposed to so many ideas I’d never conceived before. I did yoga and meditated, and communed with different kinds of people than I’d ever encountered before. Suddenly, I was having conversations about the law of attraction, vision boards, manifesting the life I wanted, spirit guides, chakras, energy blockages…well, you get the point. My family in Texas and Alabama surely thought I’d lost it. But I felt like I’d actually found it for the first time in my life! So I developed my intuition through doing a lot of things that got me in touch with my body, mind and soul. But I’d like to help you find a more direct route.
First of all, even if you are an uptight, conservative, unimaginative, non-spiritual CFO, you have intuition. You just need to learn how to receive these direct perceptions of the truth and not let your reasoning process get in the way.
Learning to meditate is the most effective way to get there. There are many ways to learn to meditate. I learned from a book called, “Turning the Mind into an Ally” by Sakyong Mipham, and through lessons. There are many classes, through Yoga studios, online, tapes. (You can contact me at email@example.com for ideas, or for lessons if you live in the Denver area.) The idea of learning to meditate is quite daunting to many people. If you don’t want to learn to meditate, you can still use some meditation skills to get in touch with your intuition.
The first step is to sit quietly, and just get to know how your body feels when it is relaxed. You can do this by sitting alone in your bedroom, in a bubble bath with a glass of wine, on the back deck watching the sun set. Just not in a crowded or emotionally charged situation. Get familiar with how your breath sounds and feels, how your gut feels, what your mind does, when you are not on the alert. This does two things. First, it shows you how you feel when you are in your truly natural state, and second, it shows you how a good reaction from your intuition will feel. When you are starting to use your intuition, this calm, soothing type of reaction indicates you are on the right track! Partake in this activity as frequently as you can, at least a few times per week.
Next, you wait for an occasion when you need your intuition, or when your intuition goes off on its own. I’ll write first about when you need your intuition’s help. Say you have a decision to make, and there’s no clear right or wrong choice. First, decide what the acceptable choices are. Sit quietly like described above and generate the relaxed feeling you’ve felt before. Now, picture yourself making the decision the first way. Notice how your feel. Does your heartbeat quicken uncomfortably? Does your mind seem uncomfortable, scared, nervous? Does your jaw tense? Does your gut feel like a rock is inside of it? Or do you feel relaxed, even happily excited? Now, picture yourself making another of the choices, and feel your reaction to that. Do this for each of the choices. The bad feelings are your intuition telling you that is not a good choice. The relaxed or excited feelings are telling you that’s a good choice. It’s as simple as that.
Once you’ve been practicing this for a while, there will be instances when your intuition warns you without you even asking it. This was what happened to me in Costa Rica. I suddenly had the thought that I should change my arrangements and go home. Thinking of staying made me feel incredibly nervous and scared, as if I were thinking about stepping out onto a ledge 50 stories up. Once I started thinking of going directly home, my body felt relaxed. My thoughts were a little aggravated, because I didn’t want to leave, but the feeling of relief was too tangible to ignore.
I know this sounds too simple to be true, but it really does work! You do have an innate intuition. Think about times when you had an overwhelming, unreasoning feeling that you should do something differently than what you usually do. That was your intuition. Maybe you saw a direct correlation between making that decision and a more positive outcome, and maybe not. Just because you didn’t see it, doesn’t mean your intuition didn’t warn you against a dangerous, or disadvantageous outcome.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with your relaxation exercises!
You never know when you’ll need your intuition to save your life, my friends!