You're bored. You feel stuck and in a rut. Those are all ways we have of describing the times in our lives when we can't seem to move forward. You might ask your friends for advice or read a self-help book. However, within you is the most powerful wisdom of all — it's the one some call your "Inner Coach." It's also called by many other names; intuition, inner guidance, wisdom within, and the voice of your soul. Whatever you call it, learning to listen to its insight requires two things: a practice that facilitates quieting your mind, such as meditation, prayer, or communing with nature; and an understanding or discovery of how you receive answers. Intuition is one of the most common ways of receiving this wisdom. It's your "Inner Coach."
When you're struggling with something in your life, you want to fix it. You'll probably do anything to get out of the stress of the experience. But what if this conflict is really asking you to sit with the pain and listen to its message? What's really going on? What is the experience trying to teach you? If you can get to the heart of it, you'll prevent it from coming back in another form. So before you take action, be still and listen within. Your Inner Coach would like some time to be heard.
Pockets of Quietude
Best-selling author and management consultant Jim Collins, recommends creating what he calls "pockets of quietude" in your schedule. These can be small periods of time marked off on your schedule for self reflection. It's an appointment with yourself to find an inner calm, tap into your center, and find time for creative solutions to difficult problems. Pockets of quietude can also take the form of a day off, a few hours for a quiet lunch, or simply meditation time when you need creative inspiration and self-reflection. Taking those pockets of time can just be a moment of brief prayer and contemplation. You might ask yourself questions such as "What's the most loving response to this situation?" or "How would I approach this if I felt calm?" Pay attention to any intuitive response that makes you feel more peaceful or clear.
The dictionary defines intuition as "quick and ready insight." It comes from the Latin word "intueri" which means to "look within." Intuition tells you what you need to know, when you need to know it, providing valuable insight into yourself and the world around you. It's a connection to your soul. When you ask your intuition for insight, you're tapping into your Spirit and seeking wise guidance.
How do you receive intuitive information?
Intuition communicates in different ways to each of us. Following are some of the ways it makes itself known.
Inner Voice — Many people report a "still, quiet, inner voice." Your intuition will always communicate with you in a compassionate, loving manner that is perceptibly different from your normal inner chatter.
Dreams — Keep a pad of paper and pen beside your bed. Before you drift off to sleep, state simply, "I need information about ____." Write down your dream when you awaken to discern the guidance you've received.
Emotions — You may simply "feel right" about a certain course of action. Or you might experience a sense of distrust about an individual or situation. Get in the habit of checking in with your emotions before making a decision. "How am I feeling about this choice?"
Physical sensations — You may have heard of it referred to as a "gut feeling." However, there are many ways your body can communicate with you. Think back on when you've made a good or bad decision. How did you experience it in your body?
Instant knowing — You may receive a sudden flash of understanding. People often report that these knowings come when they least expect them — taking a shower, walking the dog, doing the dishes.
Symbols — It's often said that "A picture is worth a thousand words." You might receive a symbolic impression of a rocky road if you choose "Path A." If you choose "Path B," you may see a clear, well-paved road in your mind's eye.
Inner Coach Exercise:
Intuitive information comes to you most easily when you're in a relaxed state of mind. To get into a receptive mood close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths.
Bring to mind an issue or problem you're trying to solve. Ask your intuition a question about your concerns. Phrase your question in a way that evokes more than a "yes or no" answer. Below are some examples:
"How could I improve the relationship with my partner?"
"What could I do to increase my business this year?"
"What's my right next step?"
"What do I need to know about this issue?"
Write down any impressions you receive. You may find that intuitive insights won't pop into your mind right away, but will come hours after doing this exercise.
Assessing Intuitive Data
Let's say you have a choice to make and it must be made now. You've researched, asked questions and have all the facts in front of you. But you still don't know what to do. Your next step requires intuitive input. Here are three questions to stimulate that guidance.
1. What am I ready to act on right now?
Your decision may require a small step, not a huge leap. Quite often when you take a step forward, more information becomes available to you. Many people report that as they make an intuitive choice toward what proves to be a correct decision, events begin flowing more easily and effortlessly.
2. Which of my choices has the most "vitality?"
Think of the options you have before you. Which one are you drawn to? Is there one that leaps to your attention and captures your interest? You may experience a visceral charge about pursuing this course of action. Remember — kinesthetic or physical sensations are one of the ways that intuition communicates.
3. How do I feel about my choices?
Do you feel excited or passionate about one of your choices? This is one of the ways that intuition will point you in the right direction. Conversely, if a choice makes you feel depressed or discouraged, or you feel a great deal of resistance, you're ignoring a strong intuitive message if you continue on this path.
Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you'll get. Make the time to routinely check in with your intuition and you'll be rewarded with faster, stronger and more accurate insight. The benefit? You'll no longer feel stuck and you'll be on your way to a more fun and energized life!