Intuition is a superpower we all possess—a type of secret inner gift. It is your most sacred, trustworthy, brilliant internal guidance system. And yet most of us override, negate, dismiss, or forget about this precious present. We go to our head before we go to our heart to fit in to a fast-paced, intellectualized society.
And while our brains are absolutely brilliant in their ability to help us find logic and make sense of things, they don't have a deeper connection to the world around us. Some call this deeper connection divine intelligence, source energy, or infinite knowing. It's the inner voice that tells you to apply for the job you think is beyond your reach or avoid a person who seems great on paper but makes you uncomfortable. It’s that instant knowing or feeling in your gut. And it's something we should all be paying more attention to. Now.
Your intuition is quite literally your most accurate, personalized guide through the ups and downs in life. I have found that my most miraculous moments came when I listened to my intuition. Conversely, my "oh crap, what did I do?" moments occur when I don’t listen to my inner guidance system.
Here are five practices that can help you develop a rock-star intuition:
1. Daily meditation.
Meditation deserves all the hype it’s getting. In truth, it’s not as complicated or overwhelming as it sounds. All you need is a place to sit still (or lie down) and time set aside to go within. This means breathing with attention and nonjudgmental awareness and quieting your mind with a mantra or guided meditation. The goal is to quiet your mind, not stop all thought. Intuition thrives and grows out of this still environment, which is why creating an inner atmosphere of stillness and calm is so crucial. My recommendation is 10 minutes a day, but even three minutes can have a massive positive effect on your ability to tune in.
2. Tune in to your body wisdom.
Now that you are practicing breathing with intention, it’s time to start asking yourself some new questions. Powerful questions shape our focus and lead to powerful new results. Think of yourself like a scientist, someone who observes what transpires without judgment. Your job is to ask questions, take copious notes, and follow patterns.
Crack open your intuition using questions like, "What does sadness feel like, and where is it located in my body?" "What does love, excitement, or loneliness feel like? Where are these emotions located?" Then observe. Do you feel anger as a tightness in your chest or joy as a warmth in your belly? How does it feel when you listen to your intuition or when you ignore it? Our intuition loves to express itself through emotions and bodily sensations. Use your body wisdom to your advantage.
3. Heart/belly intuition practice.
Another excellent way to develop your intuition is to pause and ask yourself what you are feeling in your heart and gut. Our enteric nervous system (where the gut lives) is known as the second brain, and we have almost as many sensory neurons in our gut as our brain. Needless to say, your intuition often presents itself through the gut.
Try adding a physical component to the practice by putting one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. For some, it might seem odd to try to locate what you feel inside your body. For others, it will be second nature. Remember that whatever you sense and feel is perfect for you. You might sense a color or picture if you’re visual or hear a sound or melody if you’re auditory. Or perhaps you feel a warm, tingly feeling in your heart or an aching in your belly. It’s my belief that we have incredible access to a myriad of sensory experiences. It just takes time, patience, and practice, but it's well worth it. If you’re feeling incredibly eager, you could create an alarm on your phone to go off every hour in which you pause to ask what you are feeling. I'll often do this at a red light, to check in during those in-between moments.
4. Intuitive writing.
For this exercise, you just need a journal, notebook or digital device, your favorite pen, and time to be still. Lighting a candle and putting on soft meditative music in the background can also help you drop in. Then, ask your higher self some questions. Converse with that non-ego, soul-driven side, asking questions like, "What would you have me know in this situation?" "What would be the best solution here for the highest good of all?" Or you can ask yourself questions that are open-ended, such as, "I am feeling lost, please give me some wisdom here…"
Once you ask these questions, you can pause, close your eyes, and allow yourself to get very still. Then grab the journal and write whatever comes up. This is a no-editing zone. It’s crucial to let go of any restraint or judgment. This practice alone has led me to some of my most miraculous inner realizations.
5. Find an intuitive accountability partner.
To paraphrase a term I heard at a support group years ago, "Don’t ever do life alone." Your chances of sticking with new habits and behaviors increases exponentially when you have someone keeping you accountable. Find someone in your life who is working on strengthening their intuition too and embark on the beautiful journey of watching synchronicities unfold and inner wisdom blossom together. My intuitive accountability partner and I connect almost every day, whether we're speaking on the phone, sending texts, or leaving messages. Remember, what you focus on expands. If you want to cultivate the secret inner gift that is waiting for you, it will be a lot more fun and magical to find someone to work with.
Be patient with yourself as you're working to cultivate your intuition, especially if it's something you haven't paid much attention to in the past. Just like a new pair of shoes, your intuition needs time to be worn in, played with, and taken for a stroll through your daily activities.
Could you use a little help quieting the mind to make way for intuition to shine through? Check out mbg's essential guide to meditation with world-class teacher Charlie Knoles.