Did you know there are ways of developing intuition at any point in your life?
We process a lot of information every day, the vast majority of which we are not aware of. This is because most of what our brains are doing is filtering out unwanted details to allow us to focus on the most important ones.
Often, stuff that we’re not paying direct attention to is still influencing us. This can radically change notions of self-determination and “free will” in our heads.
There are techniques that can help us develop intuition, including body sensing and meditation.
In fact, almost any type of mindfulness practice can help us understand what the brain is doing, and help us pay attention to information around us.
A mindfulness coach can help you with the process of developing intuition.
Developing Intuition Through Body Sensing
Does intuition actually exist, or is it just a generalized, vague sense based on some neural processes just below the level of conscious awareness?
I studied with a spiritual teacher who taught us long and hard about “body sensing.” So, what exactly does this mean?
Simply put, it means paying close attention to what you are feeling in your body—your moment-to-moment experience.
Often, we’re too busy thinking our way through life to pay attention to what we are feeling. And if we do notice, we then often jump to judgment, “That’s bad,” “that’s good,” “I’m not doing this right,” “I bet they don’t like me,” or whatever instant reflex you have in that voice in your head that keeps you down.
Using your body as a means to connect to your experience opens a world of experience and information that we all had at one time as infants but have learned over time to ignore.
Continued practice of body sensing yields a great deal of “intuitive” information that is beyond the conscious mind to name or identify.
Developing intuition is to seek understanding, not through a rational thought process—intuition is more direct and less thought-bound.
Body sensing is a practice of presence.
When you take time to check in with what you’re feeling in your body, you are immediately placed in the “now.” By actively taking your attention to notice your bodily sensations, you take yourself out of thoughts and put yourself into the immediate moment.
This is where intuition dwells.
Meditation practices advise focusing on your breach, your nose, your posture, or other body sensation. Becoming aware of your body sensations is the doorway to mindfulness, and mindfulness is the door to awakening.
To benefit from body sense, you must slow down. There’s a rule here from neuropsychology, the mind is slower than the body.
This may not seem obvious, but if you listen to those who are masters of their bodies, they will never say that the path to mastery involves thinking about what they are doing.
Perhaps in a pre-visioning way thinking may be effective, but during the execution of some complicated stunt or action, the mind must get out of the way.
There are plenty of examples from people who are far more body-centered than I am, but from my own experience, I know this to be true.
Learning to “Take” the Fall
Here’s a story about my process of developing intuition.
When I was younger, I studied Taekwondo, Judo and some Aikido. I had a knack for it but was not an expert. Just reasonably well-informed.
These skills still serve me today as I learned a lot about the mechanics of a body in motion, balance, and how to create big forces by using your whole body to create an impact, rather than just throwing an arm or a leg.
A big part of this training is learning to take falls and rolls.
Years later, I lived in Boulder, Colorado and was the proud father of a six-month-old baby boy.
One day, I was out on a walk on a popular path by Boulder Creek with my son Zeke. I had him carefully secured in one of those baby carriers that mount in front of the body where the baby faces out.
As I walked, my foot hit an obstacle that I did not see on the path below (obstructed by the carrier with the baby) as my center of gravity was a bit more forward than I began to fall forward.
I have not fallen down more than two or three times unintentionally in my adult life, and here I was going down, but with Zeke strapped on me in such a way that he would receive the brunt of the force if things continue as they were set in motion.
Suddenly, without thought and effortlessly, I tucked my head down and committed to landing on the back of my shoulders. It worked!
Much to my surprise, from a standing position, I tucked, rolled and wound up back on my feet with Zeke gleefully along for the ride.
Onlookers witnessed a disaster had been avoided. Relief, concern, wonder, surprise, all of that was expressed by the strangers around me that came over to the scene. No one was more surprised than me.
Thank God for that Judo training.
The Body Knows
I once took a class on the Aikido movement by the great Aikido master Hiroshi in Boulder.
We were practicing a movement, and he took my forearm and placed it on his, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “body knows.”
This phrase was often repeated in his class and is meant to say that when you touch another person, skin to skin, your body knows how to respond.
Why am I telling you these stories? I want to illustrate that there is useful information to be had by someplace other than your thinking mind—in other words, the “body knows.”
The body knows what to do and when to do it. You don’t need to think about it. Trust your body.
In this case, we are talking about martial arts, but it could just as well be dancing, healthcare, making love or dodging basketballs. This “body knowledge” is one of the key contributors to developing intuition.
This is one part of a multi-part article on intuition. To get the next delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter.
If you want to discover your power of intuition and start building a more meaningful, joyful life, I can help. Contact me to learn more.