Have you ever made a decision that was in line with your best experiential judgment but against your gut? Whether it’s the right call or not, the uncertainty is enough to deter a positive outcome. Ideally, we can learn to align our gut instincts with our best judgment and nurture our intuition into something we can and frequently do trust, rely on, and believe in. Gabrielle Bernstein, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of many spiritual reads including her most recent book, Super Attractor, weighs in.
First of all, what is our intuition? We’ve all heard terms like “a woman’s intuition” or “a mother’s intuition,” but intuition is something we all possess—though perhaps women are a little more inclined to connect spiritually with our natural cognitive inner workings. Bernstein describes this a little more whimsically: “We all have this groovy inner guidance system, but many of us disconnect from it. If we want to trust our intuition, we must release all disbelief and heighten our awareness of our inner voice.”
Essentially, even if we aren’t aware of it, our gut or intuition is ever-present. It’s not a nagging voice in our head, and it’s not a devil on our shoulder. “Our intuition is a kind, loving inner voice that guides us toward positive actions and peaceful outcomes.” Bernstein also explains that sometimes intuitive guidance comes through as a powerful feeling of inspiration, or even a tingly sensation. Often, the inspiration that strikes up intuitive direction shows up as a strong sense of knowing in our gut. This can refer to people, circumstances, and decision-making, though we don’t always tune in to what it has to say.
She mentions that another major block to receiving the best of our intuition is fear. Whenever we get scared or nervous, we don’t trust ourselves, and we cut off communication with our inner guide. “Thoughts like ‘I can’t,’ or ‘there’s not enough,’ or ‘there’s no way’ block us from creative ideas and intuitive guidance. Then fear leads us to overthink and start future-tripping negative outcomes.” All of these self-made blockades disconnect us from our intuitive guide within.
Bernstein runs us through this strategy: “You can begin this practice with two minutes of stillness each morning. Sit comfortably in silence and connect to your breath. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When two minutes is up, take note of whatever your intuition tells you and write it in a notebook. Trust your first instinct. For one week, document the intuition that comes through after your two minutes of stillness. At the end of the week, reread what you’ve documented. It’s likely that you’ll see patterns and guidance that may not have come through without this stillness practice.”
Take this exercise into your day-to-day life and trust that the more you practice the art of listening to your intuition, the more you’ll trust its loving guidance. And if fear still has a hold on you, try starting small. On your drive home, if you get the slightest inkling to take a different route, give it a try. Perhaps you’ll miss some traffic due to a road closure, or avoid a fender bender. Maybe your gut is telling you to grab that drink with a friend, even if the couch is beckoning. Perhaps your gut is warning you of a coworker’s negative energy. Start small, listen, and heed.