We live in a world in which we are constantly bombarded with external stimuli. At any given moment, there are multiple layers of sounds. There is the swishing noise of traffic, the rustle of leaves in the wind, a ringing phone, elevator Musak, the hum of a computer or refrigerator, and depending on the season, the roar of a neighbor’s lawnmower or snow blower. Doesn’t it make you yearn for some peace and quiet?
Even though it can be challenging to block out the din of everyday life, regularly setting aside time to spend in quiet is a simple exercise that can have a profound impact. A daily commitment of ten to twenty minutes sitting in stillness can be a life-altering experience. There is so much that can come from taking a break from the outside world and tuning in. Much can come by giving ourselves the gift of silence: answers to questions, clues for what direction to take, solutions to problems, and inspiration. What you hear may be your intuition, your wise self, answered prayers, a still small voice, God, or Spirit. Regardless of how you define it, it’s a valuable source of guidance.
How do you go about tuning in?
Temporarily distancing yourself from projects and people is key. Have you ever noticed that you often get flashes of inspiration while taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk? The regular practice of quiet encourages these whispers of insight.
If this has never been a habit of yours, you may want to begin with five minutes, which will seem like an eternity at first, and gradually lengthen the time. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. You don’t need to assume a pretzel-like lotus pose to make this work. You could sit in your favorite chair with your eyes closed, lie quietly in a hammock or on the grass while watching the clouds, or gaze at a candle while relaxing in the bathtub.
If you would like guidance about a challenge or dilemma, form a specific question in your mind and then let it go as you relax and enter into stillness. Or come into the quiet with the sole intention of becoming empty, being open to receiving images and insights that may come to you. Without forcing an outcome, become aware of any images, sounds, feelings, or senses of knowing that arise. Intuition, inspiration, Divine guidance, or whatever you may choose to call it, appears in many ways. What comes to you may be in the form of one or more of the following “clairs”:
- clairvoyance or “clear seeing”: images or visual pictures that can be either moving or still
- clairaudience or “clear hearing”: sounds, voices, snatches of songs
- clairsentience or “clear sensing”: body sensations, like gut feelings, goose bumps
- claircognizance or “clear knowing”: knowing or being certain without knowing why
Here’s an intuitive exercise that I have adapted from Lynn Robinson’s Divine Intuition. You can use it the next time you are faced with a big decision. Imagine that you are walking in a lush garden. There is a white picket fence that borders another section of the garden. The fence has a number of gates in it: one for each of the options you are considering. In your mind’s eye, lift the latch and enter the first gate, which represents your first option. Visualize what lies ahead of and around you. Take a moment to reflect on how your body feels. What do you hear or sense as you are here? Spend as much time as you like observing, sensing, and gathering information, then turn around and see yourself retracing your steps, out through the gate, back into the garden. Repeat the process with the next gate(s) which represent your other option(s). Compare the experiences.
I recently used this exercise with a coaching client who was wrestling with a major decision, rather than using a more logical, left-brain approach of weighing pros and cons. She had been feeling overwhelmed and confused as she weighed several different options for her next career move. Within ten minutes of working with this exercise, she was very clear about the choice she wanted to make!
We all have a built-in intuitive ability or a sixth sense. Just like a muscle, the more you use and develop your intuition, the better it will work for you. Whether you consider yourself a skeptic or a psychic, tuning in regularly will help guide you toward fulfilling choices.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ICF Professional Certified Coach
Grace Durfee is a Professional Certified Coach, Professional Mentor Coach, Coach U faculty member since 2004, Reiki Master Teacher, and author. Grace helps busy professionals and “soul-o-preneurs” move from striving to thriving by cultivating a state of peaceful productivity. As Grace believes in learning by doing, she creates many coaching practice opportunities in class and asks students to come ready to coach and be coached. Prior to coaching, she was an account manager for a communications training company and a stay-at-home mom.