Last week, we launched a brief Pathway series focusing on Intuition, the everyday miracle. Intuition is not a talent granted to only a limited number of gifted persons, or those of the more “touchy-feeling” persuasion. The use of intuition is an ability that we each possess, and can access through the act of noticing what’s happening within ourselves. Intuition is also greater than a hunch; it expresses itself as a language, spoken by both the brain and the body, to help us draw clearer insights. Everybody, and every body, can gain access to this language, if we pay attention.
When I am tuned into the signals that my body is sending, I am also tuned into my intuition, or “gut feeling.” For example, when something “feels right,” I notice that I have a warm and excited energy which flows through the middle of my body and centers itself within my chest. On other hand, when a situation or decision “feels wrong,” it literally exhibits itself as an unsettled feeling in my stomach and a distinct pain in my head.
I certainly do not deny the need for balanced decision-making and the consideration of objective and measurable data. We cannot discount the importance of weighing logical evidence as part such processes. However, “if we cling to logic alone, we’re using only a small percentage of our capacity to know,” says intuitive teacher Penney Peirce.
Throughout our lives and vast learning experiences, our brains and bodies accumulate a vast amount of wisdom about what is right, safe and good for us. Daniel Goleman, in Primal Leadership, explains that “because this kind of learning goes on largely in a deep zone of the brain outside of the realm of words (in the basal ganglia, a primitive part of the brain atop the spinal cord), leaders need to know when to trust their intuitive sense to access their life wisdom. The circuitry involved in puzzling decisions, in fact, includes not just the basal ganglia, but also the amygdala, where the brain stores the emotions associated with memories.”
When we face a moment of decision, the brain goes through a series of decision rules and informs us with a sense of what “feels right” by activating the circuitry that runs from the limbic centers into the stomach. The emotional center of the brain informs us of its conclusions through circuitry that runs from the limbic centers into the gastrointestinal tract. This literally creates the “gut feeling” that is part of the intuitive process.
When an association between an event and an emotional response is stored in memory, your body’s reaction will become intuitive when faced with another, similar situation. Thus, you may not even need to think about a decision but can react intuitively. For instance, when you meet someone you like, your brain stores distinct impressions regarding that person and, the next time you meet someone who feels similar, you instinctively feel a sense of familiar comfort. Your brain has used the stored memory, applied it to this similar circumstance, and applied your body’s knowledge without having to think about it. You have a gut feeling that allows you to like and trust this person instinctively.
Your body is an incredible source of wisdom; a wisdom gained from all the experiences that have been your life. Make paying attention to the signals your body is sending a nonnegotiable part of your decision-making process. Notice your “gut feelings,” your headaches, your energy shifts and energy zappers and use them as additional, necessary information.
Coaching Questions: What has your body been telling you lately? Where does fear show up in your body? What about joy, hope, anger, and mistrust? What have been the consequences of ignoring the messages of your body? What have been the rewards?
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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH • U.S.A.
Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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