Developing Our Intuition
We all get “hits” of intuition throughout our lives, sometimes in the most improbable of situations – while in the shower, thinking of other pressing things, or just sitting relaxing without a care in the world. We are always grateful for these gifts, but rarely do we understand that we can bring them about much more frequently by developing our own intuitive sense.
To illustrate this point, I want to share a story. Years ago, I was visiting Assisi on a personal journey of discovery. One day I visited Eremo delle Carceri, a beautiful and tranquil park in the hills above Assisi where St. Francis and his disciples retreated for solitude and meditation, primarily in the caves around the area. The paths are heavily wooded with ravines and trails in every direction. My goal was to discover one of the caves that St. Francis enjoyed, even though no signs offered to show the way. I decided to let my intuition guide me and I set off on one of the trails. Whenever I would come to a crossroads, I would just go along the trail that my intuition told me to go – it was actually quite freeing. At one point, as I was crossing a foot bridge over a ravine, I noticed a steep rocky descent to the bottom of the ravine, but it looked too dangerous for me to follow. I continued to walk across the foot bridge, but halfway across, I was compelled to go back and descend to the ravine. My fear of slipping went away as soon as I began to go downhill. When I reached the bottom, there was one of the caves. I knew it had to be one that St. Francis meditated in as he had described a shelf of rock inside the cave where he would sit for hours and gaze upon the cliff-side in front of him. I sat on that same rock shelf, and allowed myself to experience what he must have so many years ago.
All human beings have six psychological functions – thinking, feeling, sensing, desire, imagination, and finally, intuition. Intuition will always come through one of the five other functions. Many of us rely too much on the thinking function, and this is what we are most familiar with in terms of our intuition. However, this causes us to put less emphasis on the other four. When we begin to understand that intuition can be expressed along five different pathways, we begin to open up to its messages.
Many of us get our intuition primarily through our thoughts. We get a “hit” or insight out of the blue, oftentimes when we are busy doing other things. Unfortunately, we often ignore them, brush them off, or judge them as silly or fearful. It is when we begin to listen, to really hear that “small, still voice,” that we begin to trust in our intuition.
Our emotions can be all over the place, and it’s sometimes difficult to discern fact from the fiction we can create in our heads. However, when intuition comes through our emotions, it usually comes through as a feeling that is out of the blue. Why am I suddenly feeling angry? Sad? Scared? Even happy? Look more deeply at these unexpected emotions – they may give you clues as to what’s really going on inside you.
Intuition can be a felt sense as well. We experience these as “gut feelings,” a shiver for unknown reasons, or strange sensations passing through our body. When these happen, be open to their meaning. Check in with your other psychological functions to find clues, but don’t overthink it. Or more simply, trust that the message will come to you in time.
What we desire and yearn for is just as much a part of who we are as our thoughts, feelings, and senses. Desire can drive our will to action, which can then engage all the other psychological functions. Have you ever found yourself yearning for quiet time, solitude, or some sun on a beautiful beach? These desires can often be intuitive in nature, especially if they happen frequently. Pay attention to your desires, for they will tell you what you truly need. You don’t have to suddenly direct yourself to the nearest beach, but rather ask yourself what it is you need right now. We often ignore our desires and don’t look underneath at the simplicity of what we can do in the present moment to take care of ourselves.
What do you daydream about? Intuition can present itself through your imagination in many ways, often hand-in-hand with desire. Where does your creativity come through? Engaging in creative activities, such as drawing, scrapbooking, or free-flow journaling, quiets the mind and allows your intuition to speak up. Your imaginations are of a transpersonal nature and we all have one – use it!
“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” ― Alan Alda
Audrey McMorrow is a licensed therapist (LPC) who is also a Board-Certified Life Coach with a Masters and CAGS in Holistic Counseling. In addition, she has been trained extensively in Psychosynthesis, a psychological approach that focuses on achieving a synthesis of the various parts of an individual’s personality into a more cohesive self. Audrey has a range of experience in working with individuals and groups on the path of personal growth, meaning and purpose. More more information, visit: www.vasthorizons.com.