Some of us hear our inner voice loud and clear. We make aligned decisions quickly and seamlessly. On the other hand, some of us have the opposite experience. We struggle to know what we truly think, want or don’t want. What has happened here is that we’ve silenced our own inner voice…
Intuition isn’t the easiest concept to define, despite the huge role it plays in our lives. Even Steve Jobs called it ‘more powerful than intellect.’ Cognitive science is starting to reveal answers, and even the U.S military began investigating the power of intuition (particularly its role in the fast decisions that often save lives in the field!).
In schools of Zen Buddhism, intuition is thought to be a mental state between the Universal mind and the mind of the individual. Some branches of Vedanta consider intuition as knowledge drawn from the source of all things. In the west, early mentions of intuition can be traced all the way back to Plato. In the Republic, he defines intuition as the ability of humans to ‘comprehend the true nature of reality.’ Regardless of the definition we lend to it, there’s no denying intuition’s role as an almost supra-force with the potential to benefit our lives.
The voice of Intuition
Our intuitive voice is an expression of our inner self. Its function is to tell us about ourselves and our unique truth in every moment of everyday. This is the seat of intuition: a sense of inner knowing, seeing and perceiving.
Most of us receive intuition through our emotions, sensations and thoughts. We can allow this beautiful tool to become stronger, when we practice listening to it. By doing so, the whisper of our inner intuition becomes louder and louder…
‘Intuition is seeing with the soul…’ – Dean Koontz
We learned to ignore our intuition because we were told it didn’t matter, or that we should listen to someone else. Unfortunately all too often, the voices of others became louder than our own. Even though this can be the case, intuitive guidance is always there. For example, you’re probably familiar with that weird feeling in your stomach when you’re unsure about something; or a stress headache from staying in an environment you’d rather not be in. You’ll notice how these physical messages tend to appear before we’ve mentally acknowledged the information!
When we’re disconnected from our inner voice, we’re essentially in a state of unconsciousness – a form of self-denial. Our inner guidance could be saying ‘I would love to be an actor,’ while on the surface we decide that putting ourselves out there would be out of the question. Our inner guidance might be saying ‘I really don’t want to go,’ while on the surface we say ‘I’d love to!’
You may have noticed that in times you’ve ignored your intuition, you were met with negative or painful consequences. This is simply because the inner self is always communicating your truth.
Techniques such as shadow-work are based on this premise – without listening to the inner voice, we have nothing authentic to work with. We’ve all witnessed a situation where someone says, ‘I’m fine,’ despite clearly not being so. In these cases, there’s simply no space for resolution. It’s only when we recognise where we actually are, that we can work with what’s going on beneath the surface.
Turning up the volume
Next time you’re feeling a strong emotion, such as feeling frustrated or inspired – recognise this as a call to listen from your intuitive voice. There’s never not a reason for feeling the way that we do. With your conscious attention and practice, your inner voice will start to increase its volume. You’ll find that you no longer need to turn your attention inwards to interpret or hear it. Rather, it will begin talking to you in a language you fully understand, meeting you halfway – so you can seamlessly express your authentic truth to the world.
Exercise: Listening to your inner voice
- Begin by closing your eyes and turning your attention inwards, into your inner world.
- Pay close attention to the sensations arising in the internal world. Feel them as sensory experiences. If the sensation were a colour, what would that be? Is it moving or still? What shape would it be? Or temperature? Does an image arise along with the sensation?
- When it feels natural, start mentally engaging with the sensation – as though it’s a separate entity that can communicate with you.
- Start asking it questions. Whichever ones flow organically such as; ‘what do you represent?’ or ‘what do you need me to know?’
- Listen to the answers that come to you. You may hear the answers, see them or sometimes ‘just know.’ No matter how the answers come, know that this is your inner voice communicating with you.
- Engage with this inner voice in whatever way feels right, based off the answers you receive; as if you are having an inner conversation with yourself. Come out of this exercise when it feels complete.
We promise there’s no right or wrong way to do this. It might feel a bit odd at first, but let yourself sink into it. It’s time to intuitively experiment! If you loved this article, you might also like Developing Your Intuition: A Beginners Guide.
Nisha is a freelance writer and Vedic astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her candle business, her life and loves involve: yoga, gardening and all things esoteric. You’ll find her out in nature, or curled up at home with a good book. Happy Buddha is one of her most treasured places on earth (and indeed where she met her fiancé!).