Why Do We Ignore Our Intuition?
I'm sure most of us have ignored the still, small voice, even when it was yelling at us, and later regretted it. When I talk to people about their intuition, usually some guilt or regret come up about not listening, especially in the realm of romantic relationships.
I might hear: "A part of me knew it was time to leave but I stayed." Or "I knew he would be bad for me but I went ahead and got involved anyway." Now this is often years down the road, after lots and lots of heart ache, perhaps a divorce and financial problems, too. "Why didn't I listen to that still, small voice?"
You're not the only one who's asked that question. For four years, I ignored my intuition telling me a guy was wrong for me. I mistook the voice of wisdom for the voice of fear. "You're just afraid it won't work out like most relationships you've had," I'd say to myself. "Hang in there. He's got a lot of the qualities you've wanted."
But then after I was all in, he started getting angry at stupid, little things. I stood up for myself but knew I didn't want to live with someone who was constantly sweating the small stuff. My intuition chimed in in it's subtle, reasonable way: yes, you don't want to live on pins and needles with someone who has anger issues.
Then I'd talk myself back into the relationship: But I'm a journalist and he's a publisher, what a great opportunity this is! What a great team we will make. The mind and the heart battled on like this on a daily basis. The back and forth, the indecision was draining, depressing and disempowering. We lived together, too, which made it even harder to leave. I didn't want to fail in yet another relationship! Can you relate?
But one night I had the most eye-opening, magnificent, yet disturbing dream. My father, who I loved dearly and who died when I was 11, appeared as a ghost, floating above me, gliding along every ceiling of every room in the house. "You must get out of this house," he chanted over and over again in a haunting voice..
Was that a wake-up call or what? That's when I learned that when I'm not listening to wisdom, I might be lucky enough to have a dream that makes me listen. The next day I went to my job as a writer for a computer company and started planning my escape. That evening, I even took a bottle of wine to my mother's house and drank a glass or two with her. I knew she didn't like him and she would be glad to celebrate with me. And that same night I told him the relationship wasn't working, threw all my clothes into my convertible Triumph Spitfire and drove to a hotel, where I stayed for about a month. Heartbreak Hotel, alright.
I soon realized one of the underlying reasons I stayed. And this is why it is so tricky sometimes to get out of relationships. That relationship was distracting me from some deep traumatic pain I had been running from for years. But leaving the relationship was also the beginning to healing, lots of personal growth and a new life.
So we stay in relationships because we're afraid of change, of failure, of loneliness, of things getting worse. We don't want to listen to that voice of wisdom when it is bound to bring pain into our lives, when it's telling us to do the scariest thing when we want to do what's safest. But what happens if we don't listen to it? Even more pain? Sometimes... But let's not feel guilty about it. We learn when we are meant to learn and we do the best by the light we see at the time. God bless us all.
I welcome comments and questions. In the meantime, keep practicing tuning in to your Self. Love, Megan
What Intuition Is Not
As you are well aware, there are many "voices" inside your head. It can be crazy-making and seem impossible to know which one is THE still, small voice, the voice of wisdom. The only antidote is to get to know your thoughts, to impartially listen without judgment and discover what is going on in there. So instead of saying to yourself, Help! I need to get out of my head and reach for that glass of wine, say: Hello in there! with curiosity. You'll never regret the self-knowledge you gain.
You'll discover most thoughts are pretty mundane and repetitive. Some are lovely, creative and kind thoughts. Others, that take up a lot of energy and head space, are justifying emotions, thoughts, opinions and judgments. Some, even harder to let go of, are clusters of fearful, sad or angry thoughts originated by small or large traumas and triggered by events in your current life. Both patterns demand much of your attention, leaving little room for peace.
The tricky thing is that it is only when we are void of any strong emotion--guilt, sadness, anger, fear and even excitement, that the still, small voice reveals itself. In fact, any strong emotion that is not joy, gratitude, love and peace closes off the channels through which our wisdom flows.
Even though it can be extremely motivating, strong desire is another deterrent to intuition. When we are attached to life going a certain way, there's no space for the inner voice. This one is hard because the desires can be so strong and feel so healthy! And noble, non-attached desires are healthy. (The key word being non-attached.)
We can also pretend we're non-attached and we really aren't. We justify up and down and all around how we are so right in wanting this particular thing or situation. The fruition of this goal will be the answer to all our problems! In this case, you might just talk your self into thinking you have been inspired by divine guidance. I've done this!
But If we try to be aware of our desires and ambitions and not let them get out of hand, it's easier to set them aside and open to our inner wisdom. If we daily practice surrendering the results of our actions and knowing we would be OK with or without this person, job, house or trip, we have a better chance at hearing the subtle wisdom guiding us ever so quietly.
We must also watch out for imagining we heard an intuitive message when we're tired of waiting for an answer. Let’s say we really want to solve a problem or make a decision and we have prayed and meditated, walked in the woods, etc., and nothing has come. If we are on fire with frustration and impatience, it's possible we may just imagine we received an intuitive answer and we really didn't.
Meditation, managing emotions and stepping back with mindfulness contributes to even-mindedness, fertile soil in which wisdom reveals itself. It is so easy to get caught up in strong emotions and identify with them. Once we realize we have lost ourselves in emotions, we can take a breath and begin to understand what is happening. When we become the witness, we see how transitory emotions are and if we don’t feed them with the mind’s story about who’s right or wrong or whatever, through our intuition we find the pearls of wisdom from each experience and all the emotions fade away..
Intuitional experiences come when you least expect them, when you are calm, humble, peaceful, patient, trusting, non-attached, surrendered yet empty of desire and strong emotion. They can come when you're driving, showering or cooking something you've prepared before. When you're receptive, someone can say something to someone else and you'll think, That's exactly what I needed to hear. Or you can see a movie or read a book and find the wisdom hidden in the words. So put those decisions you have to make on the back burner, clear your mind, live your life and know that guidance will come! Easier said than done. But I know you can do it! Stay tuned for more about how easy it is to ignore intuition in the next blog.
Make a Commitment to Your Intuition
Making a commitment to intuition is like building a nest inside yourself, where you can still your thoughts and feel at home inside yourself. Walking on the beach one day, that image came to me and it made me smile. Stick by stick, I build my nest high up in the redwood tree of my soul. Like an eagle, I fly to that nest and sit quietly on a daily basis. There, my perspective is broader; my thoughts are quieter and I’m more receptive to inner guidance.
We all need a place to go inside ourselves where our thoughts settle, where we can nourish that connection with the still, quiet voice of wisdom. Are you ready to tune into the call of your deeper heart and embrace the wisdom the soul holds for you? Then it’s time to build that home inside yourself.
How could you begin to make that commitment to yourself? Would it be in the form of a prayer? Help me listen to the voice of wisdom. Or an affirmation—Every day I listen to the wisdom within and become more and more receptive to it. It is with me every step of the way.
If you choose an affirmation, make sure you can feel the truth in it. If not, change the wording and see if that helps. Imagine or remember what it is like to be connected to this part of you and feel it while you say the affirmation.
Would a visualization help you--like with my nest high in the redwood? Would the prayer or affirmation or visualization be constant? Would you do it in the morning and the evening? Would you look back on the day and see how your intuition tried to communicate with you, if you listened and, if not, what stopped you from listening? Would you keep track in a journal what you are discovering about this exciting part of you and how it tends to communicate to you? Do you have intuitive dreams that reveal solutions to problems or information about situations and people? Do you get a feeling in your heart, gut, or an opening in the mind? Are the thoughts quiet or loud? Would you pay attention to your breath to keep you calm and receptive? Would you meditate more to build that awareness and relationship with the divine within you?
Every day in subtle ways the still, small voice invites us to step away from ego consciousness and enter the Light of Divine understanding. Once you make the commitment and start paying attention, it is actually very simple. If you relax the body and find a way to quiet the mind, the still, small voice will come. Trust that this soul connection is just waiting for you to listen and be ready for its whisperings.
Your Inner Voice
A woman’s husband of 25 years lay dying and she makes a plea. She prays that he stays with her, even if he were in a wheelchair or if he needed 24-hour care. Just let him live, she prayed.
Then she heard a quiet voice in her head say “No.” She was so shocked she had to repeat it in her own voice “No?” And it said it again, “No.” A feeling of great calm came over her. She knew it was his time and that somehow, she and her three school age children would be alright.
A few days after he had died, she was lying in bed unable to sleep and she found herself praying, What am I going to do now? I’ve been a stay at home mom; I’ve home schooled the kids but what can I do to support us all? She didn’t hear a voice this time but instead, a strong thought entered her mind: I will make a new life for you.
She now has another wonderful husband and a life so different and yet very fulfilling. She heard the inner voice and she trusted it.
Her inner voice or her intuition guided her when she needed direction, just as your inner voice can guide you. We all need wisdom and the best possible guidance is within you, just as it was with this woman at the bedside of her dying husband.
It is with you every second of the day, during good times and bad. It’s that guardian angel you’ve always wanted, guiding you where to go, what to do, even what to say. It is a part of you that transcends desire and attachment, that sees the whole picture and what is good for all concerned. It is ultimate wisdom, peace, joy and love. It is our connection to the soul.
As a society, we have lost our soul connection in almost every aspect of life. Thousands of years ago, people were more in tune with the rhythms of Nature and knew how much they depended on Spirit for sustenance. As we have become more knowledgeable and inventions have made our lives more secure in some ways, we have stopped feeling so dependent on Nature and Spirit and lost that priceless relationship with it.
It is past time to rejoin that precious part of you. Nothing happens without the help of Spirit. Your spark of your Truth Known by Many Names--God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha Nature, Divine Mother, etc, lives inside you, ready to guide you as long as you believe it is there and you learn to trust it.
Introduction: Intuition for parents, how to teach it to children and more on spiritual books
When I was a parent of a young child, I longed to teach my daughter about meditation, intuition and how to live a spiritual life. In the nineties, there weren't many spiritual books for children. So a friend and I started a Sunday school class at our Self Realization Fellowship meditation circle in Los Osos, CA. Lessons were already written for us by SRF and that was wonderful.
At that time, it was hard to tell if the spiritual ideas were sinking in. Sometimes my daughter resented my meditations at home because it meant time away from me. I invited her to join me, reviewed how to observe her breath, which she would do for a short time and then run off to play.
Along with talking about and demonstrating kindness and compassion and other spiritual qualities, I also taught her how to stand up for herself and others when necessary and to face her fears.
One day I heard raucous sounds coming from my daughter's bedroom. I opened the door. Our male tabby cat arched his back, hissed and growled. Our shelty ran around, bumping into furniture, barking nervously. When I asked what was happening, my daughter said, "I'm teaching them how to face their fears, Momma, like you said!"
Even though you may not know what or if anything is connecting in those little synapses, share your spiritual values with your children with joy. But, always remember, it is most important to demonstrate them in your everyday life. That's when the real teaching begins. Besides, it's a good way to practice walking your talk.
Now that my daughter is 28, it is a dream come true to see how much she really did absorb during those precious early years. In this blog, I look forward to imparting more of what I know about intuition and how you can use it to improve your lives and later how to teach it to your children, so you as parents can experience the treasure of it yourselves and then pass it on. I also plan to review spiritual books for children on meditation and other topics. I love finding spiritual books for children and I am seeing more of them in bookstores these days...sweet, inventive, poetic, lovely ones for you and your children to enjoy.
Until next time,