Most of us have experienced moments when you felt as if something wasn’t right. It may have been a situation or a person who made you uneasy for reasons you could not explain nor understand. At a time where technology has made such rapid strides, we like to think of ourselves as rational beings. But what happens when an inner voice, a gut feeling, a little instinct within informs you how you really feel beneath those layers of logic?
Our instinct is our inner inclination towards a particular behaviour, rather than a learned response. A gut feeling or a hunch, on the other hand, is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.
Separate from these two, intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without solid proof or conscious reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and unconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.
Osho believed that the consciousness of human beings ranged from the basic animal instinct to intelligence and intuition. He thought humans being constantly moved between these states depending on their affinity and suggested that living in the state of intuition is one of the ultimate aims of humanity. Advaita philosophy takes intuition to be an experience through which one can come in contact with and experience Brahman.
So how do you take decisions – through instinct or reason? In reality, we need both to make the best possible choices for ourselves, our businesses, and our families. Unfortunately, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of using their instincts as a guidance tool. They are embarrassed to say that they follow hunches, they mistrust the mysterious messages their instinct send, and in this way, they lessen their capacity to make the most of their own instincts.
How then do we make the best decisions for ourselves without excluding the unconscious parts of our being? Or to simplify, how do we include intuition in our everyday life? Since we have spent so long ignoring or dismissing this aspect of ourselves, how do we now successfully re-integrate it into our decisions? The answer is simple: listen.
The unconscious mind searches through the past, present, and future and connects with hunches and feelings in a nonlinear way. Its process is cryptic to the logical mind, as it defies the conventional laws of time and space. Here are three ways to listen to that internal voice and allowing its guidance into your everyday life:
Keep a diary Write your thoughts and feelings down, even if you “think” you have little to say. It helps the unconscious mind to open up. You may find that you are writing words and phrases that don’t make sense to you, or stir emotional responses rather than intellectual responses.
Turn off your Inner Critic, when this happens. Often we dismiss those voices within. This time, listen without judgment. Allow the inner dialogue to happen without fear or ridicule.
Go within and meditate. Early in the morning, find a quiet place and sit down in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and go within, concentrating on your breath until it regularises. You can chant a simple mantra of your choice, or listen to a recorded chant. Watch your thoughts and feelings until they fade away and a deep peace prevails.
These exercises will help you create a new, deeper relationship with yourself, make clear that inner voice and allow you to bring your true instinctive awareness back into your everyday life.