Posted Under Health & Healing

Sensible Intuition: How to Develop Good Body Sense and Use It Every Day

Woman and Intuition

Being both sensible and being intuitive may seem like an oxymoron, since those two adjectives fall on seemingly opposite ends of a spectrum. But, from the body's point of view, they're really one and the same. While being sensible implies being practical, grounded, and level-headed, it's really about living in accord with your inner knowing or intuition. Curiously, being sensible depends more on information from your aware body than your rational mind.

Your five senses (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting) are essential players on your intuitive team. These basic senses relay valuable information for making sensible decisions, choosing sensible partners, and charting a sensible course. Including (or overriding) their input can often be the key to success (or failure) in both your personal and professional life. For instance, your inner vision notices mood indicators linked to posture and expression; your inner hearing evaluates tonal qualities associated with authenticity and sincerity; and your inner feeling registers the nuances related to emotion and receptivity. As part of everyday living, paying attention to your intuitive sensibility is essential if you want to respond accurately and effectively.

There's also a sixth sense on the team: your kinesthetic or "body" sense. This important sense delivers information about balance, position, movement, and space. It's how you brush your teeth, find a light switch, and identify a lemon—all without looking. It's how you hit a tennis ball and ride a bicycle. It's how you identify whether you're stuck or inspired. It's how you know where you're sitting in the room. Wired in and delivering information since you were a baby, your body sense sends signals from your physical, emotional, and energetic body to inform and back up your inner knowing. As far as intuition is concerned, this sense is the MVP!

Your Body's Sense of Internal Space
For many people, a kinesthetic awareness of internal space lies undeveloped and full of potential. Because it's such an integrated part of how we experience our moving, living body, nobody pays much attention to the space inside unless there's restriction or pain. It just feels like who we are, what we've always been, and ho-hum-nothing-special. But this sense of internal space is the key to intuition or inner knowing. In addition to delivering information about the relative position and comfort of viscera, bones, and tissues, your spatial awareness connects you with the nuances and information essential for picking up energy shifts and subtle cues that communicate what's really going on.

Explore your internal space. Take a moment to sit and reflect on your body. With your eyes closed, slowly scan through and map the interior from head to foot. Is the terrain smooth, open, and consistent all the way through? Or, are some places tight, dense, heavy, blocked, jangly, or numb? Now, take a moment to breathe and settle as you consciously relax the tension, release the blockage, smooth out the energy, and wake up the cells. Where necessary, let your inner awareness quiet things down or wake things up. In order to function as a reliable barometer for accurate inner knowing, the space needs to be open, neutral, engaged, and flowing.

But, what if your internal space doesn't feel so open and flowing? If the above exercise revealed areas of discord or congestion, it's important to do a little housekeeping. Physical attitudes, emotional issues, and mental distraction will only block the circuitry and gum up the works. In order get it moving, go inside and use your body sense to locate a stuck place. Bypass the intellectual process of figuring out why/who/what and simply find one word or color or feeling to represent the blockage. Then, invite your breathing body to inhale this word/color/feeling into the center of the issue and exhale letting it all go—air, issue, blockage. Inhale without judgment and exhale without hesitation until it opens and clears.

This open, flowing internal space creates a baseline for reliable, accurate intuition. The more you familiarize yourself with it, the more you'll trust your hits and feelings. Make the intellectual connection and appreciate the source anytime you:

  • Sense something isn't quite right and proceed cautiously
  • Feel held by the support and comforting thoughts of others
  • Get goosebumps when something rings true
  • Experience fatigue when something is pointless
  • Get sexual vibes when someone is attracted to you
  • Change direction because of a feeling in your bones
  • Relax around friends/tense up around adversaries
  • Make choices and trust people based on a gut feeling
  • Feel betrayed and your heart tightens

Improving Your Intuitive Ability
Just like yoga, tai chi, and meditation improve resiliency, balance, and focus, exercising sensible intuition improves its function and clarity. Here are some simple exercises to buff up and tune up your intuition.

Exercise #1: Go Forward or Hold Back.
The next time you have to make a decision, listen to your body. Construct the situation as a simple yes-no question, such as, "Should I take this job, go on this vacation, make this telephone call?" Then stand up and balance your weight evenly front to back on your feet. Without any opinion, ask the yes-no question out loud and feel what happens. If your body tilts forward and weight shifts to the balls of your feet, your body is saying, "yes"—move forward! A tilt backwards indicates "no"—hold off or retreat.

Exercise #2: Fork in the Road
This is great for an either/or choice. Sit down in a quiet place and take a few minutes to connect with your body awareness. With your eyes closed, imagine you're standing at a fork in the road. Let the left fork lead to one choice and the right fork to the other. Stay with your inner senses and feel which direction is beckoning, open, and easy flowing. Shift your focus to the other direction and check for contrast. When you imagine going one way or the other, does your body feel relaxed and enlivened or dense and dull? This is guidance from your intuitive body.

Exercise #3: Listening to Your Central Channel
Select a sticky issue that's currently on your mind and ask your body for input. Sitting comfortably, close your eyes, and connect/clear your inner space. Then think about this sticky issue and notice what happens. Is some place squeezing, jangly, buzzy, dense, or numb? Without thinking about it, ask your sensible intuition, "What's this all about?" The first thing that pops up is your answer. This could present as a straightforward voice in your head or as a bit of a puzzle to be worked out. For instance, your answer might appear as a phrase, a song or poem, a corny slogan, an animal or figure from fable, or a vignette from the past. Like a fortune cookie, interpreting the message is up to you.

Every time you tune in and use your intuitive resources to resolve a problem, make a decision, or deepen understanding, the circuitry gets stronger. Every time your follow your intuition, its credibility grows. Like any new learning, using your intuition in a variety of everyday circumstances makes it your own. Even when you don't pay attention and suffer the consequences of a bad decision or messy relationship, it's all part of the trial and error process. It's easy for the mind to doubt and question this distinctly non-intellectual source of information, but, over time, the positive results will generate confidence. And, once your mind trusts your sensible body, making good decisions will become second nature. Even if you try to talk yourself into a bad decision, it'll just feel wrong—as if you're going against the flow.

Recently, a client of mine needed to make the choice between relocating to enrich her professional life and staying put to pursue a promising relationship. She was at a crossroads and wanted to access her broadest perspective. Tired of agonizing over the arguments for one side or the other, one day she decided to tune in to her sensible body and listen to her inner knowing. Using the Fork in the Road exercise, in one direction she saw a garden full of life; the other, a path of glittery objects that, on closer inspection, turned out to be broken glass. Which direction do you suppose she chose?

In my somatic healing practice, I've assisted many people making sense of the non-linear, symbolic messages coming from their intuitive bodies. Rather than trying to approach it from an intellectual place, we use the artistic imagination to connect the dots. Here's an idea of how it goes: a bull could represent stubbornness, strength, fertility, or…Taurus. A flowing river could mean movement, transition, healing, or …Life. The lyrics of a song might be a metaphor or maybe they mean just what they say. An archetypal image can help you understand the princess and the frog. Working with imagery is a great way to see the circumstances as well as the solution from a fresh angle.

Your Body's Sense of External Space
Being an intuitive person is not extraordinary; it's simply part of living in a sensible body that's designed to thrive and survive. Once you're facile and comfortable with your intuitive gifts, you may want to take it a step further and explore some extra-sensory perception. This is when your internal spatial awareness becomes a bridge to your external spatial awareness.

Explore your external space. Close your eyes. Feel the space you occupy in the room and imagine an egg-shaped, energy field halo surrounding your body. Bring your awareness into the core of your inner space and tighten a bit (just like yoga, weight lifting or Pilates). Squeeze all the way from your face and head down to your legs and feet. As you release the tension, notice how it all gets less and less dense as the space gets bigger and bigger. Let it get so light and big that you expand beyond your body into your halo space and beyond. Just as interior space gives you vital information about your personal self, this exterior space gives you info about other people and the world around you. It's as if the expanded space is offering expanded perception. Now, you're ready to tune up your ESP.

Exercise #4: Sensible ESP
As you practiced above, connect and clear your body field (internal space). Then, expand your awareness to include the energy field around your body (external space). Feel the qualities of flow and expansiveness and use this as your reference point for extra-sensory exploration. And, out of respect for your sacred space, ask that all information received be for your highest good. Now, hold a person, place, situation, or question in your mind and listen to your expanded body sense. Like a psychic radar, ask your sensible ESP for information beyond your cognitive knowing.

Whatever shows up, it's your interpretation that counts.

Whether intuition or extra sensory perception, your sensible body has a language of its own and requires some creative translation. Remember, the messages are coming through your body to your mind, rather than the other way around! Just keep your imagination open and include symbol, metaphor, archetype, and myth. And, once you're finished, be sure to clean up your internal/external space and set a clear energetic boundary at the edge of your egg-shaped, energy-filled halo.

Everyday Intuition
Until recently, intuition and extra-sensory perception couldn't be measured beyond subjective experience. But recent advances in imaging technology have enable researchers to prove what we knew instinctively all along, that gut feelings and premonitions aren't figments of imagination. They're sourced right in our body. They're as much part of physical reality as the tree outside. Tuning in and toning up your sensible intuition is a good way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Your sensible body is there to act as a sounding board anytime you have a question or want clarity about a person or situation. It's good counsel when you face an important decision. It's an ally when you need to negotiate a tricky relationship. It's a blessing when you're seeking guidance or healing.

Over time, your intuitive ability will grow and validate itself each time it helps you perceive the big picture, the underlying context, and the deeper wisdom. Trust and confidence replace uncertainty and doubt. If something "feels off," it probably is. If you hesitate about making a decision, it has something to tell you. If you falter taking a step, slow down and listen. When you listen to inner space you're tuned in to your deepest knowing. When you don't, you're spaced out and missing out.

About Ann Todhunter Brode

Ann Todhunter Brode (Santa Barbara, CA) has focused on the relationship of body, mind, and spirit as it shapes the physical experience for more than forty years. As a teacher, therapist, healer, and writer, Ann is a ...

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