How many times have you had a difficult choice to make?  And of those times, how many times have you been caught up in a headspin of trying to figure out what the best choice was?  Did anyone ask you what your "gut" was telling you?  And did you know?  If you did know, did you follow your gut's advice?  And how did that work for you?  Or was it so difficult for you to figure out the "right" decision that you never made any decision?  Our gut feelings represent our intuition, and listening to our intuition is the key to overcoming a stalled decision-making process.  In this article, we're going to talk about how to figure out what your intuition is telling you, and why it's important to trust your intuition.

Intuition exists, without a doubt.  If you're a materialist, you might say that intuition represents the ability of your brain to synthesize vasts amount of information (way more than you can consciously process) and provide comprehensive feedback for you, in the form of "feeling", based on that synthesis.  If you're spiritually minded, you might say that your intuition is the way that your higher self is communicating with you, to help steer you through life towards the important lessons you've come to the planet to learn, and to serve the higher purpose that you've come here to serve.  However you explain it, there is no mistaking that as we face decisions in our day to day life there is SOME mechanism that produces feelings within us to help guide us in making choices.

I believe that when there is a choice to make there's actually not much to "figure out".  However, it's easy to get all caught up in "what-ifs" as you weigh this option, or that option, or any infinite number of options - so easy that most people never get beyond this stage in decision-making, especially when it comes to making "big" decisions.  Analysis Paralysis (the inability to make a decision because you're caught up in weighing all of the options) is the result of trying to make important decisions solely based on your logical mind.  The problem is that really understanding the implications of our decisions is more than our logical mind can handle.  Any decision brings with it a whole host of pros and cons, and our logical mind can literally tie itself up in knots trying to sort out which pros are the best pros, and which cons are the worst cons.  And vice versa.  Starting to get confused?  See, that's my point!  There are an infinite number of "right" decisions, and our logical minds tend to get tangled, trying to figure out which "right" decision is THE right decision.

The logical mind is great for sorting out the facts - what "is" about a situation.  It can calculate income vs. expenses, organize your time, and help you get from here to there.  However, is it your logical mind that tells you whether or not you find someone attractive?  Does your logical mind tell you whether or not someone is trustworthy?  Can your logical mind tell you what you'd really like to eat for dinner tonight?  All of those determinations fall into the realm of feeling - and nothing against the logical mind, but FEELING isn't really the logical mind's specialty.

The best and easiest way to make a decision is with your whole self (which'll include your higher self, by the way).  And the way that your whole self delivers messages to you is through your gut feelings - your intuition.  You are always (constantly) collecting the facts with your logical mind - and you shouldn't be afraid to take a little time to do that consciously if there's a decision to be made.  Just make sure that you restrict your logical mind to strictly the facts (ma'am).  It will help keep you out of "what-do-I-do-brain-spinning-wildly" mode.

When you're not honoring what your intuition is telling you to do, the conflict between your heart (which knows the answer) and your mind (which is caught up in its quest for the "right" answer) can be debilitating.  The funny thing is, when you make a decision with your mind that isn't in alignment with your heart, your heart doesn't just go away.  It's constantly there, beating away, reminding you that something within you calls out for a DIFFERENT choice to be made.  However, as soon as you make the heart-centered choice for which your intuition is advocating, your mind-chatter just goes away! 

Now how do you get in touch with the feelings that your intuition is sending your way?  If your gut feelings are too obscured when it comes to the big decisions in your life, I recommend starting out by paying attention to your intuition for small, relatively insignificant decisions.  Here's an experiment for you to try: 

Next time you're at the grocery store, find the "unique tropical fruit" section.  You're going to buy a piece of fruit that you've never tried before.  Here in Maine basically everything except apples, pears, and blueberries qualifies as a "unique tropical fruit" - but you know the section I'm talking about, right?  There'll be a few fruits that you recognize (perhaps some pineapples and kiwis), and then there'll be a bunch of fruits to which you don't even know the names.  What you're going to do is just stand in front of the fruit, close your eyes (briefly), and take a deep breath (with your eyes closed).  Then open your eyes, and spend just a moment taking all the choices in that are available to you.  Pay attention, and you will find that you'll get a feeling that one of those fruits is the one for you - and that's the one you're going to try.  Grab it, buy it, and, once you get home, eat it.  If you're not sure how to eat it, Google it to see what you find out.

Also pay attention to whether or not your logical mind starts second-guessing your decision.  The instant you sense that happening, recognize that your intuition has ALREADY told you what to buy - so go with your ORIGINAL choice.  Don't listen to your head, listen instead to your heart.  It's just fruit, for crying out loud!

Does it really matter which fruit you try (or whatever it is, if you decided to go with some other section of the grocery store)?  Of course not!  It doesn't matter one bit, whether you love the fruit you chose or hate the fruit you chose.  As you're eating, take a moment and recognize that you're having a completely new experience.  Your life will never be the same!  Recognize also that you listened to your intuition - you were successful in what you set out to accomplish.

(note: if you have a sensitive stomach or many allergies, you might want to find another non-food-related choice to make instead - like picking a random city on the map for a Sunday drive, or figuring out which movie to see, or which ballpoint pens to buy, etc.)

Now, how does this experiment help you?  Two ways: 

  1. You are learning what the feeling of your intuition is in an experience that has no major implications in your life - so there should be that much less "logical mind chatter" to clutter up the decision.
  2. As soon as you begin honoring your intuition, your intuition gets stronger.  In addition, you get more faith in your intuition.  It's a positive feedback cycle, each feeding the other for your own personal growth.

The more that you practice using your intuition for the smaller decisions, the easier it will be for you to check in with your intuition for the larger decisions.  You'll notice a certain clarity in your decision-making, that all of your choices will feel right.  Even the tough, huge, life-altering decisions.  Not only will your analysis paralysis become a distant memory, but you will also feel a new sense of strength as you experience alignment with your whole self.  And with the compound interest of life, that strength will grow and grow.

(one more note: many thanks to Erin Pavlina for the inspiration to write more about getting in touch with intuition)