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Intuition, Our Wise Guide

by Vivienne Silver-Leigh(more info)

listed in psychospiritual, originally published in issue 75 - April 2002

What is Intuition?

Intuition is a skill which improves with practice, if we listen to our inner voice, instead of ignoring it as most of us are programmed to do.

We can build our 'intuition muscle' if we learn to centre ourselves in the present moment, and cultivate the ability to pause and focus steadily, helping our intuition to wake up from its sleep. If you have to make a decision, you may well use both logic and intuition.

Together they are a powerful team which guide us to choose the best course of action for us personally.

After September 11th, I felt a strong urge to keep calm, to meet with others praying for peace, and to stop reading too many frightening newspaper reports. Intuitively, I found this was my personal way of coping with the enormity of terrorism.

The true psychic and many healers are people who have developed the intuitive function, as Jung called it, to a high degree. Not many people agreed with him at the time when he wrote that the inner voice was the midpoint between conscious and unconscious, but later other psychologists understood the importance of our intuitive powers. Carl Rogers, an American psychologist believed that "we are indeed wiser than our intellects, we are learning how sadly we have neglected the capacities of the nonrational, creative mind, the right half of our brain."

So intuition has come to be linked to the activity of the right hemisphere of the brain, which is often considered the feminine and creative side. "The first requirement for developing it is to be able to empty the mind of pressures and worries", says the healer Lilla Bek, and relaxation exercises will enable this to happen and the brain waves to change from left to right.

When I went to my first Quaker meeting, eight years ago, I had a profound experience of certainty that I felt really comfortable with others who believed in 'the light within every one of us'. I was quite astonished at my reaction, which was not rational, but I decided to follow my 'gut feelings' and investigated this unfamiliar spiritual tradition, which I have found deeply rewarding.

Children are often intuitive, as if they are free of the clutter of learning and control that we acquire as we get older. They are more tuned in to what is going on around them, and are not burdened with intellectualizing. They are often open to new possibilities, with a sense of knowing which adults lose. But we can get back in touch and slow down, paying attention to what is happening inside ourselves.

Nowadays we have so much technology taking us away from our internal centre, and so we need to disengage from all external stimuli, and make time for regular meditative practice. Then intuition will start to flow.

I find meditation and some deep breathing before seeing a client helps me become more relaxed and receptive, so that I not only listen for the level of feeling expressed but can detect what is not being said.

Case Examples

1. Chris is a client who always seems cheerful and pleasant, but a bit lifeless, and I wonder for some weeks when I will see the real person inside, as I suspect that there is more to her than I have yet seen. I do not know why I think this, but I trust my intuition, and I am rewarded when one day she talks animatedly about an old hobby she used to have, recording CDs in a studio with friends. I suddenly see a different Chris, whose eyes have brightened as she realizes that she wants to be creative again. When I comment, she nods, and decides that she wants to follow it up again, and a few weeks later reports that she has done so, and is feeling delighted. She looks and sounds much more lively.

2. Another client, Peter, is about to give up his secure, well-paid administrative job with responsibility and good companionship. But, after several years, he developed stress symptoms, took sick leave, and now feels 'called' to do something quite different. He wants inner peace, and has decided to use his savings to take up a new career, perhaps train as a therapist. He just 'knows' that this is the right time to change his life. But first he plans to travel abroad visiting several countries. He is acting both intuitively and rationally, clearing out his flat prior to letting it, and arranging to stay with old friends in New Zealand. He has to deal with fears about leaving his home, and reactions from his friends and colleagues. Eventually he gives notice at work, books a flight, and is suddenly thrilled at the idea of starting a new life. All his fears have vanished; he is following his inner certainty, and quite sure he is doing the right thing.

Intuition as a Powerful Tool

Intuition is now appreciated as a powerful tool although it has been neglected for far too long. Our society is not one that encourages its development, instead putting emphasis on the intellect. Nevertheless, Mozart, Einstein and Faraday are among the musicians and scientists who revealed that they trusted their intuitions, which produced their successes.

You can find many practical exercises to help develop your intuition in the books mentioned below. They all agree that it is necessary to sit quietly, remember that nature grows in silence, and that inner quiet will also help us to contact our intuition and show us the direction we need to take. We are overloaded with stimuli from our environment, but if we begin to reduce this, and start to focus our attention fully inside ourselves, this will help us access our own deepest knowledge.

Further Reading

Bek Lilla and Pullar Philippa. Healing with Chakra Energy – Restoring the Natural Harmony of the Body. Destiny Books. 1995.
Gawain Shakti. Living in the Light. Eden Grove Editions. 1988.
Gee Judy. Intuition – Awakening Your Inner Guide. Samuel Weiser Inc. Maine. 1999.
Peirce Penny. The Intuitive Way, A Guide to Living from Inner Wisdom. Beyond Words. ISBN 1885223552. 1998.
Also: http://www.intuitionmagazine.com

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About Vivienne Silver-Leigh

Vivienne Silver-Leigh had a career first as a speech therapist, and then became a lecturer in English and counselling. She trained counsellors for five years, and now has a private practice, working as a psychotherapist, from a humanistic/integrative perspective. Following a strong interest in spirituality, she learned yoga and various forms of breathwork and meditation. She can be contacted on e-mail: VSilverl@aol.com

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