Hone your intuition

It can guide you to make right choices in all areas of your life


Have you ever felt something and said it to someone and had them react totally surprised, saying, “who told you?” But no one had told you anything. This has happened to me on many occasions—I just knew and I was right. What you know without knowing how you know, that is intuition.

As a life coach, and I coach only by phone, I have a small ritual before I start, where I Plug In [get connected with the Universe/source] and ask to be an instrument for my client, often on the call, I check in and trust my “gut-instinct” to say or ask what comes to me and almost always, it is relevant to my client. What is this magical inspiration?

Have you noticed that it is through our intuition and instincts that we stumble upon coincidences? How do we dispel this intuition?

Trust that we gather information and store it in our bank, but often it is like a bank account where you don’t know the balance. But when you go to withdraw from it, the funds are there. Trust that your intuition or your gut instinct comes to you from the innumerable things you know. You may not even know you know it, but you do.

The standard definition of intuition is “knowledge gained of something without the use of reasoning or the five basic senses”.

Many of the successful people I have spoken to share with me that they made their decisions based on their gut instincts. Honing this instinct and becoming open to receiving this invaluable channel for information is essential to manifesting.

Intuition sharpeners

hone-your-intuition-1Make it a frequent practice to sit in silence for a few moments every day, Plug In and be open to “listening” to anything that comes up, then go about your day welcoming these signs.

  • Be open-minded—I use a trigger to remind me to be open-minded to another’s opinion or a concept. I would uncross my legs and arms, when I know I want to learn something or I think I may hear things that may be contradictory to what I already know and believe. Being open-minded helps you to absorb more information.
  • Start playing with it in small ways to test your intuition. When in a room full of people, find the time and space to observe and feel who is in the room or on the Metro or bus with you. A game I play is to pick out 3 or more people, and see what my intuition says about them. I make mental notes about them, and then later I try to create the opportunity to see if I was right.

Intuition is a muscle that needs to be used in order to strengthen it. There is a bank of greater intelligence that is accessible to everyone. This intelligence exceeds far beyond our limited personal reasoning. I believe that as we go through our days we are gatherers of information that is being received from all our senses. Because the conscious mind cannot process that much information, most of it is absorbed into our subconscious.

A few years ago, I was celebrating New Years’ Eve in the Caribbean at a nightclub and during the night, I visited the ladies’ rest room. The place was packed and one had to squeeze through hundreds of people just to get out. Later, when I left at about 3 am, I touched my earlobe and noticed that I was missing one earring. I was wearing diamond hoops given to me by my mother. It was a valuable piece of jewellery and had huge sentimental value. Something in me told me to go back inside despite the odds. I did.

I retraced some of my steps, looked on the floor and under the sofas and even sent messages to some of my friends who were still in there to look out for it.

I finally retraced my steps back to the same rest room and there it was on the vanity next to the sinks, hours later. Coincidence or good luck or did I know? What is knowing?

Our conscious mind is selective of what it filters in. In NLP we refer to this selection as the information filtering process. This includes Deleting, Distortion and Generalisation. What gets through the filters is “knowing”.

How we filter

Filtering through deletion

We delete when we omit and do not even notice some information that is coming to us through our senses. We focus only on the ones we want to. A classic example of this is when you observe silence for a few moments and get your self to truly listen to the sounds in your space, suddenly some outside sounds become apparent, the cars, birds, even the hum of a fan or air-conditioner, which earlier were not even there. This is a self and sanity preservation filter, if we did not omit what our senses are receiving, then we would not be able to focus on anything.

Filtering through distortion

Distortions are a way of filtering our sensory information so that it fits with what we expect or believe. We are making misinterpretations of reality. When you have a misunderstanding, which you later clear with a friend, that is also distortion at work, where you have interpreted a meaning, which is not the reality. When you lose your keys and looked everywhere, and then someone else finds them exactly where you thought they were, but you didn’t see them. That’s also distortion at work, you believed they were lost.

Filtering through generalisation

This is where we come to our conclusions as we relate and connect the new piece of information with something we already know. We associate the new with past experiences. One old poem, which so aptly describes how we generalise is The Blind Men and the Elephant.

In NLP, we play a game, where you have to list 10 items in a particular category. For example, can you rattle off right now 10 different male pop singers? 10 different breakfast options? 10 different luxury car makes, 10 football players, 10 make-up brands? Did you notice that we can only list a few in the areas that are not of our interest? This is how we read the papers, watch TV and “listen” to conversations, lectures, how we read books. We only retain information that gets through our “Yes/No” filter. The rest is deleted, distorted or generalised.

Listening and noticing

If you start listening to the sounds around you and truly listen to every conversation you have, aside from making you a better and more compassionate communicator, it will help you absorb a lot more information. Often when talking to someone, we are either interrupting or we are thinking about what we want to say next; when you truly listen, you will get and give so much more to the conversation.

Be aware of your filters and your personal judgements. Just being aware as you listen will help you to learn and absorb so much more.

This is the same for what you see. Haven’t you noticed when someone says to you, “Did you see that BMW?”, and you didn’t. Or when you say, “Hey, I liked her dress,” and no one else notices it? We habitually only notice, see, hear parts of what is actually present, because of our filters…but we need to practice allowing more to get through.

Change your routines and do things you don’t normally do, go to new places and see around, even flipping through newspapers and magazines with the intention to find inspiration is a fabulous way to practice it.

Instead of looking at your phone when in a car, look outside the window and see, take your environment in, take in nature. Appreciating nature is one of the best ways to experience true gratitude as well. Think of intuition as tapping on the information that seeped through despite the filters.

Intuition to me is, knowing on some level.

I trust that when I am intuitive, it is a cocktail of all the information I have picked up along the way, which has come to me at the right time. When you are faced with a situation and you are in tune with your intuition, the answer will come to you, from that “bank”.

You will know when you need to call someone that you care for, exactly when they require your love the most. You will know the most appropriate thing to say to someone that you are talking to—even someone you just met. You can start to see the intensity of the intimacy that is achieved in a short period of time. This is called connection or rapport.

Trusting your intuition and noticing synchronicity in your life together with your values, your personal declaration and your clearly defined desires will together serve as a navigational compass for you. You will know when to say No, where to set boundaries and when to Go speeding ahead all signals.

How dreams figure in

Your dreams are not about the people you dream about, but the characteristics and attributes that these people symbolise for you. Leading up to my 40th birthday, I kept dreaming of male figures and I could not understand it, then I got messages. Everywhere I went, I saw the Yin and Yang symbol and the Infinity symbol—both have meanings that point towards the bonding or the co-relation of male and female.

I dreamt of drawing this symbol and then I even ended up without any planning at a resort in Bali in May 2011 to celebrate my birthday, which had a swimming pool shaped in the infinity shape, with a huge Yin and Yang symbol at the bottom of the pool in the middle. My friend Simran, a dream interpreter, explained to me how my dreams wanted to remind me to embrace my masculine energy. Because I did not see or learn it in my wakeful life, my mind and body had to “throw bricks at me” so that I would notice in the form of physical signs and dreams.

The qualities that I attributed to the men who showed up in these dreams were all the qualities in myself that had been suppressed. I had to learn to harness my assertiveness and my individuality; my personal balance.

When you start to notice your dreams and allow them to communicate with you in your waking life you will notice that everything and everyone in your dream is a representation of you.

Excerpted with permission from Don’t Think of a Blue Ball by Malti Bhojwani, published by Om Books International, INR295

This was first published in the August 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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