The chatter is deafening!
The first time I ever heard the term “monkey brain” used to refer to the incessant chatter of self-talk most of us have going on in our head all the time, I burst out laughing in instant recognition. That's exactly what it feels like sometimes, isn't it? Especially when you're trying to pray, meditate, or try to hear that still small voice of intuition. Our lives are so darned busy, and we're bombarded with so much information and noise, we often feel our intuition is completely lost.
It's not true!
We haven't lost our intuition, but perhaps we have forgotten how—or where—to listen for it.
Where are you looking for the voice of your intuition?
As interest in the neurobiology of emotion increases, some researchers suggest that intuition lives in the body, not the mind. I've been thinking about that, and I believe there's a great deal of truth to it. If it's true, it means that if we're looking for the voice of intuition in our heads, we are not likely to hear it, because that mental chatter is louder than anything else. These researchers suggest we should ignore the chatter in our head and tune into our body and see how it is feeling.
I know some of you are thinking, “Oh good grief, Elizabeth is getting all woo-woo on us.” Call it what you will, but ancient Eastern wisdom has long described pathways of energy inside our body and has correlated these pathways with various physical and emotional conditions.
My friend Tammy Mobley LaDrew, LPC, founder of Featherstone Institute and practitioner of integrative energy healing, taught me a simple exercise to use when I want to tap into my intuition, especially when I have a decision to make and can't figure out the best of several options. I've found it to be remarkably effective.
How to listen to the voice of your intuition
Think about a big decision, choice, or opportunity you're considering. Take a deep breath. Check in with your body and think about each of your possible choices, one at a time. For each one, pay attention to the way your body reacts to it:
- Are you feeling physically open and expansive? Do you feel excited or energized? If so, this is a strong indication you should say yes to this choice.
- Or do you feel tightness or tension, hesitation or restriction? Does your body feel somewhat deflated instead of expansive? If so, you should probably say no to this choice.
Now practice listening to your body
Practice with small decisions and begin to notice the changes in your body when you think of certain things. Learn to recognize when your body is saying yes and when it is saying no. When you go against this intuition consistently, it can lead to unpleasant physical manifestations over time: stress or even depression. It's easiest to start with simple choices that aren't laden with negative consequences: “Which of these books shall I take home from the library?” “Which restaurant shall we go to for supper?” Practice with bigger and bigger decisions until you've honed the skill and have confidence in knowing you can trust your intuition when you have to use it for making a big decision.
Have you ever tried tapping into your body's wisdom for answers your intuition can provide? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Photo credit: Monkeys by Rick Olson via Dollar Photo Club