Intuition - the ‘sixth sense’ - has had a rather chequered history. At various times it was considered a gift bestowed on only a few, a curse leading to persecution or a form of woo-woo imagination children were taught to suppress. Although some individuals seem naturally wired for strong intuitive abilities - as others are for athletic or musical talents - that kind of intelligence can be enhanced by most sensitive people.

What form does intuition take?
There is nothing airy-fairy about intuition. It is an additional sense you can access and consult for valuable insights and direction in life. It could be a gut feeling, hunch or sense of inner knowing. Things are perceived and known - sometimes with inexplicable certainty - without conscious processing. This inner knowing often comes out of the blue, when suddenly a whole picture or an action you need to take become clear.

Picking up subtle energetic clues from the environment, other people and even future events, intuition extends beyond the official five senses and can be mistaken for imagination. It’s easy to discredit the inner whispers and ignore them. But often this comes at a price and leads to regrets: I knew it wouldn’t work out but I did it anyway. Now I’ve got to sort out the consequences! If only I’d followed my instincts I wouldn’t be in such a mess now.

Trust your vibes
If you have to make a decision but are unsure which way to go, your logical mind may not be sufficient to penetrate confusion, self-doubt and uncertainty. In that case, consult a different source of wisdom within yourself, your own inner compass. Based on your own individual experience and perceptions, it will point you in the direction that is right for you, no matter what other people might want or what appears to be favourable at the time.
Going beyond purely mental processing, intuition also includes the subconscious mind and your higher functions.

Access your intuition for decision-making
Choose a time and space where you can be quiet and undisturbed.

Think of a question or an issue you want to contemplate. When you are new to this process, don’t seek answers for life or death issues or try to fathom the future. Allow yourself to become more confident (and competent) in accessing and evaluating your inner wisdom before tackling the real big questions.

Write the question/issue down. Keep it simple and brief.

Feel your feet in contact with the ground. Focus on the area of your heart. Breathe calmly and evenly. Let the body soften and release any tension. You should feel relaxed and comfortable, contained within yourself, in a quiet receptive state of mind, gently tuning in to your own inner wisdom.

Hold your questions lightly in your mind and wait. Don’t force anything. Be open to whatever comes. It could be a feeling, words, ideas, knowings or thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere. If it remains hazy, give yourself a little nudge: How do I really feel about the whole situation? What do I need to know? What feels like the right thing to do? Don’t push, let answers arrive by themselves.

Write down anything that will help you remember what came up. Do not think about it, judge or dismiss it. Just record the information from inside you, nothing else.

Ask yourself follow-up questions as they occur to you. Wait, be open to any answer that may come. Don’t dwell on it. Just record.

Finish when you have gathered enough material or found your answer. Get back into your normal state and take a look at what you wrote down. Only now should you analyse what came up in the process. Ask yourself questions like these: Does it feel true? Does it resonate with me? Does it seem the right answer/ way to go? Is it supported by what I already know about the situation? Does it feel right? Keep probing to make sure the information and insights you received are valuable and ring true rather than fantasy. Until you have learnt to understand and trust your inner wisdom, treat it with caution, as guideline rather than gospel to be followed blindly.

Find your own way
Practicing the above steps will help you become more proficient at accessing your own inner guidance. But there are many other ways of working with intuition. Find the one that works best for you. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t seem to be getting any worthwhile information or if nothing happens at all. You may not be in the right state or the time is not right for insights to flow.

Intuition is a different sense to seeing, smelling or hearing. It will not always be summoned at will, right there and then, when you search for its wisdom. Nothing may happen during your session, but then in the bus to work, an insight pops into your head! Accessing your own inner guidance requires patience and trust that one way or another the right answers will come to you if you remain open to that possibility.

What role does intuition play in your life? Are you accepting or ignoring its whispers? How can you make it practical in your own situation?

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Author's Bio: 

Christiana is a registered psychologist and writer with extensive experience in private practice, as a corporate consultant, critical incident counsellor and workshop facilitator. Combining professional expertise and personal experiences, she now specialises in creating self-help materials for personal growth and mental health. Her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway.