Intuition is the signal your unconcsious mind sends you, telling you to do something or not. Hone it, say experts!
Has it ever happened that your phone beeped, and you knew it was your client. Some call it a hunch, others, a fleeting flash of intuition. The word intuition is derived from the Latin in + tuiri (to look at), and in psychological terms, it’s nothing more than connecting, within a context, a range of information that the unconscious mind is absorbing every minute. “Our unconscious mind observes and stores every ounce of data,” says neurolinguistic programming expert Malti Bhojwani. “And when needed, it picks up relevant information and presents it to us. For instance, you know it is your client’s text, because you had sent him/her one earlier, and your unconscious mind calculated the time it would take for him/her to read it, based on information it had about his/her work schedule.” Intuition is like a signal that tells you to do something or not, pulling you in a certain direction so that you end up being at the right place at the right time. It may tell you that your orientation feels right or wrong. Most often, it comes to you unexpectedly. The ability to use your intuition is like using a muscle, says Mumbaibased Bhojwani. And like any other muscle in the human body, the more you use it, the stronger it grows. Bhojwani, who has discussed the phenomenon in her recent book, Don’t Think of a Blue Ball, tells you how to recognise a hunch, and strengthen it using simple techniques.
‘Plugging In’ is the term Bhojwani uses for meditation — alone time with yourself, sitting in silence, finding your axis, praying — you can call it anything you like. All you need to do is sit by yourself, in a relaxed position of ‘openness’, i.e. shoulders thrown back, spine straight, legs and hands uncrossed.
Accept your thoughts and feelings as they come, and let them go. Slowly, become aware of your breathing. If you like, you can ask for help, internally, from a higher power. If you don’t, think of the problem you need help with — this makes your conscious mind run down to the library of your unconscious mind with an intention. The unconscious then runs through its files of observations, and throws up all that can help you in the given situation.
Bhojwani emphasises on connecting with the universe, or a higher self. To do this, she imagines roots growing from her feet deep into the ground and vibrations from her head reaching to the sky. You could also try imagining that you are gradually being filled with a white light, or happiness or love.
Focus on the space between your brows, where the chakra that governs third sight sits, if that is your belief.
Bhojwani suggests doing this whenever you can, for however long, even if it is just before you fall asleep every night. Three short sessions of three to five minutes a day will help.
Once you are plugged in, expand your sphere of observation. You have to do this on three levels — visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Take in the details of the colours around you, the textures, the difference in shapes and shades. Notice the layers of sounds — conversations around you, sounds of traffic, bird chirping, and the voices in your head.
Then, there is what you feel on your skin — the temperature, direction of air, the feeling of the sofa you are sitting on, etc.
By doing this, you are bringing to a conscious level what your unconscious notices and stores. Thus, you will be able to recall it better.
Now contract your focus. Take one thing, say the feeling of the chair you are sitting on, and notice the sensations minutely. The pressure you feel, the strain of the cloth on your seat, how it leads to tension between the hip and the knee. You are exercising your senses, and training your mind to recognise everything it put away, making it more diligent so you can tell the next time you have a hunch.
You can turn this into a game you play while commuting back from work.
Keep a journal
Reviewing hunches helps validate them. Carry a notebook and jot down every thought. From time to time, see how many of these come true, and you might end up recognising your strengths. This will also help you weed out prejudice — you knew your friend would not get back to you with a job contact, but she did. Your hunch was wrong, but then so was your prejudice.
When you are likely to meet a group of people later, jot down your impressions of them. Mr A is a single child; Ms B went to boarding school, etc. When you get the chance, ask them about your guesses and see whether you were right. Then break down the reasons — perhaps Ms B’s independence and easy confidence is something you’ve seen in your cousin, who went to boarding school.
This practice will help you recognise the information, and make connections.
Everything is connected
Another exercise Bhojwani suggests is to see how everything is connected. While this doesn’t work your intuition directly, it helps calm you down in a crisis, which indirectly means your brain works better since it is relaxed, and allows you to notice your hunches.
At the end of the day, acknowledge one positive occurrence. It could be something as small as getting to unexpectedly eat your favourite dessert. Trace the chain of events that led to this — your colleague was supposed to go to a client meeting, but (s)he fell ill (and you were irritated you had to fill in). The client insisted on meeting at the restaurant that happens to serve your favourite dessert. That’s how you ate two banoffies on company account!
When you make a habit of going through this routine, you won’t be thrown off guard by momentary disruptions and begin believing that in the end, it will be alright.