Imagine feeling such an abiding sense of inner security that no matter what’s happening in your life, you deeply KNOW that everything’s OK. That’s what it’s like when you trust your intuition. So what is intuition?
I define intuition as a set of inner, metaphysical competencies that act like a rudder, helping to guide you through life. There are different modalities through which we can experience our intuition, including visual, aural, kinaesthetic and sometimes even olfactory. We may use one or more of these competencies; typically most people are dominant in one area.
A strong visual sense gives us the power to inner-see in images, flashes of colour or even movie-like scenes unfolding on the inside of your eyelids. Some people may even experience this inner-sight physically, such as when you see shadows in your peripheral vision or auras.
A strong aural sense is when you inner-hear messages; sometimes this hearing can seem physical. The intuitive inner voice will often speak to you using a short phrase that carries with it a powerful energy.
Having these spiritual experiences of inner-seeing or hearing are not the same as the kinds of visual or auditory hallucinations experienced in psychotic episodes, which are normally accompanied by fear and emotional imbalance. Genuine intuition comes from a place of a loving, balanced energy.
A strong kinaesthetic sense is when you feel what your intuition is telling you – this may take the form of strong “gut feelings,” goosebumps or even a pervasive inner-knowing. At the gross level you may experience strong physical sensation, especially when picking up on negative emotion. However, at the subtle levels there may not be a distinct physical sensation other than a sense of knowing.
An olfactory sense is when you metaphysically smell something typically connected with a deceased loved one or the presence of angels – I’ve had clients describe smelling a scent that a relative would wear as distinctly as if they were smelling it from a perfume bottle. The olfactory experience is not as common as the other modalities.
Skeptics will say: “this is just your imagination” and “you’re making it all up” – as if to discredit intuitive messages. However, imagination, intuition, psychic ability, and creativity all describe aspects of the same metaphysical phenomenon. The more you trust your intuition, the more accurate and useful your ability will become. So it’s worth it to practice listening at a deeper level.
Like any skill, intuition develops with experience. Most importantly, the more Love you bring to your practice, the more powerful your intuition will become.
All human beings have the capacity to develop their intuition if they wish, but five main obstacles get in their way. These are:
When beset by anxiety and worry, we may cling rigidly to rule-bound ways of being that give us a sense of certainty. Thus, if you want something to happen in life, you believe that following particular steps will ensure a desired outcome.
In that fearful mindset, we tend to ignore input that doesn’t follow the rules, thus giving up spontaneity and the opportunity to experience something new. The problem is, we look towards a repeat of past experiences for that certainty. Alternatively, we place our faith in an authority with the weight of “science” behind it.
Nothing is more certain to block intuition than shutting it down in favour of “certainty,” since intuition brings in newness, surprising insights and awe. There’s nothing certain about intuition. It may bring only a fragment of information in, then leave you wondering what to do next. It’s an invitation to step into the unknown, to trust life and to be curious about what unfolds. In other words, it has a flexible quality to it, like new life springing into being, which is the antithesis of rigidity.
There are times when your intuition sends you a powerful message, but your emotional neediness prevents you from acting on it. When you demand for reality to be a certain way, your intuition nonetheless guides you towards reality as it is. Then, you may find yourself pushing against reality with all your might.
For example if you want an intimate relationship to be a certain way but the person you’re with doesn’t have the capacity for open, loving communication, then you might be tempted to go all out to change that person, demanding that he toe the line. You ignore all information about him that contradicts what you want him to be – and become quite upset with friends or family who point out what you may secretly know, but deny.
However, life is generous and even when you make a mistake, your intuition will continue whispering to you, giving you the opportunity to turn your adversity around and experience ever more Love and kindness.
Trying to manipulate relationships into what I wanted them to be used to be familiar territory for me. Probably the worst mistake was becoming involved with a guy who would end up committing suicide. Paradoxically, that was the best thing that happened too (like I said, Life always gets it right). You’ll see what I mean when you read more about my story here.
Your intuition has no vested interest in helping you understand something. It won’t give you a manual, send handy hints or offer for you to phone a friend. It often comes in fragments; cryptic pieces of information with no encouragement or spoon-feeding. Any demands – including demanding to understand will turn the tap off. No amount of foot-stamping or temper tantrums will switch it back on again.
Lack of trust is perhaps the biggest impediment to developing your intuition. The messages you receive may appear so odd, so left-of-centre that you tell yourself, “no, that can’t be right” – especially when on a superficial level there is evidence to the contrary.
For example, let’s say you meet Shane and the hairs on the back of your neck instantly prick up. Yet Shane is handsome, well-dressed and charming. He’s educated, knows what he’s talking about and even has a terrific sense of humour! How could anything possibly be off? Your intuition knows it, but you dismiss it to your peril. Especially if Shane turns out to be a psychopath who turns your life upside down. But that might be two years’ down the track – by that time you know too much. Yet when you first met, you only had a (big) hint of what to expect.
When your mind is full of chatter, particularly thoughts of the past projected into the future with the concomitant worry, stress, anxiety and fear, then the noise will drown out the quieter voice of your intuition.
Sometimes your mind can race so fast you can’t even process your thoughts – this is called “thought stacking.” If you choose to believe your thoughts, run after them, react to them, then they’ll take you this way and that – and you’ll be sending yourself a message that your thoughts are more important to you than your intuition.
Your mind is designed to do a job, not to run your life. For example, use your mind to write a report or balance the books. Don’t use your mind to guide you towards peace and fulfilment. These experiences are “out-of-mind” and cannot be grasped by the intellect.
It can be very challenging to let go of the thinking, intellectual mind and bring yourself into the present moment, but that is where peace is, the gateway to all things throughout all space and time.
When you develop trust in yourself, your intuition will grow. You may not always get it right. But if you listen with a curious mind you’ll be taken in fruitful new directions. The key is to stop being so demanding!
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As an Empath Entrepreneur, I’m especially interested in helping professional women who want to take their amazing skills into a new online business with the aim of building a location independent income. I’ve had over 10 years’ experience in creating a compelling online presence. In fact, if you Google: “Dr Sophie Henshaw,” you’ll get over 201,000 hits with all the posts, articles and media appearances I’ve made over the years. I’ve appeared on Channel 10, 6PR, Fremantle Herald and WA Today. I’ve had articles published in PsychCentral, Women’s Agenda, NineMSN Health, Rebelle Society and Huffington Post. I’m currently a Thought Catalog contributor. P.S. I also practice as a clinical psychologist in my "offline" life!
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