For many people like myself that have been logical and left-brained for the majority of their life, even accepting that we have intuition can be tricky for our spiritual growth. So, I’ve put together this detailed article with research, stories, and practical tools to help overcome skepticism. We will also discuss how traumas can limit our intuition and then explore tools to help strengthen our intuition.
What is INTUITION? And is it even real?
I can best describe intuition as that feeling you follow, like a hunch that guides you to do something, even though you don’t have an understanding of why it’ll work yet. And when you do take action, you realize it worked out in your favor. But how could you have known to do that, without your analytical mind having proof from past experiences?
I love the image below as the answer. Your soul knows.
But to be less woo-woo and give this conversation a real spin, is intuition even real, or was this an off-chance coincidence? I mean, can we really know something before it happens? And why can’t we replicate this intuitive experience to be real in all circumstances?
There’s some cutting-edge research beginning to help us appreciate that intuition might not just be a spiritual philosophy, but a scientifically-proven phenomenon happening within our body.
3 Scientific Studies That Find Evidence of Intuition
You can dig deeper into these experiments if you feel like it. Or if they’re beyond your interest, you’re also welcome to skip to the next section where I share tips to develop your intuition and resolve the conflicts with your ego-mind.
#1 – The HeartMath Institute’s Experiments
There’s an institute dedicated to the workings and miracles of the heart. Of the many experiments they run, they speak highly of the heart’s intelligence, ability to learn and memorize events. They call it the “heart brain“.
And their backing of intuition comes with their interpretation that intuition is “the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning”. In that, they call our heart the instrument that conducts these intuitive feats for us!
#2 – Pearson’s Measurement of Intuition
In the experiment, the participants were shown stimuli composed of a cloud of many moving dots, which looked like the noisy “snow” you might see on an old TV. Participants had to report which direction the cloud of dots was moving in, left or right.
“While our subjects were making these decisions, we presented one of their eyes with emotional photographs, then we utilized another technique called continuous flash suppression to render these emotional photographs invisible or unconscious,” Pearson shared.
“So while the subjects were making these sensory decisions, they never knew they were being presented with these emotional photographs.”
The result? Even when people were unaware of the images, they were still able to use information from the images to make more confident and accurate decisions. In other words, there’s an unconscious part of us picking up on things that we consciously may not know of.
#3 – Rollin McCraty’s Electrophysiological evidence
In his research, Rollin used a mix of calm and emotionally triggering images to test the hearts’ and minds’ responses of the participants. The studies were surprising, because one, it appeared that the heart is involved in the processing and decoding of intuitive information.
And two, they monitored a significantly greater heart rate deceleration that occurred prior to future emotional images compared to calm images. It’s as if to say that the heart has a mind of its own! Here is a two-part study publicly available for anyone that wants to go down that rabbit hole of research.
Does everyone have intuition?
Intuition is NOT something you accidentally have or are a superhero for having. We all have some degree of sense of ‘bad vibes’ or ‘gut feeling’. But many of us just need help developing that intuitive muscle because we haven’t learned to flex it yet. Take this fun little quiz and see what your intuitive score is. And then we’ll get into some practical tools to help in strengthening your intuition.
3 Practical Tips for Strengthening Intuition
I have heard many people suggest that intuition will come from the gut, and you’ll feel neutral, even if it’s a negative intuition. But, to understand if a feeling is coming from the gut or not also requires some level of intuitiveness towards our body.
And honestly, for many of us with complex histories of trauma, being attuned to the body’s signals may not feel normal. When I was first learning to heal my relationship with the present moment, I could hardly remember anything else because I was so consumed by my survival energy of fight, flight, and freeze!
So I know that focusing on what the body has to say can initially feel more confusing than comforting for some.
So what tools and tips will help us in strengthening our intuition? Let’s explore that now.
#1 – Have an Internal Dialogue with the Universe
I’ve learned this the hard way, that I don’t know what’s best for me. And while that leaves my ego feeling attacked, it opens up the possibility that something else can happen to me, now that I’m not trying to plan or control the outcome too much.
When you’re in a fix about how to proceed, ask for Divine Intervention. In the exact moment that you need to make a decision, allow the universe to guide you through a simple and straightforward question in your head.
If you see a sign, great! If you don’t see a sign, remember that’s also a sign.
I have two personal stories that go with this tip.
The first is from the time my sister-in-law and I were really hungry and decided to pick a random cafe to grab a bite. As soon as we entered, the cafe triggered a “red-flag” siren within me. I couldn’t understand why, exactly. The lights were dim, but there were a lot of tables occupied. So I asked for a sign.
“Dear universe, if we’re not safe here, please give us a sign to leave”.
Remember how I told you a while back that no sign is also a sign? Well, that’s what happened. There was absolutely no sign. I waited for a few minutes even as we got seated. And I let the anxiety settle down in me by reminding myself that the Universe always has my back.
This place turned out to have the best sizzling brownie I have ever had. No jokes! Had I listened to my siren, which proved false in this situation, I would have missed out on some great dessert.
The second story is from the first few days of global lockdown when my Canadian visa had just arrived and I had 4 days left before my flight. We were in flux because we had been waiting for 14 months in a long-distance marriage.
“Should I go, will it be safe?” The virus scare had been rising everywhere.
But I realized something – my intuition wasn’t saying anything to me. I had no hunch or feeling about the situation. While there was ambiguity all around, there was silence within. So I did what I do best. I surrendered, with a practical prayer.
“Dear Universe, I have no idea if I’m supposed to go or not. So you do something that makes it clear. Very clear.”
The next morning, I woke up to the news that Airways amongst all other transport had been put under lockdown. And bam! There was clarity. While this was a tough call for me to take, I consider it a blessing that the Universe showed up for me with such a grand gesture. The good news is that a few months later, I was finally able to safely fly out and reunite with my partner through an evacuation program!
#2 – Separate Ego From Intuition
Have you had the rush of energy to do something negative in your life, like
- reveal a deep dark secret that could shake someone’s life,
- say something nasty during a fight that is “crossing the line”,
- give empty breakup threats when you’re mad at your partner
- and so on?
Well, as much as we want to believe it’s our intuition or self-esteem guiding us, it’s really our ego.
I always say, the ego loves drama and the soul loves simplicity.
So right before you do something controversial, here are two things worth thinking about:
One, will this satisfy my ego and give me a ‘high’, or is this actually necessary for my growth?
Two, is this an attempt to put somebody else’s ego down or create drama?
If your answer is yes to either question, let that moment pass. And remember, you can always have this conversation again, in a more detached and less triggered way. Don’t let yourself get caught in the ego trap, thinking it’s about self-esteem or that you have the right to hurl nasty comments at someone’s character because you’re triggered.
I’ve done a whole other topic around karma and how we shouldn’t try to even the score.
#3 – Separate Trauma from Intuition
When you surrender and let the Universe lead your way, you begin to realize that many of the false alarms are your wounds and traumas. Just like I shared in the first story. And as you begin healing these false hits, your intuition naturally becomes stronger and you’re able to create more space between intuition and ego.
In our recent monthly group call, we unpacked a juicy conversation around healing trauma, strengthening intuitive powers, reading someone’s energy, and more. Log in or sign-up to access the replay along with hundreds of other resources, and the opportunity to join our next live group session.
So it’s safe to say that not only are we all intuitive in some way or another, science is beginning to acknowledge our intuitive powers. And my personal experience is that the moment we start acknowledging these intuitive hits, we strengthen them and access a deeper way of living life.
What tools and tips from this article are you excited to try out? Do share your reflections with me in the comments below!
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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