We’ve all heard of our intuition by now. That little voice, the microscopic pull in our being that just knows even when it defies logic.
So what is it? And more importantly, how do we build it?
What is Intuition?
Often I hear people say “I can’t tell the difference between my intuition and my anxiety!” which is a valid concern in a society that has sky-rocketing numbers for mental illnesses.
The most helpful thing I ever learned to distinguish between these two was recognizing the emotions associated with what I’m experiencing. Ultimately, intuition is not an emotional state. Anxiety is an emotional state.
If you notice that your thoughts or gut feelings have emotion attached to them, it is likely it isn’t intuition. If there is fear present, it is most definitely NOT intuition.
Intuition can be known as our instinct, or knowing. It’s important to not that instinct and impulse are different. Our impulses are built over time as a response to the stimuli around us, where instinct is something inherently ingrained in us for survival. In the past we have had to rely on these because we didn’t have google or books to help us analyze the world around us. I don’t believe our minds are developed to make the amount of decisions we’re faced with in the day – literally millions. What post should you like? Share? What colour nail polish? What grocery store, what ingredients for what meal?
Intuition and instinct bring us back into places where our brain is a processing tool, but our instinctive knowing is the place we make decisions from. To run or stay, to make that turn on your drive home or perhaps to not wear those white jeans on the day you spill coffee on your lap.
If you’ve ever seen Donnie Darko, there is a scene in which the energy of Donnie’s intention is splayed out infront of him like an gelatinous pathway to follow. I believe that our intuition does something similar, where we can choose to resist because of our mind stories or choose to listen based in our trust for these instincts.
With the understanding of what our intuition is, lets talk a bit about what it does.
If -like the image above – we all have a path to follow (even if it’s just from moment to moment) what happens when we do follow? There is a notion that our intuition inevitably leads us to the most ease in our lives.
I don’t believe this to be true. I think our intuition guides us to the places of profound growth. Sometimes, this growth is knowing that when we follow and trust our instincts we can be rewarded. But it is also acknowledging that even in moments of uncomfortable growth there is a rhyme and reason for each process. We can’t see the entirety of our lives in every moment and for good reason. Many things we experience are essential to guiding us appropriately into the futures we are creating – but if looked at as in individual event perhaps we wouldn’t opt in.
Think of all the people you’ve dated, all the friends you’ve had, books you’ve read, and moments of strife that have forced you into growth. Many of them are uncomfortable yet an essential (even if microscopic) part of who you are and how you got to be where you are. Intuition reminds us that we don’t need to see the whole picture to be invested in the story. Much like reading a great book – we don’t always know what is next but we can have trust in the process necessary to get there.
5 Ways to Build Intuition
Although we all have intuition, it may be hard for us to trust or even distinguish what it looks and feels like. These little rituals invite you into a safe space in your life and mind to explore building a relationship with your intuition.
1 – Crystals
This is my personal favourite way of building intuition. It does require you to have or purchase crystals, but you can also use other objects that have innate meaning to you if that feels right.
At the beginning of the day, or perhaps while getting ready for an event, sit down with your crystals and clear your mind. If it feels right you may set an intention, but that isn’t necessary.
When you feel ready, pick out as many crystals as feels good. Don’t look up what they are, what they mean, or use your mind to think about what feels good. Simply trust. If you need to hold them to see how they make you feel/if there is a connection, do so.
Bring them with you. Put them in your pocket or bag. Hold them if that feels good. Forget about them. Live your day as is. Take note of what happens, how you feel, anything that feels noteworthy.
When your day or event is over, sit down with your selection. Now is time to dive into their meanings and purposes. I guarantee that you will have chosen crystals that supported you, brought you opportunities, and perhaps even guided you to change patterns in your life. If it feels right, record these experiences.
Do this as often as needed for as long as needed. If you find that your knowledge of your crystals doesn’t allow you to choose them intuitively/without using your mind then close your eyes and feel your way through whats appropriate for you.
2 – Questioning
Maybe this seems counter productive as it denotes using ones mind vs. ones instincts, but questioning is more of asking questions of those things around us that we couldn’t possibly know the answer.
My favourite place to do this is in the lobby of my apartment building at the elevators. We have two elevators, and they display the floor they are at. When both elevators are at the same floor, I’ll use my intuition to guess which one will come. Left or Right elevator. I’m not always right, but the days I feel really tuned in I know I will be right. Sometimes I feel as though our intuition is strengthened by our belief in it.
You can do this with anything that is random. When you’re walking a familiar path and feel drawn a different direction, change course. Note what you find.
KEYS TO QUESTIONING
#1 – BE CURIOUS
Be curious. Curious about the world around you, curious about what makes you curious. In order to ask questions we must be curious about all that we do not know instead of concerned so much with what we do know. All potential lays in the unknown, and strengthening our intuition also means being curious about that which we have potential to know.
#2 – ASK OFTEN
The more we question the world around us, the more we get tuned into what our intuitive answers feel like and the things we can get curious about. When you feel the urge to check the mail, ask yourself if you think or feel that your package has arrived. Ask yourself if you know who’s calling before you check your screen. Ask yourself if you know what tarot card you will pull.
The more we do this and the less consequential we make our questions the more we can tune into and strengthen the muscle of our intuition.
#3 – PROJECTIONS
I don’t mean project your feelings or intentions onto other people, per say. Here, projection has a more unique use. More of a projection of our energy across space and time.
My favourite way to do this is when my partner asks me what flavour of bubbly water I want, I tell him to surprise me even if I know what I’m wishing for. I will hold what I want in my mind and see if what he gives me is what I was hoping for.
Being open to the chance that perhaps you won’t get what you want (or eerily that you may get exactly what you wish) is a great part of tuning into what you desire and where it is centred in your body. Sometimes what we desire in our mind and in our gut and heart are varying. Projection helps us understand the relationship between where we project and feel from, where our intuitive power centre is located.
3 – Build Your Relationship With Water
When we look at the element of water, it signifies our relationship to the emotional, intuitive, and spiritual realms.
In tarot, the mind is at the base of our personhood and experience. It is the most private and personal part of ourselves. From there, the water element is our first connection from the inner to the outer. It is the unseen that influences us. Our intuition is one of these bridges we build over water, bringing us to the side of the potential of the unknown from the side of the known.
Building your relationship with this element is a physical way of bringing your body on board with the practice of building your intuition.
Building Your Relationship to Water Can Look Like…
- Drinking more water
- Consuming filtered water when possible
- Taking more baths, sitting in water (try meditating in and out of the water and see if you feel a difference!)
- Put your feet in natural water sources as often as possible (rivers, lakes, oceans, streams, and puddles)
- Dance in the rain! Or at least spend time letting falling and moving water wash over you – this is said to be spiritually cleansing
- If you find yourself in the forest or a place with fallen wood try to find a dowsing stick – I looks like a Y shaped stick – and see if holding it in your hands and listening in a way that resonates leads you to water
- Speak to the water you consume; tell it your intentions upon consumption of it. Note how you feel, particularly over time. You can also do this with plants and measure their growth as a more tangible way of seeing the affects of this work
- Using water equitably and consciously
4 – Meditate
Meditation is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. I will write another post on why meditation is so amazing in the future, but for now lets just say that practicing meditation helps us build the muscle of conscious control and gain access of awareness to fields we may not be totally aware of in our busy lives.
This doesn’t have to mean you sit down for hours every single day, but taking even 5 minutes to tune into your breath and get present with your whole self can be a transformative act on its own – let alone for building your intuition.
Meditation is a ritual that can become a deeply enriching part of your life if you find a method and understanding of it that feels connected to you. If you’ve been hearing about meditation but haven’t dove in or been able to commit I encourage you to explore many modalities including visual and sound meditations.
For me, meditation helps me tap into my intuition by giving me space to see all the layers. To go deeper into myself and into places that I can’t access in my day-to-day tasks (although I do believe in meditative practices and building a meditative life, my specific practice of meditation gives me something I can’t access anywhere else)
5 – Slow Down
I know this is a bit cliche and truly the advice of the times, but it’s true. Slowing down gives us the ability to be more conscious and present with what is happening to us.
Slowing down doesn’t need to be boring though. Slowing down can be dancing in your living room, take the time to build a meal, giving yourself space to make art on a Sunday afternoon in the full spread of your living room. Slowing down means being less busy, less concerned with what we truly cannot know or control and surrendering a little bit deeper into the present moment which is all we really have, anyway.
There are endless ways to build your intuition, not just limited to these 5. I encourage you to learn to develop a relationship with your intuition where it can equally lead you to new ways to strengthen it.
If you have anything you do that helps you build your relationship to intuition, let me know below!