I always say that everyone has intuitive abilities. I'm not more special than you are. I just intentionally developed my intuitive abilities, so that it comes easier to me than it did before. You can do it too. It's just exercising a muscle.
Intuition, our inner voice, is our highest guidance; yet it will never tell us what to do. Our intuition speaks to us in very subtle ways - sometimes it's a gut feeling, a flash of genius when we least expect it. It'll just keep popping up whenever we're receptive to listening. My best ideas come in the shower or when I'm expressing myself creatively with art or music. For others, it happens when they're running or exercising, or right when they wake up in the morning when their mind hasn't yet been clouded with the day's tasks.
I remember taking a class at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on leadership. The professor talked about how top leaders, from the age-old presidents at the beginning of our nation to the greatest inventors of our time relied on intuition to get new ideas or to take bold moves that changed the course of history. At that time, I wasn't aware that you could intentionally tap into intuition. Now I do it all the time, and sometimes it's the littlest things that give us the validation of how real our intuition is.
For example, I tap into my intuition when I take the subway in New York City. It's the best way to get around and I take the subway all the time. Using my intuition helps me make decisions, especially when I'm running late or have to get somewhere with not much time to spare.
One night it was late, I was tired, and I was heading into Queens from West 4th St. in Manhattan. I was going to take the F train, which operates on the local line, but was the only line to get to my destination. When the F train pulled into the station, however, I had a very strong feeling that I should not get on.
"Why?," I asked myself. "This is the only subway to get there. I take it all the time. Shouldn't I just get on?"
"No," my intuition said, just the subtlest of thoughts impressing in my mind. "Wait for the B or D express trains across the platform."
"But I don't have time to wait -- those trains never come and they won't take me to where I need to go! And the F train is right here!" My ego was putting up some resistance.
We all have free will. I ultimately decided to listen to my intuition because I knew it always served me, even though at the moment, it might not seem obvious. I've taken the F train countless times, but this was the first time I had a strong feeling not to get on and to do something that didn't make rational sense to me. I watched as the F train pulled out of the station and settled in to wait for the B or D train. A few moments passed and a D train pulled in.
Great! I thought to myself, and got on. Unfortunately, the minute the doors closed, I could tell it was going to be a long ride from West 4th St. to the next stop at 34th St. It went very slowly on the tracks, stopping every so often to sit and wait in the tunnel. At this rate, I'm surely not going to catch any other F trains that might have passed. Who knew it was going to be so slow as an express train?
As people started to get restless, the train conductor went on the loudspeaker to say that the reason why it was moving so slowly was because there was an issue on the tracks on the F line. Sure enough, through the window, I saw the F train I could have gotten onto sitting and waiting at 14th St. We passed it by slowly on the express line, moving cautiously. We passed by another train sitting at 23rd St., also stuck.
It was probably a smoke condition or track fire on the local line. Apparently, if I had gotten on that F train, I would've been stuck waiting there too! But on the D train, I could actually bypass the problem.
Thankfully, I eventually got to my destination in faster time than if I had gotten on that F train, and with another example of how listening to my intuition served me well.
This is just one example, but I ask my intuition about which subway route will be faster or whether or not I should continue waiting for a train that doesn't seem to be coming. It comes in handy when I'm starting to feel panic if I'm late to a seemingly important meeting or to avoid delays that don't serve me. (I'll write about the illusion of time in another blog post). I use my intuition when I want to make decisions, from double-checking an email with my inner voice before I send it, to seeing how I should approach a new business situation.
So how do you exercise this muscle? Here are some ways, though there are so many more.
1. Meditate. Training your mind to experience calm and peace makes it more familiar to you. It also makes it easier for you to distinguish between your intuition and other internal advice, like your ego or other people's opinions.
2. Intend to make your intuition stronger. Make it a choice and be committed to it. Don't give up if the results aren't what you want. It takes practice and dedication. I come from a spiritual background, so I prayed for clearer intuition, and the ability to listen. You can state affirmations, like "I trust my intuition. I hear it and feel peace and calm in my heart."
3. Use your imagination. Your imagination is actually a very powerful tool of intention and creation. The more you are able to visualize images and feel the positive emotions that you associate with your creations, the more in tune you are with your inner guidance. It also helps you become more creative and ideas can come to you through your musings.
4. Practice getting "hits" and make it fun. It's like a guessing game that we played as kids when you have cards facedown and you uncover them to make a pair -- it feels really good when you uncover the matching card! Try guessing which elevator comes first in your lobby or what song comes up on the radio. Or try thinking of a friend and seeing when he or she calls you or texts you. Oftentimes, my clients talk about how they thought of a friend and then that day, they receive a call from them out of the blue or run into them randomly on the street. There are no coincidences.
I love talking to people about intuition because when they realize that they can tap into this power, it is like seeing a bud realize for the first time that it can open its petals to be a full-fledged flower.
We're naturally spiritual beings. We have a soul that lives on, and we're in our physical bodies because it is the best vessel for us to share our gifts and to experience our lives. Intuition is tapping into our natural connection to the Divine - a higher consciousness that connects all of us. How do I know this? Because I've had numerous spiritual experiences that have left me with a deep knowing that there is more to life than what we can see in this world.
Have you had instances of intuitive flashes or stories that you can't explain? Did you ever listen to your intuition and realize that it served you (or didn't listen, and wish you had)? I'd love to hear your stories and read your comments!