Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Can I Develop My Intuition?

The simple answer is yes, you can. You can increase your intuitive capacity with practice, whether you are a beginner or more advanced.

Remember that you already have intuitive capabilities. Some people are more intuitive than others, but every one has some inherent skill. Think of it as though you were peeling an onion with intuition in the center. You want to remove the layers blocking your intuitive knowledge.

The main requirements for basic intuitive development are (1) intention and (2) attention.

How can intention help?

Without realizing it, most of us have been saying no to intuition throughout our lives. If you wish to develop your intuition, it is time to say yes.

A good example of this is Dag Hammarskjold, Head of the Bank of Sweden and Swedish Deputy Foreign Minister. Hammarskjold had achieved success on every level, so was perplexed when he began feeling great inner restlessness and pressure. The pressure disturbed him so much that he changed his diet and routines, then sought medical advice, and finally went for psychological testing, No one could find anything wrong, but the pressure and restlessness didn't go away.

Alone in his apartment one night, Hammarskjold had an intuitive flash. He realized that something was calling him. He did not know what was calling him, replied, "Yes. Yes. Whatever it is, I say, 'Yes!'" Within a short period of time, Hammarskjold went to work at the United Nations where he later became the Secretary General.

Invite intuition into your life as you would a best friend. After you state the intention to develop your intuition, simply go forward with your daily life. But stay alert to intuition's communication and welcome it with a sense of joy.

Remember: intuition is a natural process. You do not have to work hard to discover its gifts.

How can attention help?

Intuition, like other parts of life, is not isolated. It arises out of feeling and knowledge and occurs in the context of relationships. In the beginning, intuition tends to be in the background. As you pay attention to its presence, no matter how subtle, you bring intuition to the foreground.

To accomplish this, start noticing and integrating intuition. Here are three techniques that will help.

Intuition diary

Keep a diary of intuitive impressions, whether they come through dreams, thoughts, sensations, or instantaneous insights.

This allows you to:

  • Learn your intuition's favorite ways of communicating with you
  • Check your intuition's accuracy
  • Assess the value of your responses over time

If you are unsure how to start or have trouble accessing your intuition, begin each entry with gratitude for what you have learned that day regardless of how the learning arrived.

Then, ask what further insights does my intuition have for me? Write down the answers to this question even if they are not logical. Check back on all your entries once a month.

Allow your intuitive experiences to be another way that you learn from the world around you.

Nature

Another way to improve your attention skills is to go to nature. Nature often has a calming and centering effect, which helps your access to intuition. For example:

  • Ask a question about an issue you are facing. (For example, what is the best way to handle my boss, or how can I bring more balance into my life?)
  • Focus on your question and then let it go.
  • Take a walk in nature, enjoying your surroundings.
  • When you need a rest or more quiet, stop and pick up an object from your surroundings-a stone, a stick, a leaf, whatever is lying there.
  • Paying close attention to your object, ask your intuition, "What insights can nature give me about my question?"

You can use this question method in settings other than nature. To do this, focus on your question, then let it go. Then sit in meditation or do anything that calms you. The solution may arise in the process, after you finish, or later in your dreams.

Intuition buddy

Human beings like to learn together and share what they are learning. It is important for you to have at least one family member, friend, or colleague that you can speak openly with about your intuitive experiences. This person is your intuition buddy.

Try some of the following activities to bring attention to your intuition and build your capacity to speak about it with others.

  • Read the same book or see a movie that has intuition themes and discuss it.
  • Share entries from your intuition diary
  • Look for jokes with intuitive themes
  • Share the inspiration of spiritual themes.

Are there guidelines for further development?

If you encounter problems in the beginning, realize that it is natural to have difficulty distinguishing intuition from emotions, thoughts, attitudes, and opinions. With practice, you will become more skilled in separating personality factors from pure intuition. This capacity gives rise to intuition which is clear, purposeful, efficient, and natural.

Your intuition probably takes different forms. But over time you will come to know your intuition's favorite way to get your attention. You might find it comes in day dreams rather than night dreams. Or you might see clear images after meditation or prayer. Or, if you exercise, you might get flashes of insight into problems you are pondering as you work out.

Remember, if you want to learn about intuition, honor its advice wherever possible.

Remember that intuition works best in the areas of our lives that we love.

Intuition is fostered by love. Albert Einstein was a curious child and loved to explore, often conducting experiments with his imagination. Light fascinated him and it is said that he frequently 'rode a light beam out into space' with his imagination. As most people know, Einstein's creative probing intuited a basic principle of the universe: E=MC2.

Exercise GraphicYour interests and the people or things you love are a platform for intuition. Scientists have intuition about science; musicians about music; parents about children; healthcare professionals about health. Research shows that intuition is used by those with more experience and confidence in their expertise-the area of their dedication and, usually, the area they love. So start there.

Realize that intuition works best with real problems and situations.

Exercise GraphicIntuition is real. One of the reasons that it is hard to capture intuition in an experimental setting is that it works best in real situations and with real problems. Although it is good to test intuition's advice when you receive it, it is not good to create an artificial problem or situation in order to test intuition. It is simple: intuition will not provide meaningful input to meaningless tasks. Its nature is too efficient for that.

Assess the intuitive messages you receive.

When your intuition has a very hard time communicating with you, it may "surround" you with messages. But that does not mean you should just follow it blindly. You still need to evaluate the messages and decide what makes sense to do.

Rocky MountainsFor example, Rose is considering moving to Colorado, but can't make up her mind. One day she dreams about the Rocky Mountains. Later that morning her phone rings. Rose knows before she picks up the receiver that Nancy, her friend who recently moved to Colorado, is calling.

Rose is even more amazed when the mail brings a brochure for an affordable seminar featuring a teacher she admires that will be held in the Rocky Mountains.

Do all these experiences add up to Rose's intuition ordering her to move to Colorado? The short answer is 'no.' True intuition does not order you, but invites you to consider actions, changes in attitudes, and a host of other things. If Rose values her intuition, she could follow up on all the intuitive input she received about Colorado by going to the seminar and exploring the possibilities of moving to Colorado during that trip.

Rose could conclude that her intuition supported an exploration of the Rocky Mountains, but it is Rose, not her intuition, who will determine if she should move.

Are there any ethical concerns?

It is important to follow ethical guidelines as you develop your intuition.

  1. Stick to personal use: Focus on your use of intuition for yourself, not for others.
  2. Observe boundaries: Never give unsolicited intuitive information to others. You wouldn't barge into someone else's house without an invitation, don't use your intuition to 'read' for others without discussing it openly and honestly beforehand.
  3. Young man thinkingUse common sense: Experiment with your intuition within the context of common sense. Don't run out and risk everything, just because you believe intuition tells you to. Even logical conclusions need to be evaluated in the context of your life.
  4. Question commands: Intuition invites you into a new perspective; intuition doesn't command. Be suspicious if intuition seems to be commanding you rather than suggesting possibilities.

Use intuition not as a magic wand that eliminates the ups and downs of life, but as a gift that can add a rich dimension to your life.

In summary

Enhancing your intuition is mostly a matter of paying attention to it in your daily life, particularly in the areas you know a lot about and love.

Remember that interpretations of intuition can be incomplete or colored by our perceptions, so use common sense. Ideally, your intuition and your logic will be partners and fully integrated with each other in your approach to life.

Expert Contributor: 
Sharon Franquemont

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