Here is my video message for the week, where I talk about why this week is so important, and tell you a little about the main activity I’m asking you to do. (By the way, it’s week 4 this week, not week 5 like I say in the video. Also, please disregard the conference call reference as usual, and reach out on Facebook or email any time!)
Discernment and Intuition
Here are our questions for this week:
- What does intuitive knowing feel like or look like?
- How can I tell what is intuition and what isn’t?
- What is the role of the physical body, the emotions, and/or the logical mind vis-à-vis intuition?
- What can I learn from my past experiences with intuition?
Part of our theme today is that learning to discern between the different parts of the self, the different voices, takes practice, and involves trial and error. We learn to listen by listening, and seeing what happens, and also we learn by NOT listening, and seeing what happens.
Here’s the downloadable file, if you’d rather print it all out on paper! Week4Online
WEEK FOUR ACTIVITIES
I. MEDITATION: RUNNING ENERGY
This week’s meditation shows you a different way to work with your energy field. You can find it on the week 4 web page. Try to do it once or twice this week if you can.
- How was that? To what extent could you feel the energy moving?
- How do you feel after the meditation—energetically, emotionally, mentally, and/or physically? What state did the meditation put you in?
II. EXERCISE: Making an “Inner Knowing” Timeline (Part 1)
One of the best ways to strengthen our powers of discernment is to learn from experience. (And experience can be messy, and that’s OK!) So we’re going to collect and explore our past experiences through the lens of inner knowing, intuition, and discernment.
NOTE: This exercise may take a bit of time. If possible, give yourself 30 minutes or more. If you don’t have that much time, don’t worry—just do the best you can! The point is to look back at past experiences of knowing/listening/not listening, so even one or two examples will be helpful!
I’ve included an example of one of these timelines on the video, above. But don’t worry, yours doesn’t have to be as extensive as that one!
- On a big piece of blank paper (I suggest two pieces taped together lengthwise), draw a horizontal line that represents your life so far. Roughly block out the time in years/decades.
- Use the area ABOVE the timeline as a place to write down more “positive” experiences or periods in your life, times when you felt more connected or true to yourself, more connected to inner knowing or “flow.”
- Use the area BELOW the timeline to collect experiences or periods where you didn’t listen to yourself or felt unclear, cut off, or less connected. (We are not judging these as “good” or “bad,” just noticing what comes up.)
- Include some or all of the following:
- Big life decisions (Relationships, moves, jobs): How did you make them? How did you decide? How did you “know”? Note any gut feelings, “signs,” or indications you may have had at the time, and how you were influenced by them.
- Memorable incidents: That time, however small, when you did or didn’t listen to your gut and you remember it.
- Urges over time: Are there persistent urges, desires, or visions of the future you’ve held for a long time? When did they start? How long have they persisted? You can use horizontal lines to show these. For example:
- Since age X, I knew I wanted to…
- I’ve always been drawn to…
- My interest in Y started when…
- Metaphysical moments: Jot down any weird or “numinous” moments, synchonicities, spiritual experiences, or pivotal experiences that changed you in some way.
III. WRITING: Reflecting on your timeline (Part 2)
Find an example or two of the following from your timeline:
- A time when you “knew” something and really listened to yourself.
- A time when you “knew” something and didn’t listen to yourself.
Now, in your journal, consider some of the following questions:
- How did the “knowing” present itself? What did it feel like to “know”? What did you feel in your body?
- Were there any external or internal “signs” either way? I call these red lights and green lights, or directional signals from the Self.
- What made it hard to listen to or trust yourself, if anything? What stood in the way?
- What made it possible to listen to or trust yourself, if anything? What helped?
- What can you learn from the experience, as you look back?
WEEK 3 READINGS:
Mini-lecture from Thea: Thoughts on discernment
Over time, the more we practice paying attention to inner knowing, the easier it becomes to tell the difference or discern what is what. Here are some of my observations.
Some typical qualities of intuitive knowing:
- Often not logical or “practical”
- Can be surprising or unexpected
- Doesn’t include all the information (“For some reason…” “I don’t know why, but…” “I just have a feeling that…”)
- Often quiet, unobtrusive (still, small voice)
- Quietly persistent, keeps coming back (cork or dog metaphor)
- May not match “on paper” assessment of a situation (Business coach story)
- Transcends pro/con lists
- Not concerned with what is socially sanctioned or appropriate
- May push us out of our comfort zone; feels like a stretch
- May induce some discomfort, fear or anxiety (not motivated by fear or anxiety)
- Usually asks us to let go of control in some way
- May ask us to wait when we don’t want to. Divine timing, not human timing.
- Once accepted, may feel calm, expansive, and freeing
- May come with “signs,” synchronicities, and/or a sense of entering the flow
- Better sleep, auspicious dreams, good feelings physically.
It’s likely NOT intuitive knowing if:
- Motivated by obligation or “should,” the “only option”
- Motivated by fear, social pressure, or guilt
- You “decided” it purely rationally or convinced yourself, looks good on paper
- It has a grasping quality or is about the need to maintain control
- It appears to be a “magic bullet” that will solve everything
- You have written a narrative of how everything will unfold perfectly from here
- (This kind of magical thinking can also happen with intuitive knowing once our minds latch onto it)
- There’s no surprise or “stretch” involved
- You’ve decided but your mind is still going in circles, issue not resolving, not sitting right
- You are talking yourself into it, overriding something in yourself (Bike theft story)
- You feel the need to justify your decision to yourself
- It is accompanied by physical complaints, illness, sleeplessness, etc.
Two metaphors for inner listening I like to use are the “red light/green light principle” and the sledgehammer. They go like this:
- Red Light/Green Light Principle:
If you keep getting green lights, you go. If you keep getting red lights, you stop. For example, if you start a project and everything goes wrong—you have delays, things fall through, people don’t show up to help, it doesn’t sit right, whatever—it might mean it’s time to rethink your plans. If, on the other hand, everything “flows”—the way opens up and things just fall into place, even if this particular project or plan wasn’t what you had in mind at first—that can be an indication of an auspicious way to go.
If you’re in a situation that’s not feeling quite right, you might get a subtle feeling, like a tap on the shoulder. Over time, that tap may get stronger and stronger, trying to get your attention. The key is to listen and pay attention before that tap becomes a sledgehammer, i.e. dramatic reactions or events that cause real disruption in your life. An example of this would be leaving a job or relationship before unhappiness becomes depression, or burnout becomes actual physical illness.
The role of fear and logic
Fear can work a couple of different ways vis-à-vis intuition. There is an appropriate role of fear, when fear is a warning sign used by our inner knowing, getting a “bad feeling” about something, warning us to protect ourselves.
A different kind of fear is the kind kicked up in reaction to an inner urge, i.e. when we are afraid to “leap” or afraid of the discomfort of saying yes to something or stepping out of line/pushing out of our comfort zone. Fear that we will be judged, or won’t have enough money, or won’t be safe, etc. That is the kind of fear that tends to keep us from trusting our intuitive knowing and may keep us from our path. The same kind of fear may also keep us from supporting others in following their inner knowing, especially our kids.
Logic can also be used to talk us out of intuition. “It doesn’t make sense.” “It’s not practical.” “What about money/education/time…?”
On the other hand, we can employ logic to support trust by looking back on past experiences and seeing the internal logic of intuitive knowing. It’s “logical” to trust inner knowing once we add up all the evidence of how it’s worked in the past.
Different Modes of Knowing
There are so many ways and forms of knowing—a lot depends on the person and the situation. What’s important is learning how to read your own internal language.
Different people and different situations connect or correspond to different energy centers (chakras) or modes of knowing. For example:
- GUT: gut feelings, body sensations or symptoms, sleep disturbances.
- HEART: strong feelings, emotional cues, “feeling weird” about something.
- SEEING: third eye, sensing, getting a picture, seeing inwardly.
- HEAD: knowing, consciousness. “I don’t know why, but I just know.”
- SPIRIT: ”hearing voices,” receiving messages, visitations, dreams.
Also, SIGNS and SYNCHRONICITIES: “weird coincidences,” other people mentioning things repeatedly, the book falling off the shelf, etc. We’ll talk more about these next week.
We all have different sensitivities or tendencies. Take some time to notice which one feel most natural to you.
In their full expression these differences correlate to different psychic abilities: Empath or clairsentient (feeling), clairvoyant (seeing), clairaudient (hearing), medium, etc.
From the Guides: “Ask for guidance in each step”
[First, a relevant excerpt from a client session, about finding clarity through quieting of the mind:]
You want clarity in your future—clarity in your path, in your purpose. There is nothing wrong with that. But clarity cannot come to an overactive mind. Calm the mind and you create the space for the knowing to emerge. Does that make sense? Right now there is no room. There is too much clutter. Too much urgency. Too much stress. Time to release the stress, or in the short term, to learn to release the stress by practicing techniques that will give you short-term experiences of peace of mind. Meditation, yes. Quieting the mind, yes. Slowing the breathing, yes. Questioning the part of yourself that needs to be on high alert. Yes, yes, yes. All these are good steps to take. All of these will help you begin to reset the mind and contact the heart.
Let’s talk about the heart for a moment. Your heart cries out to be heard, but it cannot be heard amid the clutter and clatter of the mind. Your mind thinks it should be in charge, but in fact the opposite is true. The mind should be a servant of the heart, not its master. You quiet the mind in order to be able to hear the heart’s wisdom. Feelings are your guide, not an obstacle. Do not seek to change your feelings with your mind. Seek to quiet the mind so that you may truly know what the feelings are, and let them guide you to a life and a path with more purpose and meaning for you, over time.
More guidance for the week relating to discernment and trust:
The steady heart, the inner heart, the voice of God within us that keeps on speaking, quietly and insistently, regardless of outer circumstances—that is your guide.
Embrace your own heart. Know it as your teacher. It is your eternal compass and you can follow it to your greatest awakening, your greatest potential.
When you turn inward—truly turn inward, with patience and forbearance for the turbulence that can arise at first—you will begin to hear, if you don’t already, the voice of God within. This voice may sound like nothing much, at first. It may sound like silence. It may sound like an urgency you don’t understand, impulses that don’t make sense from your rational mind. Sleep, it may say. Rest. Or cry. Or talk to this person. Or forgive that wrong. Or go to this place. Or do that thing.
Your mind will argue. It will say, that doesn’t make sense. Or, that is not the plan. Or, what about money? Or, or, or. The mind loves to argue. It wants to be in control. But the heart, the deep heart, has other plans. The plans of your soul. And those are the ones to follow, to the extent that you can, even if you don’t understand. Chances are, you won’t. Not until much later.
So, yes, if you keep hearing the same thing over and over again, if your soul will not rest, then pursue that goal. But have patience and trust the unfolding of events. Allow redirections. Keep an open mind. Do not let yourself become fixed on a certain course, for that means your mind has taken over and hijacked the proceedings, and that only causes you to suffer.
Allow that you don’t know what your soul has in mind. Allow that there is more, much more, going on than meets the human eye. Allow that your plans, your small human plans, are just that—plans made with the human mind, in a human timeframe, without regard to the much larger story that is being written and of which you are an essential part.
We realize this is a frustration. To live within such limits of perception is understandably difficult, and that is why we encourage you to go within, to begin to encounter the Divine mind within yourself. You will not understand the Will of God perfectly. That is impossible from a human perspective. But you will begin to sense the rightness of What Is, regardless of circumstance. You will begin to feel the “peace that passes all understanding” within yourself, underneath the turbulence, underneath the outrage or disappointment or frustration or egoic grasping that characterizes the human life. You will begin to feel yourself as a part of something much greater, more ineffable, more compassionate, more Eternal, than you ever thought possible. And that will give you Peace beyond what you can imagine.
You don’t have to see. You only need to feel. Step your way one foot at a time. All you need to ask is, where do I step next? Not, where am I going. Trust where you are going. Ask for guidance in each step.
You want certain answers. Ones that make you feel more comfortable. What is needed is faith. Being afraid only holds you back. Faith moves you forward. Which one are you going to choose?
When you are in line with the will of God you are free. You can do what you want. All great truths are apparent contradictions. If you are living God’s will you are free to do what you want, because what you want is what God wants for you. It is your deepest desire. When you are within Divine will you are living your dream.
“So it’s not about all the work it takes to live your dream?”
No, living your dream should be the closest thing to effortless you have ever experienced.
You don’t have to earn what is already yours. You think that you have to do something to be worthy of achieving your dreams, but you already are worthy. All the effort you put in—all the struggle—shows just how unworthy you feel. In this way, struggling actually holds you back.
“What about the work of listening and trusting?”
“I of mine own self do nothing.” You’re right, the work is listening and trusting. That and acting on what you discover. But there should always be an ease that comes with doing what is right for you, a sense of being in the flow, the river.
“Why do we struggle so much when we don’t have to?”
You are afraid you are unworthy and will be punished; struggling causes you to feel more worthwhile. Also, there is a spaciousness to effortlessness that makes you feel very uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be this easy, you think, and so you fill up your time with struggle.
Struggling gives you the illusion of control. I may be miserable, you think, but at least I’m in charge!
When you feel that natural flow, you know you are in the presence of something greater than yourself. You know you are being led somewhere, and you’re not sure you want to go there. So you throw a wrench in the works, and you feel relieved. Miserable, but relieved.
“The alternative is what—scared, but happy?”
Scared but ecstatic, joyful, exhilarated! When your spirit gets the green light, it fills you with an incredible joy. Often this is enough to stop you, make you freeze with panic. What am I going to do with that, you think. I’ll explode! I’ll combust! I won’t be myself anymore! I’ll be so happy I won’t know who I am! Even…I’ll die!
Learn to listen to yourself. Turn off the fear. Not that it will go away. But you can turn the voice of fear down like you turn down a radio. And then listen to what’s there.
Fear is “safe” in the sense that it is predictable. The path of fear will lead you back to what you know, which is struggle and pain. It is familiar in that it confirms your long-held beliefs: nothing good ever happens to me, etc. And for some reason that feels more comfortable for you than being out on the edge of excitement and joy.
“I think it’s fear of the unknown-ness, not whatever actually might happen. It’s the lack of control.”
Yes, we come back to this. When in fact, human beings have so little control as it is. But fear doesn’t help. That’s the problem.
Fear doesn’t give control. It only gives the illusion of control and takes the person farther away from his or her right path. You think following fear will bring you control which will bring you security, but it doesn’t work that way. The only thing that brings security is faith.
The river only flows one way—you are either going that way or keeping yourself from going that way.
Those are your choices, not carving out a river of your own, using your ego and your “shoulds.” That is a waste of time, and it will only exhaust you and make you lose faith. Don’t worry so much about the end result. It will be there when you get there.
All that is required of you is to take the next step, to step back into the river, day after day.
“Like, “Be Here Now.” But what does that really mean?”
It means breathe. It means look around you and see what’s there. It means go within and sense what is important. It means be open to guidance by the minute. It is a radical way of practicing living. It means that you exist only in the present, as all others do, but that you are aware of it. And that awareness informs your choices.
“What if I have goals for the future? How do I simultaneously exist only in the present and plan for the future?”
Point yourself like an arrow in the direction you want to go and you will go there. It’s just that it will all happen in the present—the never-ending present.
The real clarity is seeing what is, not distinguishing what’s right. And clarity is also feeling what’s good for you right now.
Finally, I leave you with an excerpt from a poem by by Antonio Machado:
Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.
Next week’s topic:
Deepening Trust and Divine Connection, or as I like to call it, “Woo-woo week!”