Intuition is your inner knowing that goes beyond conscious reasoning. It is your inner voice whose whispers you habitually second-guess and whose callings you often ignore. Intuition is your soul’s way of communicating with you via your instincts and gut feelings.
Instincts are a primal factor of our psyche. We derive it from our ancestors who heavily relied on theirs to survive the wilderness of the ancient world. But with modernization and the shift towards a disconnected worldview, we forgot how to read our instincts clearly.
By tapping into our intuition we can connect with the most incredible and authentic version of ourselves. The expression of which is the utmost experience of self-expression and fulfillment.
So let us dive in and deconstruct intuition and learn seven simple ways to strengthen it.
How Does Intuition Work?
Instincts are felt in your gut. It often comes with a flash of clarity, a feeling of tension or uneasiness, goosebumps, sweaty palms and feet, or overthinking. It is remarkable how our instincts bypass our conscious minds and be precise at the same time. To shed light upon the mechanism of intuition, let us explore the two viewpoints of science and spirituality.
The Scientific Take on Intuition
Research suggests the presence of a second brain, a second information processing superhighway called the brain-gut axis consisting of an extensive network of neurons, constantly exchanging feedback on the state of affairs at both ends. This enteric nervous system is so independent that it can function without any inputs from our central nervous system, though both are constantly communicating. This is the network that is responsible for that uneasy feeling in your stomach when you feel nervous before a presentation or when you are in trouble.
To be specific, researchers found that the rostral medial orbitofrontal cortex OFC gets activated and assists in intuitive judgment by detecting potential content from parse environmental inputs.
You might wonder as to why our gut requires an independent nervous system at all. Is it solely to aid in the process of digestion? Or could it also be to communicate with the trillions of microbes residing in your gut that regulate digestion, nutrition, and other metabolic processes? So could these microbes also register our intuition and produces chemicals responsible for the sinking feeling?
In a study published in Gastroenterology in 2011, Bercik and colleagues ingested a strain of mice with antibiotics that altered the composition of their gut microbes which changed their behavior. The strain of shy mice became bold and adventurous. Gastroenterologist Emeran Mayer, MD, director of the Center for Neurobiology of Stress said “it’s almost unthinkable that the gut is not playing a critical role in mind states.”
The Spiritual Take on Intuition
As all matter, humans too exist both as particles and waves. Our whole self is not constrained by our 3-dimensional character. Infact our energy body encompasses our physical body to form our auric field or our spiritual or quantum body.
Being quantum, it is not constrained by the laws of the physical 3D world. Hence, your quantum self not only receives information from your physical environment but also interacts non-locally across different space-time realities. These non-local inputs are then registered by your heart and processed as instincts or gut feelings.
Your heart captures information not just from this realm but from various other quanta worlds. It processes all this information, packs it in a sort of zipped file, and sends it to your brain for cognitive evaluation.
So both perspectives only imply that analytical and instinctive processes are two different neural pathways. But though distinct they interact, and exchange information resulting in decision making.
Can you solely rely on intuition for decision-making?
In one study researchers measured the subtle physiological responses of participants who were asked to predict whether a picture would appear behind either of two curtains on a computer. The results showed that participants were able to predict the right curtain 2-3 seconds before the computer. Studies also suggest that while making major life decisions like choosing your life partner or deciding what investments to make, intuition leads to better outcomes.
However, according to Kahneman, just relying on intuition alone can cloud your judgment as intuition is often influenced by the way choices are framed. For instance, when the glass is perceived as half full it presents a more optimistic outlook than when it is perceived as half empty.
Intuition works best when paired with rational thinking. Daniel Kahneman – a noble prize winner in economics proposed two different thought systems. System 1 i.e., fast and intuitive, and system 2 i.e., slow and rational. Of the two, he suggests that system 1 functions at a survival mode making it more prone to error. System 2 on the other hand, is more reliable for good judgments as it makes decisions based on analysis by weighing the pros and cons of a situation rather than based on impulses.
But trusting intuition is crucial for good judgment and decision making. However, it does not come naturally to everyone. It requires understanding of how your inner voice connects and communicates with you. Following are a list of seven steps that will guide and assist you in strengthening your intuition:
7 ways to strengthen your intuition
Trusting your intuition will give you an edge over others in both your professional and personal lives. You will become more aware of the factors causing crisis and also learn ways to leverage situations in your favor. In other words, you will become aware of the consequences of your actions and their impact on your life in the long run.
To strengthen your intuition, it is imperative that you start by acknowledging your inner voice.
1. Get to know yourself
Connect with your inner child and her desires. Discover yourself and reconnect with your essence – your true self.
Your personality is like an onion with many layers and at the core lies your authentic self. The mask you wear as persona forms from years of conditioning and hinders your true self from authentically expressing itself. The more authentic you are, the clearer you will hear the callings of your soul. Introspecting the motifs behind your actions, indulging in hobbies you enjoy, journaling about your feelings, and exploring the basis of your beliefs are a few ways in which you can discover yourself.
2. Look for patterns in your past
Ever had situations in life you wish you approached differently? How do you think your choices would affect your life at the present?
Moments like missed opportunities or regrets are the situations where your intuition communicates with you in the subtlest of ways. Some describe this feeling as a deep inner knowing like an answer that demands no explanation. And despite being so obvious we second guess it simply because we cannot read it.
Be mindful of your feelings and emotions and what they are trying to communicate. Observe your body’s reactions to particular situations. You might experience sensations like goosebumps, a strong gut feeling or register an inherent inner knowing. To strengthen your intuition become observant of these subtle sensations and connect the dots to determine why it arises.
3. Capture your flashes
Intuition comes in flashes of awareness like “aha” moments. These are really flashes of self-realization or inner knowledge that becomes apparent. For instance, when Archimedes ran out to the street naked thrilled by his discovery, he was awestruck at the revelation of his intuition.
When you have such flashes of intuition, the feeling is almost supernatural or even divine. You will scream “I know it” in your head and feel immensely happy about your premonition. The more you capture these flashes, the more frequent they will be. In this way, you will strengthen your intuition.
4. Open your third eye chakra
Self-realization results in spiritual growth which opens your third eye chakra. The third eye or the pineal gland is the energy center between your brows. It is the point of connection between your conscious and unconscious mind. The third eye is associated with your ability to perceive things beyond the five senses and is connected to your body’s pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
Your brain emits beta waves when you experience sadness and anguish. It releases alpha waves when you feel happy and calm. Dolphins too emit a high level of alpha waves that function as sonar to help them navigate the sea. In humans, the pituitary and hypothalamus glands radiate these alpha waves that function as sonar for the body. Since children have tender glands it allows them to be more perceptive and intuitive.
5. Connect with your heart
Your heart has a little brain of its own. It has about 40000 neurotransmitters just like that in the brain. Hence, your heart is as much conscious as your brain or perhaps even more.
Your brain regulates the autopilot mode of your consciousness and helps you navigate through life based on patterns of neural behavior. While the heart can be perceived as the conscious driver of your life. Patients with heart implants report experiencing the same emotions, sensations, and even memories of the donor. Listening to your heart is listening to your intuition because the heart always acts with love while the brain is predominantly concerned with survival.
6. Have an open mind
You may have shoved away your intuition many a times simply because you were close-minded to even consider that something could exist beyond your five senses. However, just because you cannot perceive something does not mean it cannot exist. For instance, there are frequencies of sound and spectrums of light that humans cannot perceive but they surely exist!
Instead of shoving away information that does not conform to your notions of reality, at least give every perspective one chance to prove itself. Consider finding facts and evidence before validating or nullifying an idea. Because sometimes reality can be much stranger than fiction.
7. Meditate for 20 minutes every day
Meditation is therapeutic. It clears your mind and calms you down. With a calm mind, it is easier to navigate through your day and life in general.
There are different kinds of meditations, you pick one that befits you the most. As a beginner, you can opt for guided meditations that focus on breathwork and awareness. You can also listen to high frequencies while meditating like 432 Hz love frequency for connecting with your heart. For opening your third eye, you can listen to binaural beats that produce specific patterns in your brainwaves. It contains very high frequencies that resonate with third eye-opening, love, beauty, sensuality, and harmony. Sit or lie down comfortably with no disturbance and relax as you consciously breathe in and out. Try it for 2 weeks, 20 mins every day and you will notice a difference in your energy and will also strengthen your intuition.
The bottom line
With practice, you can strengthen your intuition and become more aware of your life choices. It is all about finding your connection with that guiding inner voice which prioritizes your best interest.
And always remember that intuition works best when paired with reasoning. How luck is a byproduct of opportunity and preparation, right decisions are a result of instinct and reason.