When you want to understand something or make a decision, ask for guidance, and then experiment with following the guidance you receive. Here is a process to use that can really make a difference in your ability to hear what your deeper Self wants to tell you.

Step by Step

Spend some time formulating your question, getting as clear as possible about it. Write it down. (This is important-the act of writing concretizes your question or issue.) You could start by asking for help in resolving a creative problem, problematic relationship, or living situation. You could ask for insight about your practice or about an inner tendency that disturbs you.

Sit comfortably with your back erect but not rigid and your eyes closed. Hold the question in your mind. Say it to yourself a few times and notice the feelings that arise when you do. Notice any thoughts that come up, including resistance to the process. Jot them down if they seem important or relevant.

Use the rhythm of the breath as an anchor. Keep your attention on the breath until the mind relaxes and becomes quieter.

Sink your attention deeper. You can do this by focusing on the heart center (in the middle of the chest) or on the belly center (three inches below the navel, deep inside the body). Or you can use a visualization: Imagine yourself descending a staircase into a quiet cave, moving step-by-step until you find yourself enclosed in quiet.

In this quiet space, ask the sage within you, the person of wisdom who resides in your deepest core, to be present. Or, if there is a particular deity form or teacher or sage you respect, you might ask that being to be present. Alternatively, you might simply have the feeling that you are asking guidance from the universe, the Tao, the source of all. Understand that it is enough to ask that inner wisdom be present.

Ask your question. Then wait silently, without expectation or discouragement, to see what emerges. Remember that insight does not always come in words. It might come as a feeling, an image, or something said by another person. Also, it might not come the moment you ask for it. Intuition emerges in its own time. Once you have seeded the question, be attentive during the next 24 to 48 hours, because answers to your question will arise.

As insights come, write them down. Hold each one in your mind and let it percolate. See what comes up and note the feelings. You may be drawn to interpreting the insight, but it is also enough just to hold it in your consciousness. As you do, it will create shifts in consciousness all by itself. Note that if your insight feels judgmental, punishing, or blaming, it is probably not coming from your deepest source.

Finally, think of a step you can take to put your insight into action. Here is where the real experiment begins. The only way to learn to follow your intuitive guidance is to try it and be very aware of the results.

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