Intuition is described as the ability to understand something instinctively, without relying on conscious reasoning. It is a thing one knows or considers likely based on instinctive feeling.
This article is also available as a podcast episode. Click here to listen.
Contrary to what many may think, intuitive abilities are not particularly unique or special, and they are not reserved for certain people. We are ALL inherently intuitive, although we may not always consciously recognise it. If you're not listening to your inner voice/intuition, you are missing out on a wonderful resource and something that could contribute so much to your overall wellbeing and life experience. And it's not just that listening to our intuition can actively make our lives easier and feel more aligned. The opposite is also true, as I can testify from personal experience - when we don't follow intuitive feelings or hunches, life can feel like a struggle.
How many times did you ignore a 'gut feeling' to your detriment? For me, the number is too high to count. When I think of the things I did/didn't do when I was younger, the decisions I made, and the various people I engaged with against my instincts, it makes me feel quite foolish. There are some circumstances where I can see I actually made myself ill through ignoring what I knew to be right. Can you relate to this? If so, it really shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
From a young age, the majority of us were discouraged from listening to our inner voice, instead we were taught to rely on logic and reasoning. Our schools taught us to THINK, but not to feel. We were not encouraged to question the status quo, even if what we were being told felt completely wrong or counter-intuitive.
In this way, it seems that many of us became alienated from our inner guidance and may have even tried to block it out completely because the sense of disconnectedness that comes with continuing to feel all of those things and then trying to ignore them is really quite uncomfortable. It's disempowering. Inauthentic. It's the sort of thing that makes us experience life in a way that feels 'out of whack' - because it is. Now I don't know if this is the case for everyone but it's certainly true for me that there came a point in my life when this was no longer an option. The whispers of my intuition continued to grow louder and more insistent until I felt I had no choice but to take notice.
I had a lot of resistance. What I was 'intuiting' didn't make sense, and required change and taking (what I considered at the time to be) risks. I struggled to trust it. However, over time, being more in touch with my inner guidance has changed how I think, what I consume (mentally and physically), the work I do, who I collaborate with, and even what I'm saying to you right now. And the more positive feedback that comes from listening to this inner guidance - the more I get things right - my trust and confidence in it continues to grow.
There is no doubt that learning to develop and trust my inner voice - an ongoing practice, rather than a one-time deal - is one of the best things I've ever done. If you're not already confident in this area, it's something I would encourage you to develop, because it can help in so many ways. It can save you from confusion, heartache and struggle, help you to live a more authentic and joyful life, increase creativity and the feeling of being in flow/in alignment with life and your true purpose, and - most importantly - it can help you to trust yourself and your choices. When you follow your intuition, things just seem to work out so much better - in fact, it often feels as though everything is conspiring in your favour.
All this - and more - is already available to you. If you are not accessing your inner guidance, there are various things you can do to develop the ability. I've picked five of my favourite and most simple methods for you to practice developing and trusting your own intuition. They are all easy to do, so you can get started right away.
Listen to your body. Your body is always giving you nudges and messages about where you may be out of alignment with your true self. Gut feelings, hair standing on end, perspiration - these are obvious ways, but there are many more and if you listen to your body daily, and allow yourself to get used to the way it communicates with you, it becomes so much easier to understand! Click here to access a podcast episode from the archive, where I offer three ways to listen to what your body might be telling you.
Pay attention! When you're busy, it can be tempting to move from one thing to another without noticing what's going on. Paying attention to details around you, to your dreams, to your hunches, and even to things other people are saying and doing, can all help improve your intuitive skills. Notice what's happening and how you feel as well as any intuitive senses you might have about things - then see if they pan out! This brings us nicely on to the next method.
Keep a journal. I'm a huge fan of journaling - not only because you can use it to record any feelings/inner guidance and see how it works out, but also because the act of writing can itself help your guidance to 'flow' onto the page. Daily journal use can help you to tap into things you might otherwise ignore - and it needn't take long. Sitting for even just 5 to 10 minutes each day, with the intention to clarify your thoughts and receive any insights, can work wonders. Don't worry if you feel awkward at first, give it time. When you allow your rational mind to relax and get out of the way, you may be surprised by what comes through.
Meditate. Lots of people struggle with the idea because it seems that the only way to meditate is to sit silently and cross-legged, but that's not the case. Yes, silent meditation is great if it suits you, but so is walking meditation, meditative knitting or dancing, Reiki, and anything else where you are able to put your thoughts aside. Again, meditation is a practice it's not a one-off thing. I practice daily meditation myself, but even so, I have to say that my most rewarding 'meditation' time tends to be when I'm in the shower. It's when the most inspired ideas come through and I receive guidance that always turns out to be spot-on.
Oracle Cards. Oracle cards (cards with detailed imagery and usually a word or phrase) can be a really fun and creative way to start listening to your intuition. This is how I first started to actively develop and trust my own inner guidance, back when those nudges were coming and I didn't know what to make of them. I've been showing friends and family how to work with them for a while, and recently started running online workshops too. I am thrilled to see how others also find oracle cards to be a really helpful tool. Especially if they do not consider themselves 'particularly intuitive'. If this is something that you are interested in, upcoming workshops are listed on the IHUK events page at the time of writing.
As you practice listening to your inner guidance, you might be surprised to find that you experience more synchronicities, or that new opportunities and new people show up in your life. I’m certainly not advocating that you put common sense aside or that you ignore any information available to you, but you might just find that your inner guide will start to play a more prominent role in your life than you ever thought possible.
Sarah Knight is a Reiki Practitioner, Women's Circle and Workshop facilitator, and offers a range of online and in-person services from West Sussex, UK - www.intentionalhealing.co.uk.