Intuition: What It Is & How to Use It to Navigate Your Life
Intuition is one of the most prevalent concepts in spirituality. We constantly hear from spiritualists to “follow our intuition,” and we may know that it is an important building block for many spiritual practices. But when we try to define intuition, it seems just a little bit elusive, and can lead to an entire line of questions. In this post, we will aim to answer some of these questions, including:
“What is intuition?”
“How can we get in touch with or further develop our intuition?”
And, “Why should anyone want to?”
What Is Intuition?
So, what even is intuition?
Intuition, at its core, is the concept that you, and all people, have the innate ability to know what is right or true in any given moment. Often, the challenge of intuition is acting on what you know is right, even when it doesn’t appear that way to others. That is why trust is such an important component of intuition. Trust in yourself comes from knowing yourself deeply and listening to your heart to make decisions that are right for you.
The entire premise of spiritual awakening happens when you start to trust yourself and your own inner reality. It is not possible to believe in the connected, divine nature of our universe unless you take a leap of faith. Many people think that this requires trust in God, the Universe, Angels or something larger than oneself, but it doesn’t have to start there. It starts with building trust in yourself, which is sometimes even harder to do. The Universe, God, or whoever else, can only lead you to the truth. They can give you signs, and they can whisper to you, but unless you find trust in yourself, you will not accept their truths. It is this trust in what you know deep down- trust in your “intuition”- this intangible guiding force inside us, that allows you to wake up.
Anyone who has had an awakening knows that it’s a process. For most people, you don’t just wake up one day with every one of your questions answered. Usually there is a “tower moment” which, like the Tower in the Tarot, represents a revelation so reality-shaking, that we begin to question everything else we believed up until that point. From then on, it is no longer a choice but a necessity to embrace our truth, our intuition.
Here are a few steps to use and strengthen your intuition:
1: Know Yourself
When you know who you are and what you want, when you know your values and desires are truly yours, it will not be confusing to know where you want to go or how to get there, or how to make decisions that are right for you.
So how do you find your “true self?”
You can dismantle and rebuild all that you were taught, and all the beliefs you never questioned, while rediscovering all that which brings you joy. Each of us grows up in a family, society, and culture that we did not consciously choose. These institutions impact our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.
I think an example may explain this better. Let’s say, for instance, that you have always had a deep love and appreciation for music, but your family thought it was a waste of time. Without consciously deciding to believe it, you could have come to share some of these beliefs. Doubts and fears tell you that music would never be a viable career, and it isn't practical to spend money on something that won’t make you any richer.
There are endless ways to honor ourselves once we identify those beliefs which are holding us back.
Something that can support you in learning to tune into your true self is meditation. Practicing just a few minutes of meditation a day is something accessible to everyone. It may be hard at first, but with practice it will become easier, and will become a healthy habit. If you don’t feel you are ready to meditate on your own, guided meditation is a great place to start. It allows you to set time aside every day to notice how you feel, which is key to honing your intuition.
2: Following Through
This is the part that puts our newfound beliefs to the test. Let’s continue our previous example. Once you know you want to pursue music as a hobby, you may start to feel resistance as the old structures and beliefs you held for so long struggle to keep you stagnant. You may wonder if you will even have any talent, or if lessons are a huge waste of money that you should instead save or spend on something “practical.” On your journey to find the true you, you will have to listen to the small voice that tells you to do it anyway–sign up for lessons, or simply buy that guitar and teach yourself!
At this point, it takes a strength of will, and again, trust in yourself, to take this leap and do what you know IS a practical necessity. Yet, it is necessary for the soul and the heart rather than for material success.
Honoring the heart is one thing that comes up again and again when we follow our intuition.
3: Ask for signs.
Whatever your situation, you may need a little help moving forward in your new direction.
One way to overcome this doubt is to ask for signs from the Universe, or from trusted guides, to confirm your convictions, or help you alter your course.
So how do you ask for signs?
Close your eyes. Say a little prayer or set an intention to connect with the truest you, or with your guides, or any energies you work with. State your question or intention. You can ask for a specific sign that will let you know if you are on the right track, like a shooting star, which could symbolize success.
Be open to the way your signs manifest. Maybe you don't see a shooting star in the sky that night, but the next day you are driving on the highway and a truck passes you by called “Shooting Star Cleaners”-- keep an open mind!
Perhaps instead, you see several references to rivers in the coming days. Take note of the image’s symbolism. Is a slight change in direction needed? Is something blocking your flow? Be open to all the universe can show you if you only let it.
Step 4: Don’t be afraid of the dark.
Don’t be afraid of making the changes you need to make. If you see signs that make you question your intentions altogether, ask yourself why. It could just be that now isn't the right time for what you asked for, as pieces are being put into place for you. Maybe it’s time to focus on a different area of life first. Is it time to ask for that long-deserved raise at work? Or get a new job altogether? Listening to your intuition sometimes takes commitment to a new path.
If you still aren’t receiving the signs you asked for, it is time to consider reasons besides timing issues or a slight bump in the road. There are many different possible explanations, all unique to you and your situation.
Honoring our intuition asks that we be truthful with ourselves. Maybe you asked for a relationship, but you aren't receiving any signs that make you think this is coming true. Ask yourself, what is the reason I want a relationship? Is it because I want to share the beauty of life with someone? Or, rather, is it because I am lonely or bored and want a distraction? Are you codependent? It could be that there are other aspects of life or aspects of yourself to attend to first, before you can truly pursue this wish with authenticity. Perhaps it is time to fill up your own cup first, by establishing boundaries with others or your job so you have time and energy to dedicate to yourself, before you can dedicate yourself to someone else. Anything you wish for must be right for you, and you always have the ability to make your dreams come true. But, honoring yourself and our intuition requires an honest look at why you want what you want, and what is truly stopping you from getting it.
Once you have followed these steps, congratulations! You are that much closer to a path and a life that is fulfilling to you, and you’ve done it all on your own, with the help of your intuition and trusted guides.
I mentioned above the importance of self-knowledge and paying attention to your surroundings when building your intuition. Besides these core elements, there are also some fun exercises that can give you a leg up.
Oracle or Tarot Card Pulls
One way to strengthen your intuition is by answering your questions through tarot or oracle card readings. Some great decks you can use are the _____ Tarot and _____ Oracle Deck (links).
A popular way to do a reading is by using an overhand shuffle to let the “right” cards fall out. This is great if you want to get directly to your reading, which is already an exercise in intuition.
To take it to the next level, you may choose to spread the cards out on a table and choose one or more yourself. Some say to wait until your hand feels “sticky” on one of the cards, or until a certain card feels hot, but these methods don’t usually work for me. Usually, I just let my eyes wander over the cards until I find an area that feels right in my gut. Ask yourself, is the card I need on the left half of the lineup, or the right? Is it in the middle? Then once you’ve narrowed down the section, keep narrowing it down until one card is “looking” at you. Trust yourself and pull!
Record the reading in a notebook, because even if you doubt that you pulled the right card, you may look back on your reading in a few days, weeks or months and realize the message was perfect for you, you just couldn’t see it yet.
Remember to always cleanse your space with smoke, like incense (link), herbs, or sound before and after your readings.
Another great way to develop your intuition is by choosing a crystal to bring with you about your day each morning. Ask yourself what color speaks to you that day. What kind of support do you need, or what color could you benefit from introducing into your day? If you are a bit down, maybe some black obsidian and sunstone can help process what’s bothering you and help you see the bright side of things. But maybe on another day when you’re feeling the same way, amethyst speaks to you instead. Go with your gut, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you! (link somewhere in here)
Your intuition and spiritual guides can deliver messages through music. Simply set the intention to receive needed messages through music. Shuffle your music library, or a random playlist on whatever streaming service you use. Perhaps you ask for the first three songs to have meaning for you.
Conclusion: The Benefits of Intuition
Working with your intuition is such a rewarding practice that will help you move through life in a way that is more seamless, and brings you to your goals in the best way for you. It requires honest self-evaluation as well as faith and trust. Although you may hit challenges from time to time, building trust and knowledge in oneself is a cornerstone that will always be worthwhile.