How to Develop Intuition
Q: Does everyone have an intuitive ability?
Yes. Everyone is born with an active intuitive awareness, otherwise known as the instinct for survival. Because this is essentially an unused sense, which is typically not valued or is feared, most parents teach it out of their children at a very early age.
Q: Are you saying that intuition is nothing more than a glorified survival instinct?
Intuition is a refined version, yes. Before the modern age when humans were on an even playing field with all other animals, the instinct for survival was extremely heightened and developed. This was as necessary a sense as any other. And because it was used as much as seeing or hearing, it was a dependably reliable means of acquiring information for everyone.
Q: How was it used then?
In much the same way that any pack or herd animal uses it today: for telepathic distance communication, for locating animals and water, to know which plants were edible, to sense changing weather patterns, to sense and respond to impending danger, and to identify friend and foe.
Q: When did people with intuitive abilities start getting singled out for praise or scorn?
As humans developed the ability to build lasting shelters and learned how to cultivate food, their sense of security and safety grew, and their sense of vulnerability lessened. They no longer had the need to know beyond what the five senses could tell them, and so the sixth sense quickly started going dormant in most people.
As settlements grew and became widespread, people continued to move further away from the need for intuition. Only a few people here and there retained their intuitive sense.
While humans were still fairly close to their primitive past, intuitive people were valued and became the Oracles, Shamans, and Medicine people. As societies moved further away from a natural way of life, exposure to people who had these abilities diminished or disappeared. Add burgeoning religions to this mix, where only saints or devils could have this ability, and it’s not hard to understand how the persecution of people with these “unusual” abilities arose.
While an intuitive person today is not commonly in danger of being persecuted,s/he is still usually looked at askance and considered an oddity, a curiosity, or a fraud. Though as people continue to progress spiritually, there is a rekindled interest in intuition. This is because intuition and spirituality are deeply entwined. You cannot pursue one without running into the other.
Q: What exactly is intuition?
It is the spontaneous knowing of something that one has no way of consciously knowing. Or so it appears to one whose intuition is dormant. It often just looks like a neat parlor trick.
To one whose intuition is awake, it’s the ability to use all of one’s clear senses to look at the larger patterns (energy fields) that are in play and to be able to interpret and apply that information in much the same way that a creative person is able to make connections in leaps and bounds.
Q: How can we develop our intuition?
It is already developed; you already have it. There is not a person alive who has not had an intuitive experience. Most people choose to repress and/or ignore these when they happen.
The problem is in the definition of what you believe intuition to be.
Q: What do most people think it is?
Most believe that only the most extreme examples of intuition—visions, predicting the future, reading minds—qualify. To a large extent, intuition is very subtle, more like a hunch or gut feeling unaccompanied by bells and whistles.
The intuition that most people think of when that word is used is someone who has the ability to see pictures in their minds of events along any timeline: past, present, or future. So when people want to know about intuition, what they really want to know is where do these pictures come from, and why are some people able to see them when most other people cannot, because this is the general understanding of intuition.
People are much less aware that intuition can be experienced through any one of the senses, or multiple senses, or all senses. The more refined a person’s intuition, the clearer the senses, the more they receive information on all levels.
When people ask to develop intuition, what they are asking is how can they see these pictures in their heads. The answer is that not everyone will see pictures. How you normally receive information will influence the way you receive intuition.
If you are not a visual person, meaning you don’t think in images, then it’s not likely that you will see intuition in images. It’s more likely that you will hear words in your head telling you this or that is going to happen. Or you will feel it in the stomach or the chest. People who receive information in this way usually have good intuition but a strong intellect that wants to override the intuitive self, not allowing it to come to the conscious level in words or images. But they do not know how to prevent the solar plexus from receiving the shock of information, so the stomach and/or the chest tightens as the information comes in because it is the person’s way of saying, “I don’t want to know more.”
One of the first things required to begin developing intuitively is to learn to relax and to learn to identify emotions as they impact the body. All emotions cause a concussion to the body someplace. When you tighten up against that concussion, you effectively shut out any information being conveyed by that emotion or intuition.
So, first, it helps to identify where in the body you feel the concussion. Then, as with Aikido, if you learn to move with this energy, rather than resist it, not only does it not cause discomfort, but it is easy to begin knowing what this information is trying to tell you simply by asking the body, What are you feeling right now and why? And the body will tell you, “I feel tense right now because the person sitting next to me is full of difficult emotions and I am protecting myself.” Or, “The person next to me is full of sad emotions and I do not wish to feel sad.”
Once you learn to relax the body to incoming information, then you can begin playing 20 questions: “What is it I feel and why? Is there a sudden change in my emotional state for no reason? And if so, why?”
Most people are receivers of other people’s emotions rather than generators of their own emotions. Because people don’t spend enough time alone with themselves, most people don’t know this about themselves.
When one becomes clear on the emotional level then one is receptive to this kind of information and learns to welcome it as a means of identifying and relieving resulting tensions causes by others’ emotions.
Once one is adept at identifying incoming emotions, one can start bringing this up to the conscious level, first in the solar plexus, meaning the physical body tenses in self-defense. Next heart, meaning the heart tenses in a reaction to an emotion that it does not originate. When the heart relearns to relax and takes in the emotion, then it moves to the throat chakra. When one can begin attaching words to these incoming emotions or images, then one is able to bring it to the Third Eye and begin seeing the images. And when one can accept the images, one brings them into the Crown Chakra, which is the nonphysical energy body transmission of information.
To begin seeing images, one first needs to begin recording dreams. Most intuition for most people occurs most frequently in the dream state. If you are not recording your dreams you are missing much precognitive, intuitive information.
Also, working with the dreams is a very safe, comfortable way to begin opening up because there’s no way you can take responsibility for what you dream. Your dreams come and you watch them as a movie. So you can record an image and not be attached to whether it’s right or wrong, because it’s“just a dream” you won’t feel that you generated it, rather, as a bystander, you watched it. Then you will begin seeing these events unfold because you will have a journal to keep track of.
As you begin seeing how you receive intuition and what your symbols are, it will begin triggering intuitive events and experiences in the waking state. Then you need to go through the same process again: recording your waking impressions, writing down where and when, and what context they happened in. Then, when you see them unfold in physical time, make a notation. Over time, this practice will refine the ability to a point where it becomes available at will rather than as random experiences.
Intuition flourishes with an open mind, and an ability to overcome the fear of being wrong, an ability to not pass judgment on yourself for what you receive or don’t receive, and an ability to stay healthy psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually so that you don’t go off the deep end with delusional thinking.
The need to know is a powerful trigger for intuition. Unfortunately, for many people, it can also clog the intuitive channel because it becomes clouded with emotional needs, which can quickly plug up the whole system. This is why meditation is so helpful, because in that relaxed open state, the need to know is not about power, or control, or protection, or being right. It’s about the curious greater consciousness seeking greater understanding.
Desiring the creative, inspirational experience changes the dynamic tremendously from a very closed, gripping, claw-like holding on energy to a very releasing, open, freeing energy. One cannot trap intuition like a hawk swooping down to pick up a hapless mouse. One can only experience intuition by letting go and opening up—the very opposite of how most people seek to acquire it.
Q: You’ve said everyone has it working. Can you give some examples of how average people experience it?
Most people describe these subtle intuitive murmurings as luck, a hunch, a gut feeling, good instincts, or good judgment of character. It may be as simple as knowing who is calling when the phone rings or knowing what someone is going to say before they say it. Once you grasp that intuition is really the ability to read and understand energy fields, you’ll see that there are hundreds of ways in which people do this.
Here is a brief list of examples: having a special touch with young children, or animals; having a knack for picking stocks that do well, or investing in properties that appreciate; spotting trends; having a good sense of direction; having a green thumb.
Do you see that you could interchange intrinsic talent with intuition? Where are your natural instincts, where are you naturally drawn over and over again? That’s where you’ll find your working intuition. That’s where you’ll find that you instinctively understand and can use energy fields to your advantage.
If you do not find having a green thumb as an especially impressive example of intuition then you have some work to do to disentangle yourself from the stereotype of what you believe intuition to be
Q: What is the work we need to do to reconnect with our intuition?
First, leave behind the notion that only the sensational events qualify. Second, realize that intuition takes place in the now. By meditating regularly to lengthen your stay in the now, you will automatically increase your intuitive experiences.
Next, one must thoroughly reacquaint oneself with the senses so that one can more ably pay attention to the information they are relaying.
Take a few moments each day to work with each one. For example, stop throughout the day and identify as many sounds as you can hear. Make a habit of touching objects around you. Set up blind taste tests with various foods and spices. Periodically, really stop and look at what you’re looking at as though it is the first time you’re seeing it. These are simple easy exercises that, when done regularly, will dramatically amplify your awareness of and your experience with your intuition.
Then one must tackle learning to listen to that little voice within. And finally, the hardest part of all, one must develop a working relationship with that voice by learning to trust it. One does that by acting on this inner knowing time and time again until it becomes second nature.
Q: Are you saying that developing trust may be even more important than practicing?
As stated, everyone has intuition. What you are trying to establish is an understandable language to interface with your intuition. In truth, practicing doesn’t really determine your intuitive ability. But it does help you to begin to start building a vocabulary.
Practicing will also play a large part in determining your comfort level with your intuitive ability. Increasing your comfort level is vital to get you to pay attention to your intuition so that you can develop a track record with yourself to begin gaining self-confidence and trust.
This, in turn, determines the frequency with which you are going to have, for lack of a better expression, memorable experiences with it. So practice is critical, but not for the reasons you might think.
Q: So fear of being wrong is a big barrier.
The fear of being wrong is an overall inhibiting agent. It acts to prohibit the senses from collecting and feeding data to the intuitive part of the brain. The intellect says, “I can’t ‘know’ that,” intuition follows suit and says, “I don’t know that.”
When, in fact, you can and do know that, but you’re afraid of what you can know. So you prevent that sense and that part of the brain from developing. And sure enough, over time, you obliterate trust in the ability to listen to yourself to intuitively know more. This is where Intellectual Fear steps in and says, “If I can’t touch it or see it, it doesn’t exist.”
With desire, persistence, and gentle coaxing, you can help your intuition bloom. Starting out, try not to place unrealistic expectations or demands on it. Instead, see it as a beautiful wild animal whose trust you are trying to gain by sitting still in gentle alertness as you allow it to approach untouched until you know each other well enough to sit comfortably side by side.