John claims that Charlie often acts like an 85 pound toddler on Christmas morning. He can be so excitable that he runs into things, knocks stuff off of tables, runs and plays in the house like we are at the park, and has such a goofy grin on his face that you cannot help laughing at him. But when we hike, his IQ increases by 50 points. In the hills, he is alert and pays attention to the environment and when he senses something that appears out of place he stops, perks up his ears and tail, and listens carefully; if he senses danger his hackles will emerge. Charlie’s responses in the wilderness are purely instinctual and even when I don’t understand his reactions, I trust his instinct and respect that something is amiss.
Unlike Charlie, I do not have hackles or a tail, and my ears will not perk up. However, I sometimes do get the feeling of the hair rising on the back of my neck while my senses become more alert (aka the flight or fight response). There is not always a clear reason why this happens, but I have learned to trust my instinctual cue that something is not right and pay close attention.
Hard-wired into our system, intuition is that unconscious reasoning that propels us to do something without telling us why or how. It helps to keep us safe, guide us during difficult decisions, and inspire us to action. The authentic journey requires us to tune in, listen, trust, and respect our insights and awareness. Unfortunately many people do not understand the language of their intuition.
I have come to know that my intuition is communicated through bodily sensations. If there is danger, my hackles rise and my body tenses; if there is inspiration, I get goose bumps and a sense of excitement; if there is connection and insight, I am wrapped with warmth and a sense of satisfaction; if I need to take action, I feel prodded or pushed. Each person will experience something different and you will need to develop your own understanding and interpretation.
The challenge is separating the ego from intuition. Ego tends to get in the way of this deeper awareness and leads you astray to chase after the shallow and deceiving ‘feel good’ high. It does not care if it puts you in danger, gets you into trouble, or ruins your world; it wants the quick fix. Ego is a superficial opinion while intuition provides authentic confidence. My intuition is quieter and feels solid and reliable. My ego is loud, excitable, and erratic. To understand the difference takes time, practice, and discernment. Here are some suggestions.
- Reflect on past situations in which you thought, “I knew I should have…” or “I knew better than…” That knowing was most likely your intuition attempting to guide you in a different direction. As you contemplate these events, try to remember you body’s sensations so you can recognize the voice of intuition.
- The next step will be to quiet the all so familiar chastising thoughts of “I’m being silly”, or “Stop being unreasonable”. Evil Gremlin thoughts can lead you astray. Their appearance may signify the ego’s voice. But if “Danger Will Robinson” (a catch phrase from the 1960’s television show Lost In Space) floods your mind, you might want to take heed.
- Try to remember what is right or okay for others is not necessarily right for you. Not everyone has your best interests in mind and you will need to decide for yourself the right course of action.
- And finally, the gut instinct does not always seem logical at the time but it is usually always right.
It reminds me of the chorus in Kenny Rogers The Gambler:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
Charlie’s IQ increases because he trusts his instincts. Do you trust yours?