We talk a lot about intuition on this blog and with good reason; a well developed intuition can serve all aspects of your life in a deeply enriching and positive way. When our intuition is developed we find that answers to previously agonizing questions and challenges present themselves to us in sometimes uncanny ways. We have to be firmly grounded to understand the messages our intuition tells us, but ultimately our intuitive guidance can be more accurate and hold more awareness of the higher purpose than even the most developed rationality (which is an important faculty).
Developing intuition is particularly important for men who, as a general rule, tend to under-utilize their intuitive and emotional faculties in favor of rationality and intellect. A balanced intuition moves through (not bypasses) rationality and finds solutions and answers that are simultaneously emotionally intelligent and physically grounded.
Below are five ways you can develop your intuition that are pretty easy, although some of them take a minimal amount of commitment. If you find yourself struggling with some of these suggestions it could be that first you need to open to the presence of your own intuition by even acknowledging that you have it. I've heard many people say, "I don't really have intuition" which is just an indication that their third eye (intuitive awareness) is closed due to lack of attention. These people often overly rely on empirical data or other people's opinions to make decisions and as such may have trouble with emotional relating or feel resentful because they feel other people are controlling them.
Everyone has intuition, it's a natural human faculty. Some people think intuition means perceiving discarnate beings, or foretelling the future or past but those are very developed and specialized ways some people's intuition manifests. The more mundane reality is that intuition is used on some level all the time and doesn't have to be something out of an episode of Medium.
1. Gut Reaction
Many people say they "follow their gut" which is another way of stating that they follow their instincts. Instinct and intuition are slightly different but intimately connected. Instinct relates more directly to a physical response to a situation or problem so it's knowledge is absorbed lower in the human energy system. Accessing your gut reaction is a good way to start listening to your intuitive voice. Some people filter their intuitive guidance through the body, and we all have different methods of filtering intuition.
Try this exercise: next time you are hungry try listing different potential foods, or having a friend list different foods, and note your instant initial reaction to the name of the food listed. You should get a "yes", no", or "maybe". These answers may come in the form of physical reaction. For instance you may experience a light feeling in the body, a sense of being elevated or a jolt of energy or excitement for yes, or conversely you may experience grumbling, a slight twinge of pain or discomfort for "no". Which ever food gives you an instant inner "yes" eat that. Conversely, you could try eating one of the foods that gives you a "no" and see what happens in your body...I can't promise it'll be fun, but you can't try it.
2. Feel It Out
Try feeling your way through the day. This method requires you to tune into your own emotional barometer. Some people's emotional barometer is more developed than others and they are more comfortable utilizing its knowledge throughout the day, which is simply a reflection of their preference for emotional data over factual data. You can use your emotional barometer in different ways: for example, when you walk into a room note any changes in your mood. These can register as thoughts or a feeling you get Immediately upon entering the space. Some people may not be able to name their emotions very easily, that's okay. Instead note any changes in your body or thought patterns that were different then when you entered. You must first have a baseline for your mood that day so you can compare it to what you experience when you enter different environments or situations. This method is called psychomotrizing, and some may be more adept at this than others depending on their make-up..
You may have no response to the environment that you can asses but may later feel different from when you entered the space. This means that the energy of the space you were in took longer to filter through your energy system. The important thing is to remember not to take the emotions, thoughts or feelings you perceive in the environment as you, remember it could be the energy of the place interacting with your own energy. You can try this method of "psychomotrizing" while talking to other people. Note how the person makes you feel; happy, excited, elevated, sad, angry, irritable, bored, tired, anxious, etc, this will be a good indication of what your intuition is telling you about this person at this time.
It seems meditation can be a general salve for all things. That's because it is pretty amazing. When we meditate we suspend the thinking mind (or at least try to slow it down). The more we practice the cessation of the thinking mind the more the intuitive voice can come through. It's very difficult for intuition to penetrate incessant mind chatter. Invariably it's people who have very anxious, rapid shifting thoughts, that say they don't have or can't hear their intuition. That's because they can't distinguish it over the chatter.
Meditation allows you to bypass the mental noise and listen to the smaller voice that has likely been there all along. Try sitting for three to five minutes, deepen your breathing, taking several deep breaths in and out. During this time notice every time a thought arises and let it pass through without trying to stop it. Think of those thoughts like clouds and watch them float by, watching them as they go. Eventually the thought stream may slow down, if only slightly. The spaces in between the thoughts are the spaces through which your intuition will speak to you, (and incidentally are the moments you are most connected to the real you). Intuition is always gentle and never menacing, anxiety producing or angry. So if you experiencing those kinds of sensations or impressions while meditating, stop, and try again later.
4. Symbol Shopping
Intuition by its vey nature utilizes right brain functioning which corresponds to creativity, visual acuity, color and emotion. Intuition speaks loudly through the wordless and symbolic. Those who have well developed intuition have learned to pay attention to symbolic messages throughout their day. Depending on the way you filter information this may be more difficult for some than others. For example, if you are primarily used to utilizing your five senses to understand and interpret the world, moving into the world of symbolism and metaphor may be uncomfortable or seem senseless. Developing your right brain if you prefer the left is just like working out. Development comes with use of the muscle until eventually you get stronger. So while you may still prefer the left brain as your set point you can shift when necessary to balance your impressions of the world around you.
You can very simply exercise this skill by reading a book of fiction or poetry. As you do this strive to interpret the metaphors and symbols as they relate to your life. Whatever strikes you is likely something important. Write it down and come back to it at a later date and you may be surprised at the links and associations you can find to your own experience. For the creatively minded you can try writing your own poetry, painting a picture, or simply listening to music or walking in nature. These methods effectively bypass the left brain, provided you don't seek to classify the flowers on your nature walk or dissect the bars of the music. Just feel your way through it.
You can also start looking for symbols and signs throughout the day to questions. They don't have to be a huge life changing issues. Start with something as simple as, "what should I have for lunch" and then go "symbol shopping". You may find that you overhear a conversation about a new great restaurant, or keep seeing images of carrots or hamburgers or salads. Don't worry about whether you're reading too much into it, just pay attention, then you can use tip number one to pick your lunch. There are multiple symbols that are significant for you throughout the day, many people are just not aware of their significance because they aren't looking.
5. Sleep to Dream
Sleeping is a wonderful opportunity to build your intuitive muscles. This is because during sleep you lose awareness of your conscious, thinking mind and gain access to the subconscious and unconscious mind, which are the domain of intuition. Through our dreams our psyche seeks to reconcile various problems, concerns, desires and aversions through symbolism. So much like symbol shopping, dreaming requires you to de-code or analyze the symbolic elements in order to find the answers hidden within. There are many types of dreams, and some are more directly psychic or obviously intuitive, but even if it's a crazy dream about eating a snickers while dressed like a purple rabbit in an auto garage, there's something in the imagery that is important for you to note.
Try keeping a dream journal next to your bed and as you wake up (before you move) make a conscious effort to retrieve and "download" as much of the dream content into your conscious mind. Then write down any words, impressions or feelings you have immediately (even if it seems incomprehensible). If you don't remember your dreams, the intention to start writing them down will often incite you to start remembering portions or snippets of dreams when you awaken. Go back at the end of the day read anything you wrote and think back to the ways in which those symbols in the dream could be directly or indirectly associated with the happenings of your day.
Some of them take some deeper analysis and de-coding, so you may want to invest in a dream dictionary or utilize one of the online dream interpretation sites to help you. Paying attention to your dreams opens your awareness to your intuitive faculties because you are actively acknowledging your unconscious and subconscious mind content, and utilizing the right brain faculties of symbol recognition.