Just as we prepare ourselves for an important interview or set our minds to achieve a challenging goal like running a marathon, we can take step to invite intuition into our daily experience, and thus build our ability to move between what are traditionally considered masculine and feminine energies. Check out our two previous posts on Gender Intelligence here and here.The following are a number of ideas to ponder and exercises to do. Consider adapting them in a way that speaks to you.
Revisit Your Perspective and Perceptions
- Consider the possibility that wherever you are now is now the optimal place from which to get where you want to go. A Native American proverb says: What do you do when you get lost? Stand still. The trees and bushes beside you are not lost.
- Look at a painting by Monet or Picasso and contemplate your ability to alter your perception of reality and bring forth something completely new and unexpected.
- Pay attention to details — like a word, color, or song that catches your attention or comes to mind for no apparent reason — as elements that have the capacity to reveal the whole. Look around you with a fresh eye to rediscover the environment you’re in or all data and aspects of the situation at hand that you would like to resolve.
Get Comfortable with the Part of Life That Is Not Logical
- Don’t immediately ban an idea because it is paradoxical and appears illogical. Welcome paradoxical data or situations. The word “paradox” comes from the Greek paradoxos “opposed to existing notions, from para- + doxaopinion”; so something that is paradoxical is something we should all look for because we looking for new ideas, not what is already known and widespread.
- When you receive information that appears to be out of context, take a moment to notice it. It may appear to be out of context, but it could lead you to a deeper understanding of something that is not obvious.
Accept That You Are Not in Control
- Allow yourself to be carried away by energies that appear to be chaotic. Your acquiescence can help the emergence of a new order that you could not have imagined.
- Try to stay in tune with your emotions, especially in moments of stress or chaos. Emotions are energies that are all part of a same circle; if we shut one down, we break the circle, and we close ourselves off from all emotions, good or bad. If we can avoid trying to harshly control emotions that feel uncomfortable, they will pass and we will return to a state of balance. The more we accept our emotions, the faster they evolve and the faster we can move on.
Relax and Practice Noticing
- The world-renowned mime Marcel Marceau said, “Our body knows things the mind does not have access to.” The best gateway to information from our subconscious mind about the world around us is through a relaxed body. The most efficient way to relax our body is not a five-star vacation, it is breathing. Breathing can dramatically alter our experience in any given moment. You can do this almost anywhere with a simple meditation. Sit quietly with both feet on the floor, hands at rest on your thighs, eyes closed. Don’t try to alter your breathing in any way, just pay attention to it. Don’t think about anything — not your problems, not even happy things — simply focus on the movement of your breath. Do this for a minute, or five minutes, or as long as you like, Taking this little break, even for just five minutes, may at first make you anxious, but give yourself permission to take five minutes in which you do nothing but breathe. To focus on your breathing, simply notice the movement of your diaphragm — the horizontal muscle that moves up and down in your mid-torso. when your diaphragm goes, up, you exhale and your rib cage narrows. When your diaphragm goes down you inhale and your ribcage expands. Becoming mindful of the movement of your diaphragm is enough to largely improve your breathing. When you give yourself this permission, your body will relax and your breath will deepen naturally.
- Pay attention. It is very easy to stop noticing small things, or even large things. Buddhists have a practice of mindfulness in which every movement, whether lifting a cup of tea to one’s lips or placing a foot on the ground while walking, is afforded the greatest attention. Be mindful during a routine event such as eating breakfast; afterward, record the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arose in the short interval.
After you have tried the exercises, keep practicing the ones that resonate with you. Over time these exercises will help your intuitive abilities get stronger and will make it more likely that they will become natural part of your daily life. Intuition is a skill not made by either nature alone or nurture alone. We are born with a capability, and we turn it into a capacity by using it over and over again. Once you’ve identified the exercise of the few exercises that are most natural to you, with regular practice you will improve your ability to reflect about a decision or a situation beyond pure logic. This will greatly enhance your ability to pay attention and notice, to trust the unknown and tolerate the confusion that comes with ambiguity and complexity. You will be more comfortable with your own subjectivity. It will prevent you from too quickly jumping to a logical conclusion, which would not necessarily get you to the most creative answers.