Everyone is born intuitive, but most people don’t access this part of themselves – because they don’t know how to. And even if they do accidentally manage to tap in to their intuition, they don’t know how to maintain it. So, starting this week, I’m running a short series of ‘How to …’ posts, to help you plug into this vital part of yourself, and start using it.
This first post gives you some things to think about as a basis for firing up your intuitive abilities. Tempting though it may be to skip over this kind of work, it’s worth paying attention to it, because it helps you get clear about yourself and lays some strong foundations to build on. Hazy thought processes produce hazy results, so let’s get clear on how you can ignite your intuition!
BELIEVE YOU’RE INTUITIVE
Yes, this really is where we have to start!
I’ve been teaching people how to develop their intuitive abilities for three decades, and without fail, the very first hurdle we have to overcome is their lack of belief that they’re capable of being intuitive. Folk want to be intuitive, but doubt themselves.
When I ask new students to talk about their intuitive experiences to date, the conversation is usually littered with small self-put-downs:
“Oh, I only get an intuitive hit now and again – I just get lucky, I guess.”
“I just get a hunch.”
“I didn’t listen to what I felt – and I could have kicked myself afterwards.”
“I can get a feeling about something, but I don’t pay much attention to it … it’s probably just my imagination …”
And so on. Small though these put-downs may appear, they have a huge impact on our ability to connect with and act on our intuition, because what they REALLY point to is our lack of belief in our own abilities. We dismiss the messages we get, because we don’t believe we are intuitive/psychic/whatever you want to call it.
How do we get round this?
One way is to EXPECT to be intuitive. The fact is that we’re all intuitive, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that fact. It’s a sense you were born with, just as you were with your other senses. It’s meant to work alongside your analytical mind. You’re meant to use it, so expect your intuition to operate.
If that’s not working for you, then another way is to BE CURIOUS about your intuition. Try things out. Test your ability. Ask yourself “What if …?” questions. “What if I were an intuitive? If I were, what would my intuition be telling me right now in this situation?”
Maybe you’re having to make a decision about something, and you’re stumped as to which would be the better course of action. You decide to run it past your intuition. It could go something like this:
“OK, I don’t think I’m intuitive. But what if I were? How would I be feeling if I took course (a)? And what if I took course (b)?” You then allow yourself to notice/feel how you react to each choice. Ideally you practise this on things that aren’t really important to begin with, so that you get to know what it feels like when your intuition is in action! Practice is key to strong intuitive growth.
Obviously, these aren’t the only methods you can use to build up your confidence in your ability, but they’re good ideas to start you off.
KNOW YOUR INTUITIVE ID
Harry Potter had it easy. He had the Sorting Hat. It told him a lot about himself – a sort of magical self-profiler that gave him information about his magical identity.
So – assuming you don’t have a handy Sorting Hat available – what do you know about YOUR intuitive identity? How do you find out about it?
Well, you start by noticing how you get what you get. Ask questions of yourself –
How do you tend to get your intuitive input? Do you sense things? Or do you get words or pictures in your mind? Do you feel things, physically, emotionally? Or do you hear things? These are important questions to ask yourself. Knowing HOW you tend to pick things up intuitively is a major step in developing your intuition. You can then work on improving that skill.
But here’s the thing: do this self-exploration, and you’ll be doing a whole lot more than simply improving an intuitive technique. It’ll start you on an amazing journey into yourself, because, frankly, it’s impossible to become more intuitive without developing your self-knowledge/awareness.
I published a post a while back that included a quiz to help you figure out what your intuitive mode is likely to be. CLICK HERE if you missed it.
Have you ever tried to catch the attention of someone who’s super-busy or super-focused on what they’re doing? I’m betting that all you got back was a half-acknowledgment, maybe a grunt or if you were lucky, an impatient “Yes, OK!” And you just knew they hadn’t heard anything you’d just said.
Well, that’s often pretty much the way we react to our intuition. It’s half-heard, often ignored, rarely acted upon.
Add to that the fact that intuitive signals are usually on the subtle side and yes, Houston, we have a problem. The thing is, we have to learn to PAY ATTENTION to our intuition. More than that, we need to cultivate an ATTITUDE of ATTENTION.
But how to do that?
Well, becoming more aware of our intuitive ID and how we operate intuitively does help. If you know that weird feeling at the back of your neck tends to mean something, you’re more likely to pay attention to it.
Also, a regular practice of going quiet – meditation, mindfulness, making yourself available to the Great They – helps. In fact, I’d say it’s crucial to our intuitive growth.
I offer a practice called The Ten Minute Rule in my development classes, which simply means going quiet for ten minutes every day. No effort involved, no rituals to follow; just qoing quiet and making oneself available to God/Source/Spirit/ whatever your name for That which sits at the centre of all things is. The benefits of doing this very simple practice are enormous, so try it – click on the pink box below to download a helpful little booklet all about the Ten Minute Rule.
You can’t really pay attention properly if you’re distracted or all over the place, so being grounded is essential to good intuitive practice.
Being grounded is more about attitude than anything else. Let me say that again: being grounded is more about attitude than anything else.
Yes, there are crystals and talismans and mantras and affirmations we can use to help us ground, but they don’t do the work for us, they support us. WE have to put the work in to become grounded. Grounding is ultimately about being, so work at developing a grounded attitude as a matter of course.
And how do you do that? Well, for a start, don’t dramatize; don’t exaggerate; don’t egotize. Alongside lack of self-belief, ego and drama are intuition’s biggest saboteurs. Remember, your intuition is a life skill that’s meant to help you life your life well and effectively AND be of service to others. It’s not about being a guru, or part of an elite group, or living your life Most Haunted style.
For those times when you get knocked off balance (and we all do from time to time), there are simple practices you can do to help you anchor back.
Honestly, the simplest way to bring yourself back on an even keel is to breathe – but breathe consciously. I made good use of this earlier today. I don’t sleep too well round the time of a Full Moon, and I can feel a bit jittery in the mornings as a result. So on my way to my office this morning, I took five or six really deep belly breaths and let them out slowly, and within about ten minutes, I felt much more grounded and ready to face the day.
The STOP Exercise
This is a direct lift from the Alexander Technique! Whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment, and then do it thoughtfully, mindfully. If you’re reaching for a mug, just stop for a second, and then do it consciously. Notice how your hand feels as you reach out for the mug. Notice how the mug feels in your hand. Listen to the sound of the water filling the mug – etc, etc. These micro-practices are very effective as grounding exercises, because they bring you back into yourself and into the moment.
The RIGHT NOW Exercise
If you’re feeling off-centre, stop for a moment and then
- Notice how your body is feeling – right now.
- Notice what you can hear – right now.
- Notice what you can smell – right now.
- Notice what you can see around you – right now.
- If you’re eating, notice what you can taste – right now.
Once again, what you’re doing here is using your senses to bring yourself back into yourself.
LEARN TO DISCERN
One of the most important things we can learn as we grow intuitively is discernment. Because we are creatures of emotion and logic, as well as intuition, we need to be able to distinguish between the various ‘voices’ that speak within us.
When I have to make a big decision, which ‘voices’ are speaking within me about it? Is it the voice of my intuition? Or is it the voice of my fear? Is it the voice of my desire?
Is it my fear that’s stopping me buying this house, or is it my intuition telling me not to?
Is my total infatuation with this guy blocking my intuition about the relationship?
Is it my fear in the guise of practicality that’s keeping me in this job? Or do I need to leave it?
Our fears and our desires can create a lot of noise around the intuitive signals we’re getting, so it’s important to learn how to discern.
How do we do this? Through knowing ourselves better. By paying more attention to our input and learning more about ourselves and how we operate, we learn to distinguish between the various voices in ourselves. (I offer a course called The Committee of Selves which relates directly to this whole aspect of intuitive development – CLICK HERE to find out more).
Fundamentally, intuition is all about reading and interpreting the energy of people, places and events, past, present and future. As intuitives, I believe we read and interpret the language of energy – which isn’t as daunting as you may suppose. It involves paying attention, noticing what we’re experiencing when we get an intuitive hit, and then learning to translate it into conventional language. That’s why I often think of intuitives as translators/interpreters, because to me that’s what we are – interpreters of the energy patterns that we’re able to detect.
Now, the language of intuition can be literal or symbolic, so let’s have a look at what this means.
Literal messages are usually of the ‘what you see is what you get’ kind. They may seem as though they’re the easiest to translate, but sometimes, they’re not straightforward.
A good example of a literal-but-strange download occurred for me on one occasion with a new and slightly nervous client. The minute she sat down, the room was filled with little dachshunds, all running round sniffing, tails a-wag. They weren’t literally there, of course; I could just see them in my mind’s eye. It was a real distraction, and I hadn’t a clue why I was getting this picture. I did know that an image that made no sense to me often did make sense to the client, so I said, “Ok, before we start, I just need to mention that, since you came in, the room’s been absolutely full of little dachshunds running all over the place, and I …”
That’s as far as I got, because said client burst out with, “Oh my God – it’s my mother!”
“Your mother??” I asked, puzzled.
“Yes – my mother. She used to breed dachshunds. She must be here … I guess that means this is the right place for me to be then!”
And we went from there.
The image of those little dogs had come through as a confirmation she could trust what I had to say. I could have ignored it, but by paying attention to it, I was able to offer something meaningful to my client from the start, which helped her relax, as well as trust what came through subsequently.
But very often, intuitive hits come through less clearly, and we have to give ourselves time to interpret what we’re getting. You need to ask yourself, “What is this feeling? Why am I feeling it?” and then allow it to express itself to you as an image, or in silent words, or just as ‘gnowing’.
Images in particular benefit from being given time to develop, since they’re often symbolic.
- The piece of limp lettuce I once saw as symbolising a boyfriend a client was severely disenchanted with turned out to be a more than accurate description of him
- The cart with the wobbly wheel travelling across a dusty desert seen by my friend Archy gave an accurate picture of a relationship not going well
- The image I was given of the Fat Controller from the Thomas the Tank Engine books was a warning about the trouble my gall bladder was in (only I didn’t pay enough attention at the time, to my later detriment …).
You get the idea. You get a picture, or a feeling, or words in your head. You then have to give them time to develop, for detail to fill in, for a greater sense of ‘gnowing’ to come to you.
You have to learn your own intuitive language, a language that’s unique to you.
Working with imagery is a powerful skill, and I’ll be running a new course on this during 2018, called Symbolic Imaging. In the meantime, if you’re interested, you can read Dina Glouberman’s book, Life Choices, Life Changes – this is one of the best books on image work around, in my view. You can click straight through to Amazon here to learn more about it and buy it directly:
Yes, this old chestnut. It’s an old chestnut because IT WORKS. It provides you with feedback.
At the very least, keeping some notes of our intuitive journeys is useful, because we forget what happens. We forget the times when we acted on our intuition, when we listened and followed through and things worked out as a result. Looking back through your journal can remind you of the hits you got, the times you were accurate. And this builds up your confidence in your ability.
You can make this as simple or as complex as you like. You can write bullet points or you can write screeds – whatever works for you.
You can do what I call a Top n Tail Journal, where you briefly set things in motion in the morning, and spend a bit longer reflecting on your day in the evening:
Make notes on
- How you felt on waking
- Any dreams you can remember, even if it’s just brief snatches. Our intuition sometimes grabs the opportunity of speaking to us through our dreams – it’s when logic is out of the way!
- Set intention for the day. This could include something like, “I will pay attention and notice when my intuition is signalling me.”
- Scan the day for intuitive moments/hits.
Did you just ‘know’ something with somebody today? Did it turn out to be accurate?
Did something you’d picked up on in the last few/weeks/months days play out? How?
Did something you’ve been dwelling on NOT happen? Which ‘voice’ do you think had been speaking – your intuition or your fear/desire?
- Note three things from the day just gone that you’re grateful for.
- Before you sleep, say to yourself something like, “I believe in and trust my intuition.”
But above all, use your journal to NOTICE how you’re using and developing your intuition – you’ll grow more confident by doing this.
And finally …
USE your intuition. You don’t learn to drive a car simply by just sitting behind the wheel and never switching the engine on. You have to fire up the ignition and start moving – learning how to use the pedals, the steering wheel, the gears and how to drive safely, preferably with a good instructor. And alongside that, you need to learn how to maintain your vehicle, to keep it going in good order. And then of course, there are the rules of the road …
It’s a good analogy. Learning how to use your intuition isn’t much different. In both cases, you have to get moving, if you’re going to learn. However tentatively, however cautiously, however clumsily you feel you might be doing it – just START!