Intuition Arises from the Body
Most of us do not remain in our body when difficult emotions arise. Rather than feel our emotions, our minds try to figure out how to change our discomfort. This disembodiment is where so much of our unnecessary "doing" comes from. Learning how to move forward intuitively, however, can save many unnecessary steps.
In the early 1960s, psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin discovered what type of person progressed in therapy, and what type did not. He found that unsuccessful therapy clients stayed mentally articulate through the entire therapy session, and they did not sense into their bodies.
Focusing Psychotherapy teacher and author of "The Power of Focusing," Ann Weiser Cornell explains, "No matter how much they analyzed their problems, thought about them or cried about them, their therapy was unsuccessful."
Successful therapy clients slowed down and groped for words. They identified feelings in their body - even as their body awareness felt vague and difficult to describe at first. This leaning into what is not yet known in the body is a perfect description of intuition. Cultivating intuition involves sensing inside of our body to discover the next step that we need to take.
Accessing Intuition with Collage
Overriding conflicting parts of ourselves, we can temporarily take vigorous and sometimes successful action in the world. Yet, until we turn towards our inner conflicts with love and acceptance, our efforts to clearly connect to our intuition will be thwarted.
One way to access hidden inner conflicts is to engage in a simple spontaneous art-making process. I like to offer the activity of spontaneous collage to anyone who tends to over-think their lives. Creating an intuitive collage involves randomly choosing imagery and words from a magazine, and glueing them together in an intuitive way.
Choosing imagery that feels emotionally strong, and quickly assembling it into a collage before your rational mind can interpret it, provides an honest visual depiction of how the various aspects of yourself are feeling right now.
It is quite easy to symbolically see how the various parts of our personality want different things. Inner conflict creates confusion and frustration because opposing aspects have different goals for our happiness.
When I support people to make sense of what they have created, we usually discover several conflicting parts of self within one collage. When we are caught up in emotional conflicts, we remain out of touch with our intuitive bodily knowing. Reconciling Opposites
Intuition arises when we are emotionally integrated within. To heal inner conflict, we can learn how to spend equal time with the opposite sides of our nature. If we nurture one aspect of our nature to the exclusion of another our nature, emotional pain accumulates.
Inner polarities need equal love and attention. If we only express only one side of ourselves in daily life, expressing the opposite of what we normally feel through art making can feel very liberating. Inviting "forbidden" feelings to emerge through creative expression can incite powerful integration.
Through regular creative practices, we can witness the play of our inner conflicts from a place of stillness, fascination, and even amusement.
As Lao Tse wrote about integrating opposites in the Tao Te Ching, "Whoever says 'beautiful' at the same time creates unbeautiful. Whoever says 'good' creates ungood."
When we learn to love our accepted and unaccepted parts of self equally, we can reconcile our inner warfare, and our intuition can come to the forefront to guide our life.
Embracing it all, spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle shares, "Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behaviours. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain."