Most of us have heard that intuitive-based living can lead to more confident, effective, and true-to-self lifestyle choices, creating natural alignments in our relationships, careers, and even physical health. The emphasis on intuition is gaining traction in the scientific community as well, with plenty of studies laying the groundwork for a rational explanation for intuition and further demonstrating that our conscious thoughts represent a mere fraction of what our brains are capable of. 

Why then, in the face of so much evidence, is it still so difficult for us to trust intuition? What is preventing us from incorporating this pivotal sense into our lives, and how can we overcome that resistance?

Cultural Resistance to Intuitive Thinking 

On a cultural level, it’s possible that we’ve been conditioned to ignore our intuition. In a society that largely values only what can be rationally or empirically explained, it’s no surprise that many of us ignore or repress this sometimes abstract sixth sense.

 It’s not a negative reflection of us; it’s simply how most of us have been raised in western society.  

How does this conditioning translate to decision-making? When we are making a choice, we may be inclined to favor the input of informational, qualitative, data-driven thinking over the more abstract wisdom of our intuition. Even the discomfort we feel when facing a decision may be a result of a cultural impulse towards rational-mind driven resolutions. 

While some decisions require us to rest in an in-between place, or a place of ‘unknowing’, this is, culturally speaking, an unwelcome state of being. We’re so uncomfortable with this uncertainty that we even go so far as to shut down the decision-making process altogether just for the sake of restoring mental order. Every time we ignore a problem simply because there is no clear-cut solution, it can cause us to lose out on valuable, intuition-driven information that could lead to new creative options and exciting paths.

How to Know if You Are Avoiding Your Intuition 

This sensation of “un-knowing”, or the lack of immediate knowing, can be a very uncomfortable experience. To handle the discomfort, we may do a number of things. Sometimes, we may become very active and keep ourselves busy in order to distract ourselves from having to make a decision. Other times, we might try to come to a quick and premature solution simply for the sake of moving on, without leaving time to consider other options. In extreme cases, we might just shut this process down altogether to keep the uncomfortable feelings at bay.   

Because we are so conditioned to problem solve in a “logical” manner, our default approach to a decision-making process may often involve establishing definitives, mandating timelines, and drawing up elaborate plans to avoid relating to the core of the matter. These steps can be helpful in some cases, but often times, they are simply coping mechanisms you use as a crutch to avoid using your inner sense of intuition and higher guidance.

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Give yourself time and space to reflect on difficult decisions rather than rushing to judgment.

Identifying Your Resistance to Intuition 

As a step towards embarking on a more intuitive way of thinking, it’s useful to identify our personal defense mechanisms. Try these six steps to become more aware of any decision-making roadblocks you may have. 

1. Imagine a decision, perhaps one that has been nagging at your subconscious for some time. 

2. Without an agenda to come to an immediate conclusion, contemplate the decision. Simply draw it up and allow the feeling of it to surround you. 

3. Gently bring forward an intention of openness and availability, in relating to the decision. Simply allowing any feelings to arise. 

4. Pause here and notice how you react to receiving permission to relate to your decision in this way. 

5. Notice how you react. Do you feel uneasy, restless, and speedy? Do you shut down entirely? Are you eager to resolve any problem in the most efficient way?

6. Drop the experiment and reflect on what you noticed, showing compassion towards yourself and your patterns.

More on Cultivating Intuition 

Trust continues to be a central theme in the development of intuition.

If the trust that you maintain with your intuition is strong, then your intuition will be clearly understood. If you seldom connect with your intuition then intuition will be vague and unheard. 

To further deepen your intuition, consider embarking on the first series in the Higher Self Yoga curriculum –  Awakening Your Intuition: A Guided Experience.