Everyone feels a little lost at some point. Some swear they will find themselves in exotic places or far-away adventures. You might turn to a coach or therapist. Ultimately, you need to do your own inner work and find yourself in nearby and everyday places.
You can learn to trust your inner guidance.
How do we know we are moving in the right direction? That a decision is sound, good for us, and will allow us to achieve our goals and reach our ultimate potential?
Most of us at some point doubt ourselves and look outside of ourselves for answers. For some, this is a more frequent event, bothered by an ever-present critic in the ears or a whole panel of critics, sometimes authority figures or loved ones who tell us we should do something different. Sometimes it’s just the critics in our own head. For those, self-doubt is one of life’s greatest obstacles.
Some say that worry and doubt cannot exist in a quiet mind and that an open, relaxed state produces self-confidence. What would it mean for you to push doubt aside, and be awake to the truth?
In this case, the truth is not something to be Googled or found in textbooks, but rather something that is one’s own truth, one’s own knowing. This knowing comes from things that we sense – see, hear, touch, taste, smell – to be sure. But it also comes from that which seems intangible or unrecognizable to the typical five senses: intuition.
Dictionary.com defines intuition as a direct perception of truth or fact independent of any reasoning process. Some call it a hunch or gut feeling. I call it additional information on a level or plane that is beyond what can be explained. It is our inner guidance.
Much of the time we do know what to do. We have the answers, but we do not trust ourselves. Intuition can be there to protect us from danger, to head off issues. However, beware of fear. It can trick us into thinking it’s our intuition or else it can block us from moving forward at all. Fear replays the negative stories we learned years ago and feeds our insecurities. What we can do is notice the fear, take a breath, and then choose hope and courage. True, intuition, or inner guidance, can allow us to starkly see our reality, but it does so without judgement. It can also give us comfort, exhilarate us, give us wind for our sails, and propel us forward.
Think of a time when you experienced your own inner guidance. What was the sign? Where did you feel it? Did you listen?
While some have a more innate preference for intuition, it can be learned and cultivated.
Here are 8 ways to develop your intuition:
1. Get grounded.
Literally. Feel the ground underneath your feet while just sitting with your feet flat on the floor and feeling your breath, or take a walk in nature.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Notice the space between your thoughts and let them come and go without judgment. Experience things as if for the first time. Mindfulness – whether it be simply the act of being aware or as part of a formal meditation practice, has the power to open new perspectives and bring clarity.
3. Do good.
When you participate in the world, make a difference, and share your gifts, you derive a sense of belonging, purpose and one-ness.
4. Write in a journal.
Notice the words that you choose (e.g. must, should, have to versus want, desire, feel, know). Surface your truth through your inner dialogue.
5. Sleep on it.
Then record your dreams when you first wake up. Carl Jung asserted that dreams bring the unconscious to consciousness. Often there are hidden symbolic messages in what seems like random chaos.
6. Ask the universe for a sign.
Simply by putting our questions “out there”, we are ready and open for an answer.
7. Follow passion and joy.
By this I don’t mean ditch your commitments or break integrity with yourself. I do mean notice what lights you up and do more of those things as often as you can. Joy will not steer you wrong.
When your inner guidance gets it right, notice it, write it down, and do it again. As you begin to use this guidance for everyday things, you will be more ready to access it for the bigger decisions in life.
Vernon Howard, a spiritual teacher and philosopher said: “Inner guidance is heard like soft music in the night by those who have learned to listen.”
You can indeed learn to trust information that comes to you from a deep awareness of yourself and an openness to notice. Let the music inside you play on.