I want to talk a little about that undeniable feeling that comes whenever we know we are on the right track or are in the presence of something that aligns with our deepest truths. It’s the kind of feeling you get that makes you say things like, “that really resonates with me,” or “I totally feel you.” I’m sure you know the feeling I’m referring to. It’s different than a appreciation or an agreement, it’s more of an understanding. It’s like a magnetic attraction that tugs on your most firmly held beliefs.
This feeling comes from the gut. It surges and churns like the fluttering of some fiery butterfly and is there to remind us of a knowing that we possess which exists outside of the analytical mind. The feeling I’m talking about is also referred to as the intuition. It’s that subterranean, primordial connection that exists between our physical body and our spirit. There is no map or X-ray or psychological technique that can prove such a thing exists, but if you have ever felt that sense of unwavering connection and certainty that arises when something tickles your intuitive whiskers, you know that it is a real thing.
The reason I want to talk about this feeling is because of the implications it can have in regards to our practices. If we as conscious, heart-centered creators want to be able to commit ourselves to the things we love and be able to withstand the distractions, insecurities and let-downs that we will inevitable encounter along the path, we need to be able to listen to that inner voice. It is, after all, a guide. It is there to help us sidestep the many layers of bullshit and to aid us in establishing a healthy relationship with the things that are actually important to us...But in order to heed this inner wisdom, a level of sensitivity and trust has to first be established.
With enough years of neglect or even because of a basic lack of interest, this sense can very easily go dormant. If all of our attention is going into the use of logic and reasoning as a way of making decisions, the intuition begins to wither and die out. When this happens, it can leave us disconnected and riddled with uncertainty about who we really are or what we should be doing.
I’m not saying there is something inherently wrong with using logic and reason when making decisions in life but they are really only half of the picture. To deny our intuition is to drain all the color out of the human experience-leaving a bare bones sketch of what could have been a masterpiece.
I believe that one of the best ways to tap back in to our intuition and learn to establish a trust in its wisdom is to start exposing ourselves to various forms of inspiring content. This could be anything from music to photography to sculpture to down hill skiing. It could even be a particularly evocative landscape or a clear night sky. Anything that will stir up those inner feelings and provoke a sense of wonder will do.
The reason I think this is so important is because of what those activities can do for us. We all have things that we really admire and appreciate and when we encounter them enough, they begin to excite and inspire us in transformative ways. The feeling of inspiration, like intuition itself, lives in the gut. In fact, I think they are actually related to each other. They are like twin sisters that share the same womb. They are intimately connected-so much so that when one of them arises, you are automatically tipped off to where the other is hiding. If we can surround ourselves with those things that inspire us often enough, we will begin to reawaken that sleeping intuition.
I want to make it clear, though, that awakening the intuition is not enough. We also need to start listening to what it is trying to tell us. Waking it up is just a way of reminding ourselves that it is really there. Listening to it and establishing a trust requires an entirely different practice. For this, we need to cultivate that sensitivity I mentioned before. We need to be aware of that inner voice as it starts to speak and be able to quiet those competing forces which might be interfering with the transmission.
That inner voice is the same as a “gut feeling”. When it comes, you can literally feel a sensation in your guts that seems to be giving you some kind of insight that your thinking mind didn’t seem to pick up on. A lot of the time our initial reaction might be to reject that internal whisper because of the sheer fact that it doesn’t seem practical-but that’s where the practice comes in. We need to learn to shift our awareness to that feeling in our gut and stop focusing so much on our conditioned responses.
I’m not saying that the gut is always right and therefore we should never listen to our thoughts. I’m saying that once we establish that fact that there are two different streams of discernment going on, it would behoove us to initiate a conversation between the two.
The fact is, the mind operates based on patterns and statistics and our intuition operates based on...something else (I think it’s our higher self-the Self that sees the bigger picture-but who knows). When the thinking mind is engaged it automatically reduces our experiences to numbers and orders us to act upon the most favorable results. When the intuition is engaged, it is trying to get us to feel into whatever experience we are currently facing and to place those feelings under the magnifying glass of our personal truth. If we are sensitive enough to be able to hear both perspectives at once and can choose our course of action based upon our deepest truth, we will feel much more confident when navigating our path.
As an artist, I believe this kind of relationship with intuition is absolutely essential. It has been a guiding light in some of my darkest moments. There have been several times in my life where I felt the need to reassess what I was doing and question my course of action and it was always that inner voice which pulled me through the haze of confusion. It might not always give us a direct answer or clear away the major obstacles on the path, but it will most assuredly act as a kind of tow rope that we can grasp on to when we become submerged in indecision.