Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I wanted to see if I really could hear and follow my “conscience,” my intuition, the Spirit, the whispers. So, I did an experiment. I decided that, for one week, I would listen extra carefully to that inner, guiding voice and obey whatever it told me to do. It changed my life.
I’ve always been a spiritually-focused person. I pray, meditate, and study scriptures each day. I’ve always felt the bigger, greater purpose in life and have sought to know more about it. Now, however, I was learning in a whole new way–not with my brain, mind, or even my heart, but from the depths of my spirit, my soul. The more I slowed down and paid attention, the more whispers I heard. The more I heard, the more I followed, and quickly I began to see the miracle of trusting my intuition–peace. Peace, because life became so much smoother. Not easier, exactly, but smoother–like following a trail of bread crumbs toward a desired result.
Yes, a few of the bigger things felt smoother. Things like big decisions I needed to make about school and family life, or changes in my schedule that led to greater balance in my school, family, and home life with my husband and two children. Even more so, however, it was the little things. “The baby’s crying after his nap, but I just got in the bath. Ugh! I guess I’ll get out,” I’d tell myself. Then, I’d hear, “Wait.” So, I would. And you know what? He’d fall back asleep for another half hour. Or I’d feel I should stop for gas now, even though I still had a quarter tank left and wanted to just get home. But, I would, and the next morning, leaving for a long drive I’d be running late and think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to stop for gas right now!” Life felt so much smoother.
These big and little things taught me a valuable lesson: We all have this inner voice–intuition, conscience, the Spirit (whatever you want to call it)–and when we work on enhancing our ability to listen to and trust it, the payoff can be great. As I wrote in This is How We Grow: “We spend so much time and energy trying to do it on our own, do it our way, that we miss the very voice whispering exactly what we need. By submitting, humbling ourselves, and actively listening to those whispers, we receive answers, and by obeying those promptings we receive an ease and certainty about life. As one author so aptly put it: ‘Knock, ask, listen, receive, obey.’ It really is the simplest and most fulfilling way to live.” (p.388-9)
Yes, following our intuition is the simplest and most fulfilling way to live. It can not only protect us and keep us safe, through warnings and promptings that we heed; it can also lead us down that path of prosperity, peace, and personal power. It can lead us to the life we are meant to live, the work we are meant to do, the person we are destined to become. We will feel the power of following our intuition as we seek to enhance our ability to trust and obey the whispers. (For more, listen to my episode of “Motherhood” on Trusting your Intuition, and hear about a revolutionary home security system, SimpliSafe, too! For safety tips, follow SimpliSafe on Twitter!)
3 Steps to Enhancing and Trusting Intuition
The big question, as always, though, is how? How can we enhance our ability to hear, trust, and follow our intuition–in the small and big things of life? I have three simple steps I have found useful. I hope they will do the same for you!
1) Decide. First, we must decide we want to live this way–we want to follow our intuition and see where it leads us. That’s what author Gail Harris encouraged in our recent “Motherhood” radio episode on trusting our intuition, and I agree. Until we decide to live by our intuition–to trust and obey those whispers–we simply won’t be committed enough to actually hear and follow them. We must choose to trust that inner voice in order to then practice trusting and following it.
2) Experiment and practice. Just like I did years ago, it’s important to experiment and practice hearing and trusting your inner voice. If you’ve already decided this is how you want to live, then you’re well on your way. Next, you can choose to put that desire into daily, hourly, and really, moment-ly practice. It will take time to learn to hear the whispers of the Spirit, your conscience, or your intuition. Give yourself that time. It will take practice, trial and error, to know when it’s trying to tell you something, to stop and pay attention, and to follow. When you don’t listen and follow your intuition, you’ll know, because you’ll come to a block or a challenge or a realization that “I should’ve listened…” We practice, and we learn, and we practice again, and practice makes progress. Practice will eventually enhance our ability to trust, follow, and obey our intuition.
3) Listen and obey. This is part of experimenting and practicing, but deserves its own step, because it’s really “the way” we learn to trust and follow our intuition. Moment by moment, listen for the whispers. Hear what they’re telling you. It may not actually sound like words but might be more of a feeling of what to do or not do. Pay attention to this feeling. Remember, intuition is soft and quiet. It’s not a loud shouting voice or feeling; it’s most often gentle but direct guidance. If you’re not still and quiet enough to listen, you will miss many of those promptings. Make stillness a part of your intuition practice. Meditate, pray, ponder, or just sit still and “be” for a while. Journal about what you hear or feel or sense within. All of these can help you develop that ability to more easily hear or feel those whispers as you grow.
Many people ask, “How do I know if it’s my intuition or just my brain, telling me what to do?” Here’s what I tell them: Your conscience won’t argue or reason about things; it will simply tell it like it is. “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” If you’re hearing things like, “Maybe I should…,” “I wonder if…” or “But what if…” it’s more likely your mind or brain reasoning things out. While it’s important to use our brains to reason things out sometimes, intuition works in a different way. It says it like it is. No “should’s” or “what if’s,” just direct, simple, soft guidance. Following our intuition is about learning to hear and trust those direct whispers that will lead us to Truth and Love and Joy and Peace–to our ultimate life’s purpose and the fulfillment of it.
Final Step…Repeat, and Learn
Repeat this process as many times as it takes to trust yourself and the guidance you continually receive. This is a skill, just like learning to play a musical instrument, and it must be practiced daily in order to feel proficient at it. In fact, for most of us I’d say our practice will most likely be life-long.
What’s the payoff? You’ll have to discover that for yourself, but from my experience, overall, the payoff of living by trusting and following your intuition is living with greater peace. Peace with knowing you’re doing what is “right” for you at every step, peace with feeling the power of a life of intuition that leads you to who you’re destined to be, and peace with yourself, for letting yourself be led where you ultimately need to go.
Listen to my episode of “Motherhood” radio on “Trusting and Following Your Intuition,” and learn about SimpliSafe, too! “Choose to grow through motherhood” with me! Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.
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