Excerpted from How To Rule The World From Your Couch by Laura Day. ©2009 Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York Reprinted by permission of the author.
Have you ever experienced, in a fully visceral, soul-talking-directly-to-you kind of way, a shockingly clear, unbelievably useful piece of intuitive information, a tiny morsel of data that you simply, for the life of you, could not explain away? Have you ever just known something not because you knew it, but more because you sensed it? Many of my students and clients (from doctors, engineers, and market analysts to businesspeople of all varieties, scientists, lawyers, and beyond) have come to their own sense of intuition just this way – through some unexplainable flash of insight, or perhaps triggered by something I said that worked for them.
Regardless of how or under what circumstances it occurs, when tapped into purely, intuition and insight become the breath of life. My clients may have been skeptical, but as pragmatists, they knew they could not ignore what they themselves had experienced firsthand. This sense made them hungry to know more. Though they may still be skeptics, guess what: they use these skills regularly anyway.
We live in a world of constant activity, always doing, in motion, on task. The reality is that your truest successes come not only from what you do, but more so from your preparedness and ability to gather needed information in advance. The doing piece is actually tiny, but only if you have laid down the proper foundation of readiness. Everything is available. Your only task at hand is to position yourself properly to receive it. Think of yourself as a perfectly designed state-of-the-art radio. You may be able to send and receive all the right signals – but only if your power is on.
Intuition enables you to gain more accurate information so that you can make better decisions.
Intuition itself, as I will explain, gives you the power, the questions, and the answers. It gives you the tools to create, to change, and to teach others, as well as the ability to be taught effectively by those around you. Intuition, you see, is innate. It allows you to experience yourself and the world in its totality. Your actions (when guided by the various realms of your intuition) become commensurate with your skills, your skills then find the information to improve, and you will start to make choices to create and achieve goals. You will save time by predicting mistakes and avoiding them, as intuition works on your past to create a happier, better-functioning present, poising you for a more peaceful future – all of your separate parts working together to the benefit of the whole.
So, What Is Intuition?
Intuition is accurate insight and information that you have not gained through the everyday use of your five senses, intellect, or experience. It is a higher octave of your five senses. In short, it is information that you didn’t’ realize was available, information that can guide you toward your truest, best possible self. They key to a successful life is a smooth path, a quick transition when you hit a bump, and the ability to instantly make the next move correctly.
Children, ideally, have their lives guided and smoothed by the adults around them so that their perceptions and intuition are contained and directed into compassion, creativity, and community. Smooth paths are rare for adults, who interface with a huge and everchanging world and have to confront new situations in quick succession, often without any downtime. In the absence of a smooth path, a solid intuitive reach is essential.
What do I mean by intuitive reach? Intuition gives us the ability to communicate with our world at a distance, to perceive the future, to see the outcome of taking different paths, to find in ourselves fully mature resources, skills, and responses that are accessible only through our ability to tap into the infinite field of information and communication that intuition provides. Intuition is a powerful tool in guiding yourself and others in every capacity of life, from love to career to investments. Your own intuition can make accurate predictions, which in turn create successful lives.
What do I mean by intuitive reach? Intuition gives us the ability to communicate with our world at a distance, to perceive the future, to see the outcome of taking different paths.
You can use information gathering in countless ways:
… and many more.
I know, the question begs: How does intuition actually work? I have already explained that intuition is innate, however I maintain that like all skills, it can be consciously developed. So where can we start? Intuition begins with a question. This is essentially the starting point. By asking yourself the first question, you create a foundation from where your intuition can continue to inquire and respond to its own questions. After a while you won’t even “hear” the questions anymore, you will realize that you simply know the answers.
Of course, intuition is only as good as the questions posed to it. So, if you don’t know your question, it is going to be hard to recognize the answer. For the purpose of the exercises, of life, and of the overall pursuit of happiness – even if you do not exactly know what your endgame is – it is your duty to yourself to explore it. Start here: what do you want to achieve, find out, experience, and improve? The more you can narrow each effort down to one goal at a time, the less confusion and scattering of purpose you will have.
Intuition is accurate insight and information that you have not gained through the everyday use of your five senses, intellect, or experience. It is a higher octave of your five senses.
Once you’ve asked your question, notice what information you receive, and by notice, I mean simply observe. The information may come in various forms, or it might not come at all. My beginning students often say, “I’m not getting anything” or “I’m blocked.” Well I am here to tell you that “blocked” is information. I tell my students to describe the block: who is it, what is it, when is it, how do you get around it, under it, through it … More often than not, those questions inevitably build the answer.
Everything you perceive in any way, including distractions, thoughts, and even intestinal gas, should demonstrate to you that something is always happening, bubbling there beneath the surface (no pun intended).
Over and over again, you will likely come face-to-face with your own resistance to the information you receive. You will judge the information, question it and ask yourself what it could possibly mean. But when you begin to observe and document the information without judgment or opinion, and instead receive it with total equanimity, you will see that the significance of this intuitive data (and the significance of all your perceptions, decisions and actions) will lead you to be better able to manage your life.
As you begin to use intuition as a factfinding mission, start by knowing what you do expect the answer to be, and then try to distract yourself away from what you think you know. You have to be willing to let in perceptions that you don’t agree with, data that doesn’t make sense in the moment, and distractions that you cannot apply immediately. Suspend your judgment long enough to find facts you did not even realize were there. After all, how long were we sure the earth was flat? When you are afraid to be wrong, you cannot freely use your intuition. Any judgment you pass on your intuited data is actually counterintuitive. The desire to be “right” eclipses your real targets and goals, which should be to report/ document the information without feeling the need to qualify it. Your only job is to observe and then to document everything, whether you record it, write it, or carve it in clay tablets. Just get it down.
You will save time by predicting mistakes and avoiding them, as intuition works on your past to create a happier, betterfunctioning present, poising you for a more peaceful future – all of your separate parts working together to the benefit of the whole.
When we speak about intuition, we add another set of senses to our standard five. Intuition enables you to gain more accurate information so that you can make better decisions. Intuition may not show you the whole picture, but if it is working right, it will draw your attention to what you need to know for your question or goal. It alerts you when an area in your life needs attention and gives you tools to address the given situation successfully. Feeling, experience, instinct, and creativity all go together. Intuition is actually on the other end of the spectrum – because intuition is data that already exists; you are not actually creating anything. Intuition allows you to perceive a situation with detachment. You will find your own way to step away from conventional “knowing” and allow yourself the fresh impact of intuitive information.
In the exercises throughout this book, you will practice asking your intuition the right questions and begin to recognize which part of you is answering: intuition, intellect, emotion, belief, wishful thinking, or fear. This process will start to guide you away from harmful and confusing patterns and direct your intuition to information that is useful, accurate, and actionable – three very important words that I will use again and again. Here is why each word is vitally important.
Everything is available. Your only task at hand is to position yourself properly to receive it. Think of yourself as a perfectly designed state-of-the-art radio. You may be able to send and receive all the right signals – but only if your power is on.
Useful: If someone walked up to you and said the sky is falling and you didn’t have time to move out of the way or prepare in any meaningful way for the event, the information would be useless. You get loads and loads of intuitive and other (intellectual, emotional, sensory, subconscious) information all of the time. Even if all of it were accurate, unless it is also helpful to you in some way and addresses your needs, it is nothing but noise. Because we are already accustomed and conditioned to so much noise, we tend to miss what is useful; it’s like trying to find matching socks in a messy drawer. If you stay hung up on the useless information, your ability to function is compromised. With practice, however, you can train yourself to focus on useful information and create a place of peace where the noise used to live.
Accurate: Intuition gives you accurate data that addresses your question from a fresh perspective. Intuition data, as with all other kinds of data, is not always interpreted correctly, and therefore there is margin for error. Often the mistake occurs when the intuitive thinks he is answering one question but is really answering another. Consider the scenario where a person wonders, “Will this meeting go well?” Let’s say the person loses the deal in the course of said meeting but instead gets a great date out of the whole thing. The truth is that meeting did indeed go well, but had the person been more skilled in intuition, he would have closed the deal as well, which was his original target/goal. This type of twisted fate simply means that we need to learn how to refine our targets. With thirty years of practice I will miss sometimes, because learning to use intuition is an ongoing process. The good news is that you have your entire lifetime to practice.
Actionable: In other words, can or should you do something about it? It is the rare case that you cannot change something that affects you by either changing the event, preparing for it, or avoiding it (working on the issues in your marriage before the trouble starts, selling your stocks before the market crashes, not taking the job at the company that is going to fail in a month.) However, sometimes as information (intuitive and otherwise) is evaluated and delivered, the recipient is too ill informed or ill equipped to take action or, worse, is put into a state where she is actually disempowered by the information and less able than before to take action. My favorite example of this is when someone tells you to leave an abusive relationship and then goes on to list the reasons why you should. Had you been equipped and prepared to leave, you would have left, so this advice just makes you feel more powerless and takes your focus off what should be your actionable formula of gaining your autonomy, expanding your social group, and so on. Your own intuition, when listened to properly, should help you find your way of preparing yourself and making the right moves without scaring yourself into paralysis. Disempowerment is the nemesis of intuition because it allows the subconscious to protect you from the truths you need to be listening for. Alternatively, when you practice empowerment, your intuitive information will follow in abundance.
My clients may have been skeptical, but as pragmatists, they knew they could not ignore what they themselves had experienced firsthand.
In the “Welcome Note” of How To Rule The World From Your Couch, New York Times bestselling author Laura Day states, “As I turn fifty, I want to start giving my treasures away; I want more space within as I begin what I consider to be the second half of my journey. I used to take great pride in my refined intuitive skills, but today, I take even greater pride in being able to teach them to you – a gift to you from me, on my fiftieth birthday.” Ms. Day has trained thousands of people, scientists, celebrities, business executives and other professionals, to develop their perception in effective ways, and to create profound changes in their lives. For more information, go to http://www.howtoruletheworldfromyourcouch.com/