Few things are as instrumental to bringing our intentions and dreams into reality as our intuition.
In fact, it’s crucial to realize that the way life delivers on our intents and desires is often through intuitive communications that give us clear directions on the path we’re to take, gentle nudges that encourage (or discourage) certain things to do, and creative solutions to our challenges.
We all receive such communications, all the time.
“But many times they either go unrecognised, or we misunderstand them, take them for granted, and/or explain them away… until eventually we (inadvertently and/or unknowingly) resist and suppress them on such a habitual basis that they appear to ‘die out.’”
If you find yourself having a hard time ‘hearing’ or recognizing your intuitions yourself, you’re about to discover a very straightforward, yet highly effective means to reawaken your sensitivity to them.
So let’s begin:
Legend has it that Hero II, the Greek king of Syracuse, Sicily from 270 to 215 BC, once wanted to offer his gods a golden crown.
So he gave a goldsmith the assignment to create it for him, along with a bunch of pure gold to make it from.
Although when he finally received the end product, he suspected that the goldsmith had cheated him by having replaced some of the gold with the same weight of silver, and having made the crown out of that mix instead of the pure gold that he had given him (<– a common trick among con artists and counterfeit coiners back in the day).
So king Hero asked his scientist and philosopher kinsman Archimedes to come up with a way to assess the crown’s purity.
Wondering how to solve this problem, Archimedes walked home, and decided to take bath at a local bath house.
As he stepped into the bath and noticed that the water rose, he suddenly understood that the volume of displaced water must be equal to the volume of the part of his body that submerged.
This notion then inspired his solution to the question of the crown’s purity:
- He knew that the density of gold is greater than that of silver, meaning that an equally heavy crown of pure gold would be smaller in size than one that consisted of a combination of GOLD AND SILVER.
As a result, it occurred to him that he could assess the purity of the crown from a simple experiment involving the displacement of water in a tub:
- First he would place the crown into the tub and measure the amount of displaced water.
Then he would put a lump of pure gold of the same weight as the crown into the tub and measure it again.
“If the crown would in fact consist of pure gold, the amount of displaced water would be equal in both cases and if the first amount would exceed the second, then it was safe to conclude that the crown was a fake.”
As the story goes, once this idea hit Archimedes, he got so excited that he jumped out of his bath and ran home flashing his bare naked posterior in the streets while repeatedly shouting “Eureka!” (<– ancient Greek for: “I found it!”).
“Eureka! I found it!”
The local folk at the time must have thought that Archimedes had gone out of his mind.
And if they did, they were quite right…
Archimedes’ story is the basis for what we still refer to today as the Eureka!– or Aha!– experience, a sudden flash of insight that hits us in the head, triggers a sense of clarity, relief and enthusiasm, and often leaves us wondering why we even struggled with the issue at hand in the first place.
Whether the story is actually true or not, it illustrates the great difference that exists between ‘thinking’ and ‘knowing:’
- ‘Thinking’ is a purely intellectual activity. It mainly takes place as electrochemical processes in the brain.
We sit down and think things through, come up with alternative scenarios and solutions we’re able to contemplate, ponder the ifs, buts, pros and cons, and try to work things out on a rational level.
- ‘Knowing’ on the other hand transcends intellect. It’s what’s often called intuition and can be defined as immediate realization without the conscious use of reasoning.
There’s no sequence of thoughts that lead to a particular outcome. It’s just there, instantly: Bang! Aha! Eureka! We suddenly get it.
“It doesn’t need to explain itself or source its references; it’s a type of illumination that is usually unmistakable, because it literally jumps at us as something we just know, along with accompanying feelings of clarity, excitement and enthusiasm.”
When we consider this distinction, it’s no surprise that our intuition is often at odds with what we think:
- The intellect tends to have a limited perspective that’s quite likely coloured by externally imposed norms of what is to be considered acceptable thought, and thus of what needs to be guarded from the realm of possibility.
In addition, many of the thoughts we ‘think’ are mere justifications produced by the neocortex level of our brain as a reactive ‘explanation’ for triggered emotional impulses in the basal ganglia and limbic system.
As these triggered emotions themselves are often the result of imprinted imbalances from the past, Many of our resulting thoughts are coloured and thus inaccurate interpretations of the circumstances and facts of the situation.
- Intuition on the other hand appears to be stemming from a whole different source of awareness that has a much greater overview, a bigger picture perspective that freely sees different connections, remote associations, and the ramifications that its ‘knowing’ (<– and the action it implies!) will lead to way down the road.
“This does so independently of any artificially and externally imposed constraints.”
Let’s face it:
All (or at least most) of us have had experiences where it was overly clear that we had been better off trusting our intuition than to rely on our conscious reasoning.
Yet, we still find ourselves under lots of pressure every day to ignore and/or rationally explain away almost every SINGLE one of our intuitions, hunches or inspirations… especially when they can’t immediately be supported by intellectual reasoning or rational analysis of the circumstances at hand.
This isn’t a big surprise:
Most of us learn to do so from an early age, as our prevailing cultures and education systems place their main emphasis on the development of the left brain hemisphere, which is the intellectual, analytical and logical part.
This structurally takes attention away from the (development of skills like) creativity, holistic and integration that are mediated through the right hemisphere of the brain.
The very notion of intuition can therefore stimulate a fiery response from the intellect. Bound by logic, its only conclusion is that a knowing without reason is impossible. The rational mind simply cannot grasp it directly, and possibly never will.
As a result, for all our lives we’d rather go with our heads than with our hearts:
- Indeed, intuitive guidance frequently enters into our awareness and gives us a feeling in our ‘gut’ that we want to do something that makes our hearts sing at the prospect (<– and I mean other than the urge for ‘number two’).
- Although then our brains and minds rear their heads and pressure us into considering only those particular consequences that they’re able to anticipate from their narrow and conditioned outlook, and we’ll find ourselves reacting along the lines of:
“Oh dear, who am I to think I can do that?”
“Oh my, what will my mother say?”
“That’s way too ambitious and complicated for me…”
“Somebody probably thought of that already…”
“Dear me, my parents will get angry for not doing something with my education…”
“There’s too much competition, that field of endeavour is saturated…”
“That can’t be right. Scientists say that this is not true. Who am I to think otherwise?”
“I can’t do that, it’s not responsible. What about my JOB?”
“I’d love to do this, but…”
“It would be pretty awesome if I could ever do this… Na, I can’t do that. I must have gone mad.”
“Goodness, what will the neighbours think if I do that? And oh my, don’t mention it to the boys at the bar!”
This way we never get to flow with all the intuitive signals that effortlessly come in, but rather let ourselves get pulled back into walking the same road we’ve always travelled.
But our troubles don’t end there:
The repetition of this pattern over the years (<– if not decades) creates deeply-ingrained, habitual patterns of going with the head above going with the heart, until it becomes our standard method of operation and we simply don’t know any better than doing so.
This way, even though our intuitions systematically illuminate the steps of the path towards the realization of our dreams and visions, we allow our minds to immediately turn off the lights.
Long story short:
“For the sake of being able to make our dreams reality, it’s imperative that we go ‘out of our minds’ far more often, and allow ourselves to tune into the broadcasts of more ‘universal’ levels of awareness and to more strongly rely on the communications we receive on that channel by acting on their content.”
Of course, at first such a new way of going about life may feel as though we must have gone crazy, and other people are likely to CONFIRM that notion, usually to protect their own pre-eminence.
However, we’re better off not giving in to the pressure by thinking more like Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:
So how can we make sure we actually go ‘out of our minds’ in a constructive way, so as to systematically and effectively tune into our intuitions?
The key to doing so is to get into…:
Intuitions come to us in a variety of ways, including epiphanies, inspirations, flashes of insight, revelations, hunches, gut feelings, and inner knowings, urges and impulses.
Assuming we recognize them as such, it usually appears as though they come to us at the most unexpected and inconvenient moments, and in the strangest, most unpredictable ways:
- We could be standing on the corner about to walk across the street…
- We could be exercising…
- We could be playing or listening to music…
- We could be watching a movie…
- We could be turning in our sleep, dreaming…
- We could be in the middle of a Stare Master staring contest…
- We could be polishing our paper clip collection…
- We could be in the shower, driving our way to work, packing a SUITCASE, visiting a concert or theatre show, tidying up our closet, cleaning the kitchen…
That’s only if we don’t know any better, because when we come to pay attention, we can recognize a certain ‘rhythm to Eureka:’
- As the science of chronobiology illustrates, nature has built in a recurring rhythm of activity and rest in all of us. Such a cadence that takes place many times a day is called an ultradian rhythm.
“We don’t have to do anything for this cycle to take place – it comes with the equipment: it’s built into our ‘mind/body’-systems as a standard issue feature.”
- A certain period of this time cycle is designed for high performance, concentration and alertness.
But at the end of that period, our bodies and brains automatically prime for a relatively short period of recovery, during which the four main regulatory systems that link body and mind (<– i.e. autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, and neuropeptides in the brain) realign.
Internationally renowned psychotherapist Ernest Rossi, Ph.D. and pioneer in the field of ‘mind/body’-healing, calls this recovery process the Ultradian Healing Response . In simple terms:
- Our ‘mind/body’-system primes to ‘zone out’ of the intense focus of the preceding activity-part of the cycle, and enters into a more silent space that’s designed for it to prepare for another period of work and play in a mode of high performance and health.
- According to Rossi, this is the time that our physiology is most naturally attuned to our intuition, as the alignment of the main regulatory systems makes us more open to impressions from our unconscious minds.
In other words:
- Even if it seems as if our intuitive communications have died out, synchronizing with the ultradian rhythm of our ‘mind/body’-system gives us a relatively straightforward gateway into the realm in which they broadcast, by simply allowing its intuitive channels to open.
- The best thing is: we get that opportunity multiple times every SINGLE day!
So let’s explore how we can capitalize on this notion and get into the ‘Intuitive Groove’ on a more permanent basis…
Our ‘mind/body’-system gives us clear indications as to when it’s transitioning into the healing phase of the ultradian rhythm.
Psychotherapist Dr. Laurie Nagel describes these signs as follows :
“Do you find yourself losing concentration during certain times of the day? Perhaps it comes as a sudden touch of fatigue, or a subtle mental fuzziness. All of a sudden, you feel droopy. Your eyes may tear. You can’t stop yawning. Maybe you find yourself staring out the window, your mind far away from the tasks at hand. If somebody speaks to you, you find yourself startled by the sound of his voice. Or you don’t understand what was said the first time and ask the speaker to repeat himself.”
These are all signals that we’re getting too high on stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, and that our ‘mind/body’-system is getting ready for an ultradian recovery period.
We can begin to observe the pattern through which these symptoms occur by noting down at which particular times during the day our ‘mind/body’-systems produce them.
Of COURSE, all of us have (slightly) different ultradian rhythms, but if we observe ourselves carefully we’ll find that on average this pattern recurs approximately every hour and a half.
The onset of these symptoms tells us that nature has shaped the ideal circumstances for us to tap into our inherent creative and intuitive potential.
We can then take the following steps to LEVERAGE the situation in order to effortlessly ease into an intuitive state:
- Step #1:
Explicitly and deliberately allow yourself to take a break and relax. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. (<– If your mind tries to force you to work on some task, tell it you’ll come back to it in ten to twenty minutes.)
- Step #2: (<– optional)
If you’re working on a project or larger objective and would like help from your intuition, Now is the time to ask for it.
- Step #3:
Then, as you let yourself flow with the recovery process of the ultradian healing phase, allow any impressions and imagery that come up in your mind to flow freely.
- Step #4:
Learn to not interrupt or impose on the process; train yourself to just flow with the mental imagery and simply watch, observe and by all means don’t intrude (<– for this you can switch to ‘observer mode’ ).
At the very least, following these steps will allow the brain to settle down in a relaxing alpha state, where we’re more likely to get flashes of inspiration and understanding, or to gain rare, sudden, deeper insight into ourselves.
As we become more experienced and skilled at this (<– the last step in particular), we’ll tend to fall into a mind space that is called ‘reverie’ or ‘hypnagogic state,’ which not only makes us more receptive to our intuition, but also makes our inner work flow without any effort on our own part whatsoever!
Of COURSE, there’s no denying the importance and value of the rational mind.
It’s an extraordinary thing, and there’s great brilliance and beauty to be found in it.
It’s capable of understanding the most intricate scientific and mathematical theories, and it can carefully weigh ifs, buts, pros and cons when having to make complex decisions.
There’s also great absurdity that often comes along with it, as the same mind can get caught up in the most useless trivia and nonsense, and become upset and bewildered over a seemingly harmless remark.
“It can in fact completely run out our lives by pushing us in all directions and creating endless dramas around its plethora of insecurities, fears, anxieties and pet peeves.”
As such, on the paths to making our dreams reality and expressing our unique creativity, many times the interplay of thoughts that goes on in our minds only generates confusion, or even becomes blatantly destructive to our aims.
That’s why our greatest breakthroughs come not through the intellect primarily, but rather through intuitive hunches, epiphanies, flashes of insight, and gut feelings.
These are then followed up by the intellect and typically found to be valid.
Many really creative and highly influential people throughout history, including the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, have noted how their best inspirations came after they had made great conscious effort to solve a problem and then took a break when they were initially frustrated with failure.
French mathematician and theoretical physicist Henri Poincaré put it like this:
The tragedy is that we often consider the cacophony of conflicting thoughts that go on in our minds, as well as their often emotionally-charged interplay, to be normal.
We become exhausted from our mind’s business and then act as if this attests to our significance and is actually something to be proud of:
“I’m juggling lots of things at the same time, my mind gets so busy that it drives me nuts!”
When we get out of our minds more often and tune back into our heart and intuition, we leave the insecurities, worries, coloured judgements and self-centres of the mind completely out of the equation, and open ourselves up to flashes of insight and understanding that catapult us forward on our paths with the kinds of jumps that our minds typically can’t even imagine.
In this light, synchronizing with our ultradian rhythms and LEVERING the natural Ultradian Healing Response gives us a straightforward and pretty much automatic way to allow our ‘mind/body’-systems to ease into the kinds of silent and relaxed modes that in turn enable us to effortlessly tune into our inherent creative and intuitive potential.
You can BET that this is exactly what happened to our old pal Archimedes when he took his bath – an activity that’s well-known for its relaxing effect on body and mind.
By the same token, let’s face it: how many times have we heard (and perhaps even experienced ourselves) that the best ideas come while taking a shower?
So when the signs kick in that herald another ultradian recovery period, here’s what you do:
- Take a bath, a shower, a walk, or even a quick nap…
- Play an instrument or listen to some music…
- Read some relaxing material, meditate, or just hang around and be lazy for a few moments (<– preferably in ‘observer’-mode)…
- But above all: get out of your own way and take it easy for a few moments.
As we’ve seen, whatever we can do to ACCOMMODATE the ‘Ultradian Healing Response’ will enhance our creativity, intuition, and even our health and mental and emotional well-being in general.
Such simple ways to synchronize with our ultradian rhythm will help us to go ‘out of our minds’ more easily and effortlessly.
“As we do so, we’ll find that ‘Eureka’s Beat’ will hit us in the head on a much more ‘rhythmic’ basis.”
In other words, such deliberate acts will soon serve as implicit request for intuitive insight, kind of like the song by Ian Dury & The Blockheads used to put it:
“Hit me with your rhythm stick
It’s nice to be a lunatic
Hit me! Hit me! Hit me!”
And what’s best:
You’ll find that they get answered too.
“Aright, gotta bounce now – I feel an Ultradian Healing Response settling in…”