Intuition is one of humankind’s most important skills.
While millions of people frequently search for online psychics for life advice, the truth is, this:your gut instinct is your best guide.
When you tap into your intuition you are able to hear the deepest wisdoms from within your own mind.
Your intuition will empower you to let go, to trust yourself, and to make the most of the power of your subconscious mind.
But let’s start with the basics. Just what the hoo-haa is intuition?
What Is The Meaning Of Intuition? And Why Does Intuition Matter So Much?
If you have ever felt as though some secret voice inside your head were guiding you, you have experienced a moment of intuition.
Take this example:
One day I woke up at 6am and immediately jumped out of bed. I told my girlfriend to get up too. I was panicked. I headed to the phone. It started to ring. My mother was calling from England. I knew it was bad news. She told me my father had passed away. It was a moment of intuition. I knew something was up. And I was most definitely right.
In modern society we tend to favor logic and reasoning. But there are deeper states of mind. Intuition resides deep within. And it is one of the most powerful forces we have.
How Human Intuition Helped Us Win The Survival Of The Fittest
Intuition exists so that your mind can feed you important information quickly (1).
Millennia ago, this immediacey of information was the difference between life and death.
Our ancestors needed to quickly be able to assess whether a person was friend or enemy. The wrong decision meant getting your throat slit. Intuition differentiated a friend from a villain. In this way human intuition was vital to survival.
Even today, human intuition can be the difference between life and death.
Take this example:
Imagine that you’re driving when you see a little girl on the side of the road. Your intuition immediately thinks that she might run out into the road. So you slow down. And sure enough, there she goes running into the middle of the road, and if your intuition hadn’t been on point you might have accidentally hit her. In times like those you don’t always have the time to think, so your intuition butts in and yells at you to do something. Either you listen or something dire might happen.
How Intuition Causes “Gut Instinct”
Intuition is a gut feeling that you experience like a physiological sensation (like a lightness in your chest, for instance) .
That’s why enlightened people are often more in-tune with their intuition. Because they have practiced meditations like Body Scan, that make them more mindful of physiological sensations.
Intuition comes from the deeper parts of the human mind.
But that intuition needs to communicate with the conscious mind.
It does that by creating physiological sensations, such as a tingling in the tummy.
The University of South Wales wanted to prove how intuition worked. They measures how intuition leads to physiological changes. They did this by testing people’s skin conductance—an indicator of physiological arousal—during a decision making test. The researchers observed changes in skin conductance that shows that intuition leads to a physiological reaction. This explains how we can feel our intuition.
Therefore, when e “follow gut instinct” we actually respond to physiological changes
When someone tells you they’re “following their intuition” what they truly mean is that they are experiencing a physiological reaction that is informing them about how to make a decision.
We all experience times when a voice within seems to guide us. Perhaps it tells us not to enter a dark room, or that for some reason we really must call home immediately.
When to listen to intuition and when not to
Scientific research has proven that when you experience moments of intuition, you really should listen to what your instincts are telling you.
There are many theories regarding the role or intuition and instinct.
David Myers PhD, a social psychologist at Hope College, says that the right brain is constantly scanning the environment and registering information (3). This information is then fed back to the body in the form of gut instincts and various physical sensations.
Not only do your instincts help to make you aware of what’s happening around you, but they also help you to stay focused on what matters.
As Judith Orloff PhD states, “Living more intuitively demands that you’re living in the moment,” she says, “and that makes for a more passionate life.”
Intuition and instincts can be wrong at times.
“Emotions hamper decision-making. For instance, blindly falling in love with a house, and paying little attention to the inspection results, may leave you with a money pit,” says Margarita Tartakovsky (4). But at the same time, your intuition and instincts are often the wisest counsel you have.
We humans are often too focused on intuition.
Through evolution, humans have created a false-positive feedback in our minds. When we remember moments of intuition we tend to remember the times our intuition was accurate. I remember when my moment of intuition from above, when I knew my mother was calling and that something had gone wrong with my dad. But I am more likely to remember that event than to remember all the times my intuition was wrong.
Because we are more likely to remember the times our intuition was correct we come to expect our intuition to be correct even though it often is not.
So while intuition is hugely important it should still be challenged.
How To Use Your Intuition
Whenever I speak to my students about using their intuition, there are always three tips I give.
1. Keep an intuition journal
An intuition journal is a powerful way of discovering how our intuition is influencing us.
For instance, people who think negatively of others are usually duped by an overly negative intuition. By writing down their intuitive thoughts, they become aware of just how often their negative intuition is interfering with their lives. They can then take steps to change this (for instance, by using mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy)
You might also like to keep a belief journal
2. Silence your inner critic
Sometimes our gut instincts can make us feel negatively about ourselves.
For instance, when your reaction to every challenge is “I can’t do this”.
This negativity can completely impede our ability to succeed in life. But we can change it.
Make use of my guide to stopping negative self talk.
3. Make Your Intuition More Positive
Because of negative bias, your intuition may be overly negative.
One way to change this is with Pratyahara Yoga.
Prayhahara Yoga is a mental exercise (unlike other yoga it is not physical). It is a way of removing negative influuences and increasing positive influences.
This can have a huge effect on our minds in general because it changes the ration of negativity to positivity.
Another great idea is to change your environment.
If you want to find your intuition, try going somewhere Zen-sational. I say Zen-sational, I mean somewhere relaxing, somewhere inspiring, somewhere you will feel free to let your Zen flow. You will find my guide to creating a meditation space very helpful for this.
Now we know everything we need to know about intuition, here is a great meditation for intuition. It will help you to find your intuition and to listen to it.
A guided meditation for intuition
One of the best ways to use meditation for intuition is through binaural beats.
Binaural beats are a series of tones and sounds that affect brain waves.
To listen to binaural beats you must use headphones. While listening the beats will induce theta brain waves. These brainwaves put you in a very deep state of relaxation. When you listen to binaural beats you will notice a feeling of dampening, a relaxing of your brain. This is your brain creating theta waves. Theta brainwaves correspond to a deep state of relaxation (5)
The same is true for Tibetan Singing Bowls, which are arguably more powerful.
While you are relaxed you will experience more intuition. Your conscious mind is relaxing and your subconscious is opening up, presenting intuitive experiences.
Here is my favorite binaural beats recording for intuition, it opens the Third Eye (Ajna) chakra
5 Destined Times When You Need To Listen To Your Inner Voice
1: Listen to your inner voice when you experience unease in the body
You’ve experienced this before. It’s that sudden feeling of unease. It’s most commonly felt in the pit of the stomach, a sort of nausea created by anxiety. Ignore this sensation at your peril.
Your body instinctively knows when something is wrong. Your mind is constantly interpreting information from the environment and using that information to tell your bran where you are and what’s going on.
Let’s say for instance that you’re walking down a dark alley. Your mind will be automatically scanning the alley for threat. Should a strange man then appear, your mind will immediately begin to scan him to find out whether he is a threat. If your mind decided that he is a danger it will produce sensations of unease. This unease is intended as a warning, and you’d be very wise to listen to that warning.
A few years back scientists from the University of Iowa decided to investigate the role of intuition and instinct. They had research subjects play Chance with stacks of money and card decks. Different cards revealed whether or not the subject had won the money. What the research subjects were not aware of, however, was that the card decks were rigged. The decks had been stacked so that two of the decks yielded large payouts and the other two consistently led to losses. After 50 cards the test subjects began to favor the card deck that was giving out the high payouts.
But here’s the truly amazing thing about that test.
Within as few as ten cards the players began to show physical reactions to the cards.
When the players reached for the “bad” deck their hands started to sweat.
Jonah Lehrer, a contributor to Wired, says “The players instinctively knew which decks were good and bad, although the subject still had little inkling of which card piles were the most lucrative. The subject’s feelings figured out the game first.”
2: Listen to your inner voice when a voice inside says “I’m in danger right now”
Recently I was in a bar when a big burly guy came in, narrowed eyes scanning the place. I sensed immediately that something was wrong with this guy, so I asked the man behind the bar if he knew who he was. Turns out the guy was a troublemaker and a vandal who had previously been arrested for smashing up a nearby restaurant. Thankfully I listened to my instinct and kept away from this guy.
What I noticed at that time was that my feet and hands suddenly felt warmer. My body was redirecting blood to my hands and feet—the classic “fight or flight” response to a threat.
“Your body is a powerful intuitive communicator,” explains Judith Orloff, author of Second Sight.
Orloff says: “Intuition provides warning signs. If you have a gut feeling about your body — that something is toxic, weak or ‘off’ — listen to it.”
Have you experienced similar sensations? Times when your body was trying to tell you something. Did you listen to the warnings? If not, what happened?
- If your hands and feet suddenly feel warmer and more energized.
- Or if you feel a sudden onset of nausea.
- Or if you suddenly experience anxiety, your instinct is telling you that a threat is nearby.
Follow your instinct.
3: Listen to your inner voice when a voice inside says “They need help”
Gut instincts can be altruistic.And we can feel people’s emotions.
Sometimes we see a person and we immediately get the sense that something is wrong and that they need help.
This is especially true for highly compassionate people (like most of THE DAILY MEDITATION’s readers)
What’s happening in this situation is that the mind is unconsciously scanning the body language of the other person. This happens all the time, without our conscious involvement. We are constantly scanning people, interpreting their moves and actions, judging whether they’re a friend or enemy, whether they’re happy or sad, whether they can help us or whether we can help them.
Have you ever experienced a moment when you saw someone and immediately had a very strong urge to help them?
This desire to help others is hardwired into us at birth. It’s a genetic type of compassion.
The reason for it is quite simple.
We humans are not very strong on our own. In the wild we rely on groups or tribes in order to survive. We’re constantly looking at the world from that tribal mentality. If we see someone we can help we do so, because we know we may soon require help ourselves.
If your intuition is telling you that you should go and help someone, do it. Odds are you’ll make a real impact on that person’s day and they’ll be truly thankful that they met you. And besides, nothing on Earth feels better than helping another human being (well, except maybe helping an animal).
4: Listen to your inner voice when you think “I’ve got this”
Maybe you’re amazing at dancing. Or cooking. Or you just sense that you’re a really good person. If you intuitively believe in one of your talents you should follow it.
Many truly talented people have a terrible time trusting their talents. They overthink everything. They’re constantly asking themselves, “Have I got this? Do I know what I’m doing? Am I prepared?” and so on and so on. Their mind and body constantly send signals to their brain saying that yes, they are one hundred percent in control and good to go, but they don’t listen, they still doubt themselves.
Have you ever experienced a time when you felt confident but you didn’t trust that confidence?
I spent a lot of my life touring England as a theatre actor. There were many times when I would question whether I knew my lines or not. I felt confident but I didn’t trust the way I felt. This led me to stepping onstage doubting myself. Instead of truly going for it and launching into my lines confidently, I questioned myself. I didn’t trust my instincts. Not trusting myself led to worry, and worry made me perform at a less than optimum level. Essentially, I choked.
In How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer says:
“Choking is a vivid example of the havoc that can be caused by too much thought. Such deliberate thought processes interfere with the trained movements of the muscles.” In other words, because I was thinking too much onstage, I disrupted my own performance.
If you’re feeling good about a specific talent or skill, there’s a reason for that confidence and you should believe in yourself. Follow your instincts.
“Once you’ve developed expertise in a particular area it’s important to trust your emotions when making decisions in that domain,” Lehrer says.
If you know you can do it, trust your instincts.
5: Listen to your inner voice when something feels right
There are times when you feel, deep down, that something is right.
Maybe it’s the feeling that you should change career, or the feeling that you’ve just met your next boyfriend or girlfriend, or the feeling that you should sign up at the gym.
Major decisions like these tend to create strong feelings inside of us, and we should probably follow those feelings.
Your instincts are there for a reason. Follow them.
As Orloff concludes:
“Your intuition and instincts let you find relationships that resonate for you, instead of what looks good on paper. They let you connect with people on a heart level. They lead to a very deep experience of life instead of just letting life wash over you.”
Listen to your intuition. Follow your instincts. They are powerful guides in your life.
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