26 Jun Inner Knowing/Inner Wisdom by Sara Loughlin, LCSW
This month’s theme is about listening to our intuition. Our intuition is often referred to as “inner knowing,” “inner wisdom” or “a gut feeling.” It can be especially helpful to listen to our intuition when making an important choice or assessing new people in our lives. People will say things like: “I had a bad feeling about him when I first met him but ignored it.” I think it is especially difficult to connect to our inner wisdom in today’s society. We are inundated with information from social media, TV, news and other sources which can distract from our ability to attune to our more subtle feelings. So how do we connect to our intuition and strengthen this connection?
One of the most important ways we can do this is through mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is about being present and attuned to what is currently going on — not having our thoughts and mind elsewhere. This is actually much harder to do than it sounds. We are often either thinking about an interaction or event that happened earlier, or what we have to do next, or even what we are going to eat later. Maybe we are worried about something in the future and are preoccupied with that. By not being present in the moment, any gut feelings you may have will be drowned out by the thoughts going on in your head. One way to try to be more present in the moment is to focus on the breath. Try to become more aware of when your mind is elsewhere, take a few deep breaths while focusing on them, and then bring your attention back to the present moment. This is a practice, and it will take time (maybe a lifetime!) to get better at this. Once we are more mindful of our feelings in the present, we have to take those feelings into consideration as serious data points and not brush them off.
The practice of a formal daily meditation is also very helpful to strengthen the connection to our inner wisdom. Taking even 5 or 10 minutes a day to close your eyes and try to quiet your mind can give your intuition the opportunity to be heard. Especially when we are making an important decision in our lives, taking the time to connect with our deeper self can give us the answers we are looking for. Many of my clients tell me they have tried meditation and find it very difficult. My response to that is that many of the things in life that end up being most valuable to us are difficult at first. We have to commit to practicing it, just like if we were picking up a new trade or skill, and eventually we will get better at it and it will become much easier. Good luck to all of us on our journey to connect to our authentic selves!