Intuition is certainly a buzz-word these days, and for good reason – since so many of us have been divorced from inner and bodily knowing, and we’ve been suffering as a society for it. Only now are we beginning to understand what we’ve lost as we’ve favored worldly knowledge over inner knowing.
To be totally clear, in this post, I’m not speaking of Intuition’s predictive capabilities. While Intuition certainly informs these capabilities, it does not stop there – and if I’m honest, I’m much less interested in the ability to predict the gender of a baby, or one’s cause of death, than I am in cultivating a strong sense of self, and self-knowing.
So that’s what I’m writing about here: self-knowing. It’s a revelatory process, and requires getting out of one’s typical trains of thought to access the information important to any given situation.
This process helps us answer questions such as, “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” And just as easily – and just as importantly – it can help us to answer the smaller, situational conundrums, such as “What am I going to do next?”
My current favorite way to work with intuition, specifically when answering the question, “What am I going to do next,” or “How will I respond?” is a process of inquiry. I like to put my thoughts down on paper, and I keep a journal for this, because I appreciate having the ability to look back on previous situations so I can reflect on myself over time.
First, I hash out the situation – what is happening externally that I want to work with? What is happening out there that is conjunct with the stirring in me? It can be something specific to my life, such as a relationship struggle, or more global in scope, such as the state of the global economy or climate.
Once I’ve painted the situational picture, I reflect on my emotions – I name each one (there’s very often more than just one) – and I reflect on what thoughts or assumptions are informing each emotion. Maybe I’m feeling angry, which is tied up in the thought that I’m being treated unfairly. Maybe I’m feeling depressed, and every time I think about the idea of climate crisis, I feel even more down.
Often in these moments, I’m feeling pretty confused about everything outside and in – not only is it unclear what is really happening out there, I’m not totally sure what that means for me – I might feel confused about where my feelings are coming from, if they’re valid or based on old wounds, and I may not even know what I really want yet. So I begin asking a LOT of questions, and even if I don’t (or can’t) answer all of them, just the process of asking all of these questions begins to clear things up for me. In this process, I find out what the most important questions are, and then, I attempt to answer them.
After clearing aside everything else – the thoughts, feelings, etc. that I had hashed out previously – this is surprisingly easy to do. Sometimes I come up with multiple responses, and as I do this, I pay attention to what happens in my body, with particular attention on my heart space. If I feel my heart closing down, I know I’ve got the wrong answer. If my heart feels light and open, I know I’m onto something.
Once I’m there, I might come up with concrete ways to enact my chosen solution if that isn’t already plain in the solution itself. Sometimes my decisions require extra support – accountability, comfort, clarity, etc. – so I set plans to see those needs met. Sometimes I still have unanswered questions, so I write those down, and keep my eyes and ears open for the answers to come. These answers have a funny way of arriving, in dreams, upon waking, in the shower or long walks. The key to receiving them is silence and mental stillness.
While this might sound rather systematic, it rarely is. Being willing to get messy – it’s through chaos that we find clarity.