One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘how do I listen to my intuition?’
When do you have the best ideas? The best solutions to problems? When I ask people this question the answer is usually something like ‘in the shower’, ‘when I’m driving’ or ‘when I’m walking the dog’. This is because at these times we are not consciously thinking about the problem. We have a quieter mind and space for new ideas, creativity and insights. This is our intuition, our instinct, I call it our wisdom because it includes our knowledge, intellect and experience. We don’t make whimsical decisions when we trust our instinct, we make wise ones. When was the last time you trusted your instinct and it let you down?
So we have two guidance mechanisms within us, our thinking and our wisdom/intuition. Our thinking is cluttered by past and future thinking, fuelled by fear and prevents us from having clarity and perspective on a situation.
So how can we tell the difference between our thinking and our intuition/wisdom? For me there is a different energy with them. Intuition is grounded in the here and now and comes with more of a sense of peace. Our thinking is often grounded in fear.
Our intuition often comes in moments of quiet, it’s an inner knowing that is often not back up by logical argument, it is what feels right for us. Thinking wants to know you are going to be OK and because thinking is all about the past and future it wraps it’s argument in persuasive logic based on past events and expectations of what the future is going to bring. The past is over and nothing can predict the future not even your thinking. Our instinct factors in our past experiences and expertise but makes a decision based in the here and now and knowing that whatever happens you’ll be OK. That allows you to grow and give birth to the life you want even it means stretching your comfort zone. Thinking wants you to feel comfortable and safe because it wants to know you are going to OK.
Biological cell are in one of two states, growth or protection. When in growth they are multiplying. If there is a threat in their environment they go in to protection mode, they stop growing until the threat has passed and it is safe to do so. Given we are a bunch of biological cells we operate in much the same way psychologically. We decision can motivated by growth or it can be motivated by protection. Growth can feel scary because it can mean coming out of our comfort zone or leaning in to our edge of fear. Protection is fuelled by fear. It wants to keep us in a safe place, but that keeps us in a prison of thinking. What feels comfortable in the short term feels uncomfortable in the long term as we are not aligned to our soul.
So one question you can ask yourself is ‘does doing X feel like growth or protection’? Growth sometimes doesn’t feel good but it feels right.
I love Michael Neill’s description of the characteristics of wisdom in his book Super Coach:
- Wisdom is ever present and always kind.
- Wisdom is sometimes soft but always clear.
- Wisdom comes most often in the midst of inner quiet.
- Wisdom feels right, even if it doesn’t always feel good.
- Wisdom often comes disguised as ‘common sense’ but in reality is extremely uncommon in usage.
“The solutions to outwardly complex problems created by misguided thoughts will not arise from complicated analytical theory, but will emerge as an insight, wrapped in a blanket of simplicity.” Sydney Banks
Have fun exploring your wisdom!