Cultivating Intuition

Maxima in her studioI have been practicing honing my intuition, listening to it more, following it. Even if it’s something small. “Wear purple today,” it said, and I looked for my purple t-shirt among the stack of clean laundry in the basket, when I might have ignored that voice before as silly or irrelevant.

Sometimes what the voice says seems like nothing more than wishful thinking, or overly simplistic, or not what I want to hear. But, as my friend Cynthia so wisely reminded me, if we ignore the voice of our guidance, it gets quieter or ceases to speak to us at all.

So I’m practicing trusting it, tuning in to that often-fleeting, still, small voice within, that is here in each of us to guide us on our heart path. That voice is my rudder. Without it, I’m lost. Even if it sometimes errs, or I err in knowing recognizing the true voice of intuition versus some ego-inspired voice, I need my intuition, my heart guidance, and need to cultivate my relationship with it.

row boatsIn this culture we’re so fond of listening to our minds, which mostly preach to us of fear, habit and being “practical,” i.e. the safe and known. The mind voice is not going to lead us on the path of heart, a path full of risks, of mystery, of beauty, wonder, vulnerability, and ultimately deep joy and fulfillment.

“Be practical, be reasonable, be logical.” In my experience, while masquerading as good advice, these words serve to keep us small, limited and unhappy, following the status quo, to not believe in our dreams or ourselves or reach for the lives we long to live or the world we know is possible.

I have found that the heart always takes into account our needs and the needs of all beings. The heart is not hurtful or unkind to anyone. This is one of the ways you recognize it. The heart is not impractical, though what it advises at first blush sometimes may seem impossible or certainly scary to you; the heart doesn’t want you to starve, though it may tell you to quit your job because it sees the bigger picture. The heart may tell you to take the day off when you think you have too much to do, but it will also tell you when the time is right to get done all the truly does need to be done. The heart is infinitely wise in ways our limited, fearful minds can never be.

paththroughwoods_-studio-dekorasyonThe mind loves schemes and plans and strategies. The heart has a more innocent and direct approach. It simply knows the path to take in this moment. And it rarely reveals much beyond the immediate moment, our next step. Though we would love to see the long-distance plan and have assurances, the heart doesn’t offer us this information, it doesn’t tell us why it is telling us to do what it’s telling us to do. It doesn’t offer reasons. It asks us simply to follow and trust.

To learn to follow the voice of heart, you first have to learn its signature, what it sounds like, so that you can distinguish it from the voice of mind taking various disguises.

As you practice learning to hear the heart voice, pay attention. Follow it. Start by paying attention to the little promptings, the seemingly insignificant, harmless urgings, “Turn left here, go a different way home,” or while in the supermarket the sudden feeling to buy a certain fruit or vegetable, or the urge to call someone you know that perhaps you haven’t spoken to in months or years. Follow these in the moment, as best you can. Trust the little yes and no, when you don’t know why but you feel to do or not do something that perhaps goes against your habit or thought.

Experiment, keep an open mind, and learn from your experiments. That is the beginning of wisdom.

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