Intuition: What it is, What it isn’t, and How to tune in

Intuition is defined as ‘the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning’. So, in other words, it’s a hunch, inkling, or an inexplicable feeling to do something that may or may not make sense to you or anyone else. Some people seem to be born with a natural ability to tune in, trust, and act on their own inner wisdom.

Not me.

I had to earn my understanding of intuition through trial and error—a lot of trial and error. What I mean is, that for a long time, I made decisions based on what I thought was best, without tuning into how I felt about things. Or, I’d turn to other people or outside influences to make a decision for me. What resulted was a lot of road blocks and lessons to be learned.

It took me a long time to realize that all I really needed to do was tune into how I felt, trust the feeling, and then have the courage to follow through with whatever was coming up. If you’re anything like me, that’s easier said than done. I spent a long time in limbo about what was what… (Is that my gut telling me to follow my dream, or to eat a sandwich??)…but I promise you, over time, you’ll hone in on the messages of your soul as they come through your heart and your body. I still consider myself a rookie when it comes to trusting my intuition, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

What intuition is:

Intuition is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger it gets, the more you’ll trust that it will hold you up.

Intuition doesn’t often speak to you directly through your thoughts. It’s more of a feeling that vibrates your bones, shakes up your heart, signals your body, or sends butterflies to your belly. And because of its elusive form of communication, you’ve got to learn to listen to your bones, your heart, your body and your belly if you’re going to pick up on the messages it’s trying to convey.

Intuition is ALWAYS in line with what’s best for you—even if you don’t know what that is yet—when you’re ready to know, you will. In the meantime, have faith.

Intuition has always been, and always will be part of you—no matter what. Even if you’ve never listened, or even considered it before, it’s there, waiting patiently, for you to tune in.

Intuition speaks to you in the present moment. If you’re having trouble listening, get present, no matter how uncomfortable the present moment might be. Moving through discomfort takes you right into the heart of intuition and that’s where you’ll find clarity and peace.

Intuition makes you feel loved, spacious, grateful, supported and connected with something much bigger than you. It is something you can lean on, fall into, or surrender to completely. A little leap of faith is all that’s required. Offer your trust, and you’ll be caught—every time.

Now, for what it isn’t:

It will never make you feel bad—ever.

It will never make you feel uncomfortable—unless the discomfort is of the variety that comes from developing growth and strength, such as overcoming fear or obstacles that are meant to be conquered for your own divine purposes.

It will never, ever leave you. If you are having trouble tuning in, or finding direction—ask. Then listen, and then repeat as often as necessary until you get the message that you seek. (But be prepared, it might not be what you expected).

It will never put you down. If you feel like you’re receiving guidance, but it’s coming through your thoughts with a negative or degrading tone, then that’s not intuition, that’s inner critic. In order to know the difference, notice how the message makes you feel. If you feel closed, contracted, or heavy, then show your inner critic the door and open up space for Grace.

It will never make you feel stuck. If you feel stuck, take a look at your thoughts—are they forming around the past or the future? Get present, and then feel from that space.

Now, a bit about how to tune in:

As I had mentioned, one of the keys to listening is to bring your awareness to the present moment, and since the mind loves to hang out anywhere but here, bring your awareness to your body.

Learning to listen to your body doesn’t have to be complicated—just start with something simple, like feeling your breath, hearing your pulse, or noticing your belly rise and fall. And because your inner wise self is just dying to talk to you, if you give it even one bit of attention, it will open up and embrace you like a long, lost friend.

Stick with the present moment long enough to feel any agitation begin to dissolve. No matter how frustrated, irritated, lost, angry or emotional you are, there is peace at the center. Stay in the present moment, and I promise you, those barriers to peace will dissolve, and you’ll find yourself free, open, and ready to hear what your heart has to say.

This post originally appeared on my first blog, www.emilyparkinsonperry.com on March 11, 2015.

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