As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
About this time last year, I went to a lecture given by Sophy Burnham at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. I’d never heard of Sophy until seeing the event in the festival program, but the title of her new book, The Art of Intuition: Cultivating Your Inner Wisdom caught my eye and for some reason I felt compelled to go to her talk.
This was actually my first lesson. Always do what you feel compelled to do.
Something was calling me to this experience and I’m glad I listened. As soon as I walked into the dimly lit room, I felt at home. I was a little late to the event and Sophy was already talking about angels and dreams and divine intervention and that little voice in your head that always tells you when something’s wrong. Now, I would usually squirm when people talk about stuff like that, but at that moment I realized that I actually needed to hear everything she was saying. The past couple years have been an incredible period of spiritual transformation for me and hearing Sophy talk about intuition reaffirmed my deep belief in God’s presence in my life. I ended up attending another spirituality-based lecture at the Festival and not surprisingly, I received the same message.
I went back to the bed and breakfast where I was staying and devoured Sophy’s book in just a few hours. Some parts of the book did freak me out a bit – like the chapters on psychics and auras. What was most interesting was the discussion of “intuitives” – people who just know things and they really can’t explain how. I immediately thought of my mom and my grandmother. All my life, they’ve made comments like “something told me to…” in response to why they took a particular action in their lives. At times, I’ve believed my mom to be psychic, as she has such a heightened awareness of not just what’s currently happening, but what’s about to happen. Before there was caller ID, she somehow already knew who was calling on the phone before she even picked up.
I can now identify what my mom and grandma have as intuition. Sophy referred to this as having “divine brilliance” or an innate ability to recognize the “hunch” that tells you to “do this, not that.” She said that the further along we are on our spiritual journey, the more we’ll be in tune with our intuition.
In her book, Sophy offered several ideas for cultivating intuition, two of which I’ve chosen to incorporate more fully into my life.
Listen to Your Inner Voice
Call it intuition, call it your inner voice, call it your gut, call it whatever you want. The point is that there is always something within you that gives you an internal “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” about any challenging circumstance or pending decision you may have. Sometimes it’s subconscious, through a dream (or nightmare) for example. Other times, your inner voice is more conscious in the moment, like if you’ve ever physically felt a negative vibe from someone you meet for the first time. Your mind and body will send you cues for how to react in any given situation, you just have to be paying attention.
Incorporate Meditation into Your Daily Life
If you don’t think you’ve ever heard your inner voice, you might want to spend some time cultivating it. Meditation is a powerful practice that encourages you to be still and find the quiet place within yourself where you become more aware of who you are. Most mornings, I sit for a few moments on my yoga mat. Sometimes in silence, sometimes while listening to my relaxing Lifescapes “Ocean Waves” CD. I also have a mediation ritual that simply involves me walking around the neighborhood as a “noticer.” My goal in these short walks is not only to get some fresh air, but to really “see” what’s happening around me and take note of little things like how many squirrels run up the tree on the corner or the way the sky looks on a cloudy day. I try not to think too much, just being aware of my surroundings and keeping my mind clear. I always feel a renewed sense of clarity after these walks and often receive the solution to a dilemma I was facing once I get back to whatever I need to do that day.
In the end, I think that whenever we allow ourselves to hear the still, small voice of God, we receive the answer telling us exactly what we should do.
What has your experience been with cultivating your own intuition?