The idea of intuition can be elusive and mysterious – how do we tune in to it? Is that even something that little old me can do, or is it only for people with a “special” gift? Today, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite ways that any of us can tune in to our intuitions in just 10 minutes.
Before we dive into the different practices, we need to suspend whatever disbelief we have about the different ways that we can "know" things. For many of us, and certainly in Western culture, the idea of knowing something can only be connected with having a head-based understanding of it. In order for our intuition to be more accessible to us, we may need to allow for other kinds of intelligences to exist, whether that means feeling or a gut-level understanding. There are a number of nerve connections between our hearts and our brains for example, with scientific evidence showing that a far greater number of messages are sent from our hearts to our brains rather than the reverse.
One of my favorite ways to tap into my intuition is by using my journal. I am a big fan of stream of consciousness journaling, and the practice of writing three pages in this style in the morning is raved about by many people. Julia Cameron introduced this concept in her book The Artist's Way as a way of connecting with your creativity and purging stressful or unwanted thoughts. Even if you don't write three pages, the act of writing in a journal is powerful. Don't correct your writing or overanalyze it -- just let it flow. There is something about the speed at which you can write in a journal (and yes, I do recommend writing and not typing) and the process of doing it by hand that many people find very beneficial for tapping in to their intuition. Don't judge what you write, and don't write it for anyone but yourself.
This next item is meditation and/or prayer, and the important thing here is that we are talking about getting quiet and centered. I am a big fan of meditation, especially in the morning, and I use the app Insight Timer for guided meditations, music, and a timer. Not only is getting quiet and clearing my mind of swirling thoughts beneficial for starting my day with a clear head, but I find I often am more open to creativity and intuition.
I also include prayer here, which you may have varying levels of comfort with depending on your spiritual or religious background. In my opinion this can be beneficial for any of us -- the act of expressing gratitude and laying down your cares and worries can start your day with both surrendering of stresses and getting into a place of gratitude. That's a win in my book.
Along the same lines as meditation, I also recommend guided hypnosis. If you've never experienced hypnosis before, I know it can seem a bit "out there" or even scary. Actually though, it's not that different from a guided meditation. The goal is to feel relaxed and at peace, and you can find different guided hypnosis tracks for all kinds of desired outcomes. Of course, I'll recommend the one I created just for you, which you can try here.
While most of these practices have been solo activities, I also recommend talking through whatever is on your mind with your wisest, least judgmental friend. Let that person know that you are not necessarily looking for advice -- simply by them sitting with you and listening to you, you may find yourself understanding the situation in a way you hadn't previously. Of course, you can also give that person permission to offer advice, if you're open to it. Sometimes the words we hear from others can clue us in to our own deeper understanding, and they can help us see things that were right in front of us all along.
I'm a big fan of reading, so it should be no surprise that I think you can tap into your intuition through a book. In this case, I don't mean something like, "Turn to page 16 and read the fourth line down and you'll find the answer to your problem." Rather, I mean that we should be open to the nudges that we feel and follow them. If you feel an urge to pick up a book, listen to it. Even if it doesn't make sense for you to read that book right now, go for it. Personally, I experienced one of the most significant pivots in my life because of a book that I felt called to read though I didn't really know why.
Tuning in to nature is a great way to connect with your deeper wisdom, too. I recommend going for a walk outside, and the more you can be in nature, the better. (Walking around city streets is all well and good too, but there is something so special about a forest, you know what I mean?) Minimize distractions -- no headphones or music to distract you -- and just enjoy being. If there's a problem worrying you, try to let it go. You won't find the answer by obsessing over it or thinking through every possible outcome, but rather it will likely appear when you've loosened your grip a bit.
Finally, we can't forget another element (we just discussed earth and air, previously) -- water. If you live near a body of water that you can swim in, then good for you -- go for it! For those of us who aren't currently living that life, even taking a bath or a shower is an amazing option. There is something special about being immersed in water, letting it cleanse you physically and symbolically. It likely also helps that you are more present in that moment, less likely to be using a phone and getting distracted by all of the apps and games on it. Experience the water cleansing you of your worries and bringing new inspiration, truth, and creativity your way.