How to Recognize and Trust Your Intuition for a More Fulfilling Life

Follow intuition for fulfilling life

Intuition is a deep knowing. You don’t have to analyze it. You don’t have to mull over it. It’s an effortless knowing or awareness of what needs to happen or what will happen.

How many times have you thought, “If I just knew what to do!”

Or maybe you’ve made a decision and then keep making the same decision over and over again. Each time with a different selection.

Let’s face it. Life is hard and confusing. I have no idea what to do most of the time and it would make things so much easier if someone would just tell me! Well, sometimes this is exactly what happens. Someone or something just tells you.

I’m not talking about a psychic or the latest, greatest expert in you name it. I’m talking about a gift you were born with.

YOUR INTUITION!

I was driving in my car one day. The particular street I was driving on had two lanes turning left. The far left lane, the lane I was originally in was a turn only lane. The lane next to it was a turn left or go straight lane.  As I mentioned I was in the turn only lane, but I decided to switch lanes. Something told me not to.  However, I thought, “Why not?” and I switched lanes anyway. BAAM! I was hit by a car in the turn only lane that turned too wide.

How many times have you said, “Something told me….” That something is telling us things all the time, but we don’t listen. We have questions first. We want to know why or in my case, why not?

A Google search provides this definition for intuition, “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

Take note of the last phrase of that definition, “without the need for conscious reasoning.” We don’t trust our intuition because we’re still trying to depend on our conscious reasoning skills. Leveraging conscious reasoning wouldn’t be intuition though.

What it boils down to is this simple fact: We trust our conscious or critical thinking more than our intuition. We know our thought processing. We use our critical thinking and decisioning skills on a daily basis.  We are taught to make “sound” decisions.  We’re not taught to trust our intuition or gut. We’re actually often discouraged from doing so.

Your intuition is a strength. 

How can you recognize what comes from your intuition and what comes from your brain? Let’s pretend for a second you were brainstorming ideas to make some additional money this month. What would you do? You’d probably sit down with a pen and paper. You’d think of a bunch of different ideas. Past conversations or books you’ve read would come to mind. You’d analyze each new idea and mentally put them into categories. Maybe you’d go online and do some research. You might ask friends or associates for ideas. Your brain would be thinking, processing, and analyzing to come up with this idea.

If your brain were a picture what would it look like?

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I’d bet it would look something like the above. Tons of chatter, questioning, ideas, etc. This is what it looks like when you are talking to you.

When your intuition or higher knowing is talking to you your brain isn’t doing the thinking. Your brain isn’t required for intuition. That’s why people are such advocates of meditation and quieting the mind. When you mind is clear you can hear your intuition.

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A quiet brain hears intuition more clearly. Have you ever heard people say that their best ideas come to them in the shower? Why is that? If they’re anything like me I love a nice, hot, long shower. It is so relaxing and comforting. I tend to focus all of my attention on the relief and relaxation my body is experiencing. I’m not brainstorming hard about a problem that needs my attention. I’m enjoying the present moment. My mind has long moments of stillness.

People tend to drive in hypnotic states so sometimes even driving can provide the right environment to hear your intuition more clearly.

To sum this all up, if you’re thinking, deducing, and analyzing that is not your intuition. It’s your brain. And that’s okay. I don’t want you to think that having critical thinking skills is a bad thing. It’s very necessary. I just want to help you understand the difference between your brain talking to you and your intuition talking to you.

If something comes to you without your thinking, deducing, analyzing there’s a good chance it is your intuition. Your intuition doesn’t come from your brain. I feel my intuition from my heart space. It’s a deep knowledge inside of myself. Deeper than my brain. When a idea or feeling “pops” into your head immediately take note of where in the body you felt it. This can help you identify if it is your intuition and where in the body you feel your intuition for future references.

NOW WHAT?!?!

Now that you know how to recognize your intuition you have to learn to trust it. Your critical mind responds well to questioning and alternatives. Your intuition does not. You can question your intuition until the cows come home and look for all kinds of evidence and it will do you no good. Your intuition is not rational. It is not supported by hard facts and evidence. It doesn’t require your analysis. It only asks of you to follow it.

Don’t question your intuition. Just follow it!

Go where it tells you to go. Do what it tells you to do. You can start small first. Such as, don’t switch lanes when it tells you not to. (Duh!) Take note of times you followed your intuition or did not follow your intuition and what the outcome was. If I would have followed by intuition the day of the accident maybe I would have witnessed the driver turning too wide into the next lane. She wouldn’t have hit me, but I would have known had I changed lanes like I intended she would have. Trusting my intuition would have been reinforced.

As you keep notes of these events you’ll start to trust your intuition more and more. You’ll notice a pattern of positive results every time you do decide to trust it. It will lead you in the right direction and prevent you from taking a wrong turn. Small trust creates bigger trust. You’ll start to depend on your intuition for everyday life.

HOW TO HEAR FROM YOUR INTUITION

Make it a point to quiet your mind. It’s that simple. With all the chatter going on in our heads there’s too much noise to hear from our intuition. Spend time in quiet meditation throughout the day everyday.

Once you invite your intuition to have a key role in your life and create the proper space for it to do so IT WILL. You will make better decisions, follow your true self more easily (not your critical thinking self) and create a more rewarding, fulfilling life.


Learning to Meditate & Why You Should

butterfly-meditation

Meditating is all the rage made popular in recent years by gurus such as Deepak Chopra and his partnership with Oprah Winfrey. A lot of people understand the value of meditation and why they should incorporate the practice into their daily routines. The problem is they think they don’t know how. Or they say that they’ve tried before and “it didn’t work.”  As a certified mindfulness meditation instructor I wanted to give you some helpful hints to getting started.

The first step to practicing meditation is to acknowledge that you can and already do meditate. Whenever you give something your focused attention you are meditating on that thing. You potentially meditate on all of the things around you all the time. Your favorite television show. A piece of artwork. You can meditate on a book. You may have heard people say they are meditating on the word of God. You can meditate on something someone said to you or something you heard.  Daydreaming can also be a form of meditation called creative visualization.  I could go on and on. As you can see, you already meditate, but it’s mostly on accident and without purpose.

Once you can appreciate that you are already capable of meditating you can practice putting intention and purpose with your meditation sessions. To do this, set aside a specific time when you will meditate on purpose. Make sure you are comfortable and free of distractions. Close your eyes. A great way for beginners to get started is to just focus on their breathing. With each inhale and exhale notice how the breath travels through the upper body and exits through the nose or mouth. The idea is not to judge the breathing or focus on whether it’s fast or slow. You are just giving your undivided attention to your breathing. When you find your thoughts drifting, just bring your attention back to your breath. Congratulations! You are meditating.

When you are practicing meditation what you are basically doing is practicing living in the current moment. This leads to less stress, worry, and anxiety. It also leads to more peace and more clarity.  The benefits of meditating extend far beyond just your meditation sessions.  You may also find that you perform better in life and have stronger relationships in general. For example, if you are working on a report at work and you’re thinking about how much time you have to finish it and what everyone will think you are working in a state of distraction. You’re not living in that moment.  When you’re distracted you’re more likely to make mistakes, omit details, overlook things, etc. Giving your focused attention can alleviate some of this and enable you to produce a better report.

The same thing applies with relationships. If you’re focused on what happened in your last relationship or what the future holds in your current relationship you are not fully focused on the present moment.  People can sense when you’re not present mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Meditation can transform your relationships for this reason.

Making a commitment to center yourself and live life fully present in each moment can transform your life. It can transform how you think about your life experiences. Get started right now (in this moment) by practicing the basic breathing exercise above. You can also listen to my guided meditation below.

Charlene Dior’s Guided Meditation for Beginners

 

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Top 10 Quotes on Meditation

Sitting Buddha [Converted]

 

Here are some of my favorite quotes on meditation to help you on your own journey:

  1. “The thing about meditation is: You become more and more of you.” – David Lynch
  2. “Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.” – St. Francis de Sales
  3. “Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
  4. “Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us.” – Paramahamsa Yogananda
  5. “Meditation is listening to the divine within.” – Edgar Cayce
  6. “Prayer is you speaking to God. Meditation is allowing the spirit to speak to you.” Deepak Chopra
  7. “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
  8. “To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
  9. “The Way to do is to be.” – Lao Tzu
  10. “Meditation is realizing and expanding your inner beauty in every direction.” – Amit Ray


Why Police Officers Should Practice Mindfulness

Police Officers

Police brutality and misbehavior is such a huge topic. Just this week in Dallas a young man, Bertrand Davis lost his life to the hands of a police officer. Whether this was justified or not is not something I write to debate. The point is that we all feel the tension in America between citizens and police officers.

Police officers have high stress, life or death jobs. Again, I’m not justifying or defending anyone’s behavior. I’m offering a potential tool that I believe if taught and practiced regularly can help these officers better control high stress situations in the best interest of everyone involved. I am a black woman. I may be in the minority, but for the most part I do not believe officers are out to take the life of non-threatening individuals just for the sake of it. I think officers are trained to be aggressive. They are taught to act quickly or lose their life. They are taught that if they don’t have a handle on a situation they could lose their life. And they can.

The problem comes in when a police officer is not truly in a life threatening situation. A stressful situation? Yes, but life threatening? No. They often times don’t know how to assess the real dangers of a situation and how to take control accordingly. When adrenaline is running, the suspect isn’t cooperating the way they want and the suspect “looks” dangerous things can end horribly.

I’ve written about mindfulness before. It is essentially a practice of being present in the current moment. A lot of times we are thinking about the past or the future. I imagine police officers are often focused on the future. Will I make it home tonight? Will I see my family again? What if he kills me? And then it becomes a fight of the fittest, when the suspect isn’t even armed.

Practicing mindfulness and staying in the moment would allow an officer to assess if there is a significant threat or not. He or she would learn to focus on the present situation. Can I see the suspects hands? Are they holding a weapon or are they empty? By training their minds to pay attention to the right now they can alleviate the fearful thoughts of what might happen. When you’re not worried about the past or the future you can focus on the now.

This by all means doesn’t mean officers should not be alert and aware of the potential dangers in front of them. They don’t have to stop and think for five minutes what the right course of action is. Of course, a quick assessment and response is of the essence. However, having the wrong thoughts running through your mind at the intersect of a critical decision often spells disaster.

I honestly believe mindfulness training should be introduced into the curriculum when people are training to become officers. Maybe it already is. I don’t know. If not it should be and it should be apart of their continuous improvement training as well. By staying focused on the issue, the environment, the situation, the suspect etc. at hand better decisions can be made even in high stress scenarios.


What Practicing Mindfulness Taught Me About Failure

Mindfulness

I recently obtained a certification in mindfulness meditation and self hypnosis. Throughout the course I learned and practiced mindfulness.  Mindfulness is essentially focusing your attention on your breath. You’re not thinking about your worries or your problems. You’re just acknowledging your breathing.  As long as you are breathing you are okay. In any given moment life is okay. When you think about it and I’ve said this before, we live based on an anticipation of something in the future. Whether good or bad. Even when we’re dwelling on the past we’re still, for the most part concerned with what that means for our future.

If you had a bad business deal you’ll think you can never have a successful business. Or you think of all the ways the money invested in that deal could have better served you. How your future would be brighter had you made a different decision. If you ended a relationship you think of all the time wasted and how it would have been better spent with someone else. You think of the life, the future you’d be closer to achieving if you would have chosen better to begin with or stuck it out. We are obsessed with the future. Our future. And every time we “fail” our heart breaks for the future us. However, I’ve come to discover that there really is no such thing as failure.

When you’re practicing mindfulness you’re taught not to judge yourself or your thoughts. You’re taught to acknowledge them for what they are, “That was a thought,” and then return your attention to your breath.  That same principle of non-judgment and simple acknowledgement of a fact can be applied to life. If you end a relationship with someone it’s not a failure. It’s a breakup. Nothing more, nothing less. Not good or bad, just truth. If you lose money on a business deal you didn’t fail. You lost money. That’s it. It’s not good or bad. It’s fact.

I was fired from my job nearly a year ago. It was less than a week before my 30th birthday. Interestingly, I didn’t cry. I wasn’t upset or depressed. My colleague brought my things down in a box to the room I was waiting in with the HR rep and the boss who fired me. He said, “I tried to grab the important things.” Rummaging through the box I spotted a chocolate candy bar and replied, “Like chocolate?” And we all laughed. I left the building with my head held high and a smile on my face.

Being fired could be considered a failure, but to me it wasn’t. Even before I started practicing mindfulness I saw that experience for what it was. It was a fact. I was in a relationship with someone I didn’t want to be in relationship with (my boss). I attempted to change teams and she deliberately put a stop to it preferring to see me unemployed and that’s okay too.  I was released from a relationship I didn’t want to be in. No judgment. It’s not a good or bad thing in and of itself. Many blessings did come from the experience. The point is that it wasn’t a failure. It was a fact. Furthermore, it was a redirection to other career opportunities.

We tend to live our life based on a set of criteria that defines success and failure. Get promoted, married, make a lot of money, raise kids who do the same and you are “successful.”  If you don’t make a lot of money or live in a certain house or if you lose money you have “failed.” This is of course a simplified list of successes and failures. We all know the list tends to be long on both sides. The idea here is that life itself, friends and family, colleagues, our own selves, and society in general has defined this list we live by.

If we pretended for a moment that there was no such thing as success or failure how would life be different? I believe we’d all experience more joy, peace, and compassion. Our relationships would be better, our esteem would be higher, our egos would be nonexistent. We’d have less crime, less backstabbing and sabotaging and less suicides. I wouldn’t have been fired, because my boss would not have saw me wanting to change teams as a good or bad thing. She would have saw it as a simple fact.

We should all practice a little mindfulness. We should commit to not judging life’s events. We should simply acknowledge the truth of what is. “That was a breakup.” “I lost money on that deal.” “My heart is broken.” And then return our attention to life.