Intuition – something we’re told to tap into and listen to, but for many of us feel a bit lost when it comes to honouring or trusting our gut. Intuition can be defined in so many ways, but the one that lands for me is describing it as the energy field in us that says make a change. It can be scary, feel out of control, and because of this, we often reject that flicker of sensation. Whether this flicker tells us to leave or lean into a current situation, it takes courage to listen. Shifting from leading from the head to the heart, or living with a level of awareness that there is more than what meets the eye, means living consciously. When we lead with intuition, we trust that the energy we give off, we attract.
So knowing this, how do we start to cultivate that connection to our intuition?
It starts with slowing down our thoughts and ungripping from our tendency to analyze and judge. Pouring our attention into our body, away from the mental chatter. Ultimately, entering an alpha state, which is a brain wave state of relaxation, or “being”. We can access an alpha state through meditation, breathwork, immersing ourselves in nature, doing any kind of practice that takes us into a parasympathetic state where the heart rate slows and nervous system calms. Good thing for us, we can access this state in as little as 5 minutes.
When we arrive here, we start to tap into our 6th sense – a feeling that goes beyond the 5 senses. In this state, we can ask ourselves certain questions and hone in on our visceral reaction to it. Intuition can be described as a grounded knowing, a tugging sensation towards an answer to a question, a feeling of deep dropping into something deeper, a surrender. For some, it can be described as a connection to guides or source, where answers will start to bubble up from within. Some may argue that it’s not always a good idea to lead with the heart – say after a breakup, or moments when your emotions may feel chaotic. And while there may be merit to that, ultimately, we always know. If your heart is telling you to do something and it feels fluttery, or there’s agitation or a frenetic quality to your thoughts and feelings, it’s probably best to pause and seek a more grounded state before making big decisions. But I would also argue, that every decision will lead us back to the right path…some routes just might be a little bit messier than others. I think many of us can attest to the fact that the universe will always show us the way. If we don’t follow our intuition – out of fear, or simply because we haven’t tapped into it – things will always play out the way they are designed to. I take great comfort in that knowing.
This quieting of the mind and tapping into the heart takes practice. Like everything, what we repeat we strengthen. And if connecting to that inner knowing feels far away, that’s okay! Below are some ways to strengthen your practice of tapping into intuition. Like everything, it’s deeply personal and what lands for some may not for others.
Menstruating folks will often report that intuition is heightened around menses. Ancient cultures tapped into this, and would honour this time by giving menstruating bodies sacred space during menstruation to tune in and listen. Perhaps go a little deeper during this phase and observe if you feel a deeper connection to your inner knowing.
For some, tarot readings, and/or observing the planets, can cause “ping” or download moments, which is when what we’re presented with resonates with a deeper knowing. It’s affirming and can give us a rush of dopamine, as our deepest insight feels validated. We feel seen. If you’ve been pulled to learning more about astrology and readings, there are some very accessible resources out there, including Chani Nicholas, the Co-Star App, a podcast called Astrology and You, and a few Instagram accounts like @stalkalice, @themoontarot and @thecosmiclatte_ (thanks to my pal Alex for sharing these recommendations!)
Dreams can be another channel to tap into intuition. Our dreams present our subconscious mind as the conscious mind rests. Writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up, then taking time to reflect on them, can be a profound and healing practice to get to know yourself and understand how to navigate your path.
When we shake up our routine – experience novel things, travel, adventure, change up our surroundings – we can connect a little deeper with our inner knowing. You may have experienced this on vacation, a moment to take a birds eye view at your life, where a change in scenery and schedule gives us more mental space. This quietting of the standard mental chatter can make us more available to tapping into how we feel and listening to the pulls from within.
Morning Pages, a stream of consciousness writing technique developed by Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way, can be a powerful daily practice and deeply revealing. Those who practice it regularly swear by it. You can learn more about the Artist’s Way here.
Finally, you can explore muscle testing, a technique that for some, is highly effective. An example of this at work is thinking of a lie while lifting weights – it will make it a lot more challenging than focusing on a truth that you know for sure. It’s a technique used to access the subconscious mind, where we pose a question to ourselves and observe the visceral reaction. You can learn more about it here. For example, make an “O” shape with your thumb and index finger in one hand, and loop your other thumb and index finger within the O to make a link between your fingers. According to muscle testing, pulling your fingers apart will be challenging when you think of or voice a truth, and conversely you’ll feel them break relatively easily if you think or voice a lie. You could put this into action by asking yourself something like “should I go to the party tonight?” or “should I take a rest day” and see how your fingers respond when you tug. A quick pull apart denotes a no, while a connection kept intact suggests a yes.
As I write this, I am learning a lot myself on what it means to follow one’s intuitive voice. I think a lot of us get in our heads about it, which ironically moves us farther away from connecting to that deeper knowing. See if you can approach all of these practices with an openness and curiosity. There is no wrong path, and there are so many journeys we can take to get to our destination. Personally, I feel using intuition to navigate life can make this journey more easeful. But ultimately, we will inevitably get there, with every obstacle serving as an opportunity to develop a new skill, learn something about ourselves (and our resilience), and level up.