Even if you feel like you’re not very well in touch with your intuition, you know what it feels like. It’s that moment of feeling that you know something, but you don’t quite know what it is. It can feel like someone whispering in your ear, a rumbling in your gut, an uneasy feeling, or the moment of waking up. The feeling is often very faint. You may miss most of those moments, or let them pass, thinking that the feeling will return.
These moments are precious, unique—and fleeting—messages. They often do not come back, of if they do, it’s usually too late. We can cultivate our ability to notice and act upon intuitive messages in the moment. This is a practice of embodied self-awareness, and slowing down enough to notice.
The next time you notice a feeling like this, stop for a moment before you move on or return to whatever you were doing. Again, the feeling will likely be very faint. You will be unsure of it—but if you notice something, then pay attention.
Focus on what you noticed, whatever form it takes, and of how you felt when you noticed it. What was the feeling in your body? Replay the message. Feel into the words, images, feelings, thoughts, colors, sounds, the people that appear in the message, and let your mind wander towards any action could be suggested. It often helps to meditate or journal with what you noticed as a starting point. This is an act of free association, of dreaming towards meaning.
Feel though any action or meaning that surfaced. How would you would feel if you took the action that the message suggested? If there is no specific action, how would you feel if the meaning in the message was possible? Journal this as well.
Now, test your intuition. Act upon the message. If there is an action suggested, you know what to do. If you are still largely unfamiliar with your intuition, it’s may well not be the time to make a big move, but you can test the truth of what you noticed by making a smaller move in the direction of what was suggested. Do only what you can do. If there was no specific action suggested, again, consider that there must be some degree of truth to the message, however strange, abstract, foreign, opposite it may seem. You may not know what to do with many messages; meditate on them, journal about them, sketch them, and file them away for future reference.
Finally, take note again of how you feel now that you have taken some action, or digested the message. Does how you feel match with how you expected to feel? What are the results of your action?
Regardless of the results, you have exercised your intuition. If how you feel after acting or having digested the message matches with how you expected to feel considering the message beforehand, then you have some validation that your intuition is getting stronger. You had a sense that you would feel a certain way—that there would be a certain result—and that’s what happened. Given this experience, in the future you will be more likely to notice intuitive messages when they occur, and to trust them. Like anything else, we get good at what we do. The intuitive muscle is strengthened by exercise.
If the results are unexpected, that is, if you do not feel as you expected to feel when considering the message, you may want to put some energy into improving your ability to feel. Feelings are the raw material of intuition, and if your feelings are unclear, confusing, or absent, intuition will produce confusing results. Imagine a woodworker using a piece of wood full of knots, or a musician playing an unfamiliar or un-tuned instrument. Feeling is also a practice, and so improving your ability to feel clearly is a simple as doing things that make you feel. Do things that you make you feel good. Walking, hiking, or running outdoors, in nature, is excellent basic physical practice, as is yoga, meditation, dancing, playing music, making any kind of art, or speaking openly and honestly with close friends. If you have deep difficultly knowing your feelings, or they remain confusing—as they did for me—you might consider therapy, and also what else might be getting in the way of your feelings.
Over time, this practice of noticing, interpreting, and acting upon intuitive messages as they occur will strengthen your intuition and your ability to act in the moment, leading you towards greater personal expression—and towards freedom.