We all have heard some version of this advice before: Put your hand on your heart and ask your inner wisdom what step you need to take next, or stop and ask yourself if this is the right thing to do. What is that part of us which seems to be wiser than our daily operating self? Is it our cumulative experiences and hidden learning percolating up to our awareness from our subconscious? Is it our connection to the divine, to creative source? Is it a spark, a flame, the pilot light that we are born with, to guide us in this seemingly crazy life?
It is our intuition and in its infinite mystery it can be all that and more. Intuition in its simplest form, is a sensation or knowing that we cannot trace back to any prior conscious thought. It is part of our nature and we all have it but some of us may be more aware of intuition than others.
How we receive intuitive messages can also be different for each of us. While one person experiences intuition as sudden ideas or thoughts that pops into her head, another person may feel it in his gut as a sensation while all pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together. Some claim to almost hear their intuition speak and some say they see it in their mind’s eye.
Latest scientific studies in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience confirm that intuition exists. One recent study defines it as an influencing sensation or feeling people have when making decisions. Research also shows that intuition improves with practice. As we get to know how our intuition works and put it to use more often, we get better at it.
Tapping into your intuition is asking your inner wisdom for its advice. Fortunately, there are ways that you can make it easier for your inner wisdom to speak up in its own way. Studies show that intuition is more active and more accurate when we are in a good mood compared to when we are not.
Accessing our intuition gets easier also when our conscious mind is as quiet as possible. So, a great way to prime your intuition is to still your mind and elevate your mood. As you can imagine, how this is achieved can also be very different for each person. For some people, meditation really works, whereas for some others playing a mindless computer game does the trick.
When you are working on cultivating your intuition, before it becomes second nature, priming yourself for intuition is very important. Once you get used to tapping into your intuition on demand, you can find short cuts to momentarily creating the stillness of mind and good mood that you need.
Until then, and for deep intuition even for those who practice it daily, here are some alternative ways to prime yourself:
- Meditate in whichever tradition works best for you to still your mind.
- Listen to music that relaxes you and makes you forget about your
to do lists and problems.
- Engage in some activity that puts you in the Flow state. Play your
musical instrument, do coloring, paint, draw, bake, do anything that
you can lose yourself in. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
described Flow state as when we are so connected to an activity
that we lose track of time and even a sense of who we are, become
one with the activity and go with its flow. Athletes, musicians, artists
often describe this as the state they are in when they create their
- Go for for a walk in nature. The quieter the place, the better.
- If you don’t have any quiet place around, then walk and practice
mindfulness on the sounds you hear. Just pay attention to the
sounds without judging them or thinking about them. The moment
you notice that you are trying to figure out what the source of a
sound you are hearing is, or what makes it so loud, or any other
conscious thought, just let it go and gently return your attention to
only listening to the sounds as if they are music. Work with what
you have instead of resisting it.
- Visit a vista point, seaside, or any other place that you like, and just
gaze at the view and let it relax you.
- If there is no pleasant place nearby or easily accessible, then look
at a picture of such a place or imagine being there while taking
- Think of a time when you felt calm, serene, and happy. Imagine it
as vividly as possible to relive it in your mind.
- Play with kids or pets, or watch them play.
- Make up a game and play yourself.
- Dance around, be silly, and act like a kid.
When you practice these priming methods, over time you can even begin to be able to quiet down your thoughts by just imagining doing any of these priming activities, just like pressing the mute button inside your head.
Once your thoughts quiet down and your heart softens with priming, ask your inner wisdom the question you want intuitive guidance on. In that stillness and openness, you will get an answer. Remember that silence can also be an answer within itself. It may be telling you that this is not the right time to receive a specific answer on your question. Thank your inner wisdom for the answer you receive, including silence, and run this message through the filter of your logic and conscious mind. Then you can add this inner advice to all the factors and inputs you will consider. You can make your decision after you weigh all other inputs and factors along with your intuition.
When you start to experience daily life with your intuition actively included in it, you will see that even the most mundane things can sparkle with new light. Life becomes more of an adventure with new possibilities that you may have never thought of before.
Light, love, joy to all,