Getting in touch with Intuition
“Mummy, I want to see the books move. Please make it move.”
Looking up from the book I was reading at the library, I glanced over at the young boy who was fascinated by the automated mobile book-drop machine. I thought about the manual book-drop I grew up with, which the boy probably has never seen. The 'old-school' book-drop was, to me, like a large letter box that you could feed books (ideally before their due date). There was nothing quite wrong with how it worked, and other than the wall real-estate space and the manpower required to process returned books, it worked very well for the library for a long time. But I guess even stalwart, well-functioning institutions can't escape from technology's grasp. We all feel obliged to keep up.
Tech is everywhere, but human beings endure
Technological developments have sprung up rapidly throughout our society, infiltrating every aspect of our lives. While technology and increasingly intelligent bots possess an advantage of efficiency and precision over the human species, I'd argue that they lack the proverbial 'human touch' and flair for artistry. In fact, a better world is forged not by mimicking perfection via A.I. or algorithms, but through the pursuit and realisation of meaningful and purposeful endeavours.
Wading through Ambiguity: Let intuition be your guide
Life is not black and white and holds a vast array of opportunities for growth. So, just how do most people navigate this broad spectrum of opportunities? It appears that the bulk of us are more 'logical' and strive to validate our decisions based on sound data and evidence to guide our reasoning process and help us filter through available options.
While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach, this way of seeing the world can be the very thing that limits us from growing. It stops us from looking beyond what we know - we feel entirely 'safe' and at ease in our comfort zone and have no inclination to consider alternative ways of perceiving our reality. As such, the prospect of using our innate 'intuition' to help us navigate through life causes many to baulk at the prospect.
Opening up to Intuition
We all need proof - even the biggest believer in any phenomenon will not pass up on cold, hard evidence that proves something. Unfortunately, proving that intuition exists, is no mean feat - it's intangible and is often referred to by the layman on hindsight e.g. 'Despite her all-smiles persona, I thought about it and had a strong sense that she was not interested in the deal we proposed earlier today. She didn't have to say it to us; it was palatable.'
Of course, some of us are more intuned to this 'sixth sense' within us. However, for the rest of us relying steadily on logic to get by, it would be highly useful to open our minds to the use of intuition. Just because we were conditioned to think logically and chart our lives 'systematically', doesn't mean that we cannot tap into our innate sense of intuition to assist us with important decisions, particularly when the path ahead is fuzzy and uncertain.
Intuition's Role in our Lives
Our consciousness involves our awareness, thought, emotion, intentions, perception, energy and sensation that interacts with the environment and bigger context of life around us. I see intuition as equipping us with an internal GPS that points true North, even during times when we don't have the full map. It is the 'intelligence of our soul' that help us navigate the grey areas in our life; the acceptance of a subjective stream of experiences and consciousness, and a journey towards understanding it better.
When fully embraced, intuition empowers us to tap into our more in-depth resources through our consciousness at any given moment, which would then help us better discern nuances straddling the space between truth and falsehood. In time, we will be more confident and sure of ourselves and the decisions we make. In fact, a study led by Dr. Joel Pearson, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia, found that intuition helped people make faster, more accurate and more confident decisions.
Intuition as a Source of Growth
So, how exactly can you become more intuitive and make intuition your greatest ally?
Over the years of developing my own intuition and experimenting with different approaches as a consultant and coach, I found that honing one's intuition boils down to the progressive practice of these three fundamental principles:
a) Trust your senses as opposed to doubting yourself;
b) Stay open to your subjective experiences as opposed to trying to dismiss or disregard them as invalid even though they may appear 'absurd' or 'stupid';
c) Take steps to be actively curious and creative as opposed to automatically forming conclusions about your life experiences prematurely, or conforming to a particular school of thought - just because it is 'what everyone is doing anyway' / mainstream.
Beginner Steps toward Mastering your Intuition
– GET IN TOUCH WITH SILENCE–
In the society we live in today, being busy and filling our schedules with something the other seems to be the accepted norm. Hence, even one minute of silence can feel like an eternity.
Most of us don't even know what silence 'feels' like because we are so used to the noise and clutter in our head. Embracing silence is crucial because intuition comes in soft whispers. You can only 'hear' intuition’s voice when you comfortable with occasional silence.
- Start your practice by tuning into silence for about three mins, as the first thing you do in the morning after getting up. If you've never done this before, it's going to feel extremely uncomfortable. Accept that this is how you feel, and then tell yourself that it is a-okay.
- Push through the doubt and observe what you're hearing. Listen gently. Are you picking up any background sounds? Acknowledge them and then continue sitting in your moment of silence.
- Consider how you are responding to the quality of this stillness and quietness. How are they making you feel?
If you try this a few times and still find it extremely difficult, you can consider leveraging on the synergy of a group practice and guidance which you can experience at a PAUSE Signature Session.
–MAKE COMPARISONS BETWEEN SENSORY AWARENESS AND ACTUAL EXPERIENCES–
You can work with something seemingly mundane, like the difference between travelling the same route to work, and then back from work, or perhaps the experience of watching the same movie, two weeks apart.
Consider both on a certain day – are you able to identify or 'feel' the difference between the same point of reference revisited at different times? Did you make any new discoveries (without Googling)? Do you find yourself asking new questions?
Doing this constantly trains your sensory awareness as you force yourself to identify/tease out subtle, delicate differences, thereby sharpening your innate intuition.
–TAKE TIME TO UNDERSTAND YOUR PERSONAL VALUES–
Intuition is not a speculation or a gamble. It is a result of clarity, after having understood the relevant signals and information for any given context.
A powerful way to leverage your intuition and have it work for you is to know your values. Values principals and standards of behaviours that articulte what you stand for/deem essential in life. Basically, if you're honest with yourself about the values that are important to you (and not adopt values that people tell you to have), they help you make judgements that let your live with yourself.
For example, a lot of people are conditioned from young to strive to 'be the best' - they might lead their whole lives thinking that this value is important to them and defines them. However, somewhere down the road when they're older they might find that this value no longer serves them. If this is the case, they'll find that everything they do to 'be the best' drives them two steps forward and then has repercussions that drive them three steps back. If this sounds like you, don't worry. It's never too late to realign and recalibrate your core values.
Here's an extensive list of values you can look through. Pick 3-5 that are most important to you. Write them down and refer to them from time to time. By internalising your true values on a daily basis, you can then hone your intuition to be more focused, while still keeping it dynamic. You'll be able to use your intuition to guide you in making the best possible decision that can align with your current values.
Intuition is not blind faith
Contrary to what many others are perceiving, intuition is not blind faith. It comes with wisdom and honouring our experiences, especially the ones we have ignored. Moreover, it gets even better when you’ve learned to let go of your ego, while still holding the space for yourself. We will explore this in Part II of this series.
Alfred Chung is a content strategist, holistic communicator and business coach. He enables individuals and subject-matter experts to express their highest value and purpose towards growth, impact, fulfillment and freedom. He is also a 'Fascinate' Certified Advisor with 'How to Fascinate Inc.', a Certified NLP Master Practitioner and Certified Enneagram In Business Coach