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"Intuition is the highest form of intelligence, transcending all individual abilities and skills."
–Sylvia Clare, Mindfulness Teacher
Trusting your gut, listening to your “vibes,” tapping into your Higher Self, tuning into your sixth sense, plugging into cosmic intelligence—these all describe the same experience, accessing your intuition. Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge immediately without conscious rational thought. It is bypassing the linear thought and inference process of the mind to directly perceive or cognize a truth or insight. Rather than cobbling together different thoughts, ideas, and perceptions to reach a conclusion, intuition is a direct download of the final answer minus all the mental busywork.
Intuition is your birthright. It is part of being human; an inherent guidance system that can keep you safe from harm, direct you to the truth in any situation, lead you to your highest good, and move you toward the evolution of your consciousness. But how does it work? “How could I, a tiny, separate individual in an infinitely vast universe have direct access to cosmic intelligence?” How are you to make sense of an invisible, non-tangible perceptual mechanism that lies outside of the realm of your five senses? The answer can be found in a philosophical model of reality called the holographic universe.
You may be familiar with holograms as three-dimensional images produced through the use of laser light. What you may not realize, however, is that in the production of the hologram, the full image is contained in even the smallest fragment of the original photographic plate. Hence the name hologram: holo meaning whole, complete, or entire, and gram referring to the smallest piece.
What does this have to do with intuition? In the teachings of Vedanta (specifically the Atharva Veda) you find the metaphor of Indra’s Net, which describes the world as a vast and infinite net spread in all directions without beginning or end. At each junction point in the net is a jewel that reflects all other jewels. No jewel exists separately from the rest; all jewels are connected and interdependent—every being contains the entire universe within itself. This potent understanding is encapsulated in two Sanskrit sutras:
So, if you are a node in the universal network, by definition, you are already connected and plugged into everything—all that was, all that is, and all that ever will be. Your intuition is an uninterrupted feed to the cosmic mind of the universe. That cosmic mind already knows the answer to every question, the truth behind every event. It is the absolute authority and you, by extension, as pieces in the holographic universe, have access to the field of cosmic intelligence.
But why then do you rarely, if ever, sense the connection and the guidance of your intuition? Simple—it gets washed out by the myriad thoughts, distractions, emotional turmoil, and general chaos of modern life.
Your intuition is subtle sense; it’s a form of second attention that transcends the conventional material level of reality and plugs you into the universal field of interrelatedness. The information and knowledge accessed through intuitive channels doesn’t kick down the door into your awareness; it whispers, gently nudges, and tugs your attention in a particular direction. So if you are like most people living a busy life, those intuitive cues might not make it to the surface of your attention before getting drowned out by all your other activity.
Now that you understand what your intuition is and where it comes from, how can you more easily tap into it? Consider the following steps a roadmap to expanding your powers of intuition. Each step leads you a little closer to activating and trusting that still voice within. As a note, while the steps are arranged in a linear fashion, feel free to focus on the steps in any order knowing that grasping any one step will help reinforce the others along the path of expanded intuitive awareness.
This is a fundamental point of departure for intuitive growth. As long as you believe yourself to be an isolated speck, a tiny flesh-encapsulated ego cut off from the rest of the world in a random and unintelligent universe, you will block the intuitive signals trying to get through. You must own your identity as a unique and powerful focal point of awareness in the web of universal consciousness. Reflect on the metaphor of Indra’s Net as a way to reconnect with your true identity.
Your intuition isn’t likely to respond to a wishy-washy hope for guidance. Instead, form a clear intention and put it to paper where you can see it regularly and prior to going into meditation (see below). Use positive and direct affirmations to reprogram your subconscious for accessing intuitive guidance: I am open and receptive to the cosmic intelligence flowing to me through my intuition.
A turbulent mind will never be able to perceive intuitive guidance. Trying to pick up intuitive signals using a mind that is overwrought with thoughts is like listening to music on a static-filled radio station—you only get bits and pieces of the song. Meditation is possibly the most important of the seven steps to intuition because it cleans up the signal and prepares the mental space to receive the message. Commit to a regular meditation practice using either Primordial Sound Meditation or the So-Hum Meditation technique to make space for intuitive messages to come through.
From a still mind, formulate and release a question or issue that you seek insight into. For example, “Is this the right choice for me to make?” “What do I need to know about this relationship/job/business deal?” Release the question as if you were clicking “send” on an email. Know that the message has gone out into the universal cosmic database for resolution.
Once you have released your question, project your awareness out into the world like an ever-expanding soap bubble. Imagine this bubble of awareness enveloping your home, city, state, country, the planet, the Milky Way galaxy, and beyond. Feel your awareness encompass the entire universe. Feel all that was, is, or will be within you as you silently repeat to yourself the sutra, Tat Tvam Asi—I am That.
Feel the world around you—imagine reaching out into the room or space you find yourself in, noticing sounds, sights, and sensations of all kinds. Then, try to feel the presence of others, their emotions, thoughts, or energy. Practice learning your feelings to build your subtle senses, knowing that your body is your antenna for intuitive signals. The more sensitive you become, the more easily those messages will register in your consciousness.
When you notice a sensation in your body, a twinge, a slight warmth in your stomach or chest, or the faintest level of feeling, tune into that. Does the sensation feel good, or does it feel slightly uncomfortable? As Chopra Center cofounder Dr. David Simon used to say, your subtle body only has two words in its vocabulary—yum and yuck. If it feels good, proceed in that direction; if not, pull back. Trust the message. Similarly, if you receive an insight into an issue or problem you’ve been struggling with, trust the guidance. Know that you’re plugged into the cosmic mind and it has a holistic knowledge base that goes beyond linear cause and effect logic.
If you’ve practiced the previous steps, you can feel safe that the knowledge you’re tapping into is correct. That’s not to say you should ignore either your common sense or rational thinking mind; it’s wise to run intuitive guidance through your intellectual filters if anything feels off or dangerous. However, remember that intuition pulls information from a source far vaster than your rational minds can fathom and the intellect will naturally find intuitive guidance strange or suspect due to its own limitations. It takes a great deal of trust and faith to follow intuitive guidance when the intellect resists.
Practice these steps to build and refine your intuitive toolkit. Like any skill, intuition takes time to develop and master. But if you fan your spark of intuition with dedication and consistency, it will surely grow into a bright flame of insight that will usher in the ongoing expansion of your awareness.