2016-06-30
"But what if I can't see?" interrupts a young woman with long, gypsy hair and matching clothes.

As a professional psychic who also teaches people how to access their own intuition, I've just begun my workshop. I'm about to suggest she wait until I get to that part of my introduction, but I can't resist such a heartfelt cry.

"What makes you think you can't?" I ask. "I took a class, and all we did was view stuff on our `inner screens,' as they called them, and I couldn't do it at all. Isn't there another way?"

"Why don't you start by telling us your name," I say. "And is there some way in which you feel connected to your intuition?"

"I'm Maria and--I'm not sure if this is what you mean--I feel stuff in my body. Like right now, there's probably someone here with a stomachache. For whatever that's worth. It's not really intuition, I guess."

An older man clears his throat and says, "Actually, I had too much chili last night."

When the laughter has subsided, I ask Maria, "OK, so you pick up other peoples' body symptoms. That can be very useful, and it definitely is a form of intuition. How else do you experience it?"

She thinks a minute. "I get--this is hard--warnings. Like, if I'm about to really screw up, my throat will get really tight, like I can't breathe. That means there's something wrong."

"Don't do it, whatever it is?"

"Right."

"So," I say, "anyone else who operates at all like Maria?" Another hand slowly goes up. "Now, who has another way of getting information?" I ask.

A young guy with astonishing tattoos hears voices, which gently give him spiritual advice. An older woman just knows, things "come to her." Three others think they see things that aren't there, though they aren't sure.

The rest of the group either doesn't know how they do what they do or doesn't consciously do anything at all. Yet they've been interested enough to come to the workshop. That means they will almost certainly get something out of it.

"You're a real psychic, right?" asks the kid with tattoos. "What about you?"

That was supposed to come later in the presentation, too, but that's OK. "Well, a little bit of everything. I see, hear, sense things with my body, feel energy, and sometimes I just know. But originally I also thought I was supposed to see, period. It took years to realize that I was doing all these other things, too. Some of them didn't count in my mind, and some I didn't even notice."

I continue, "You know, the stereotype of the psychic is a woman--who looks like Maria, actually--looking into a crystal ball. Seeing. But there are innumerable ways to give ourselves information. One size fits all most definitely does not apply to accessing intuition. We each need to find out what works for us. And sometimes it's a combination of things.

So here we temporarily leave my students. (A middle-aged man in a killer suit with a briefcase is just about to confess that since childhood he has pictured a giant typewriter which picks out and sends messages to him when he really needs them. He has tried to switch to an imagined computer, without success.)
If you were in my workshop, maybe this is when I'd look right at you and say: "You know, learning to tap into your psychic ability is important. I'm glad you're here, because we can all help ourselves so well, so simply. We don't have to be professional psychics, either." As children, we were all open and curious. Over time most of us were told that we didn't really feel what we felt, see what we saw, or know what we knew. We were scolded for having overactive imaginations or bad manners. Often the adults who tried to close us down were merely attempting to help us fit into polite society; sometimes, like my mother, they were themselves uneasily psychic, often unconsciously, and had been taught to keep quiet about it. Past-life memories of oppression can add to the fear in many cases.

It often takes a shock, like a death or major crisis, to help us reclaim our awareness as adults. In my case, first I was softened up by a near-death experience; then, as my marriage fell apart, I really opened up. Things were so bad anyway, I wasn't afraid of visions, voices, or any of the other events that might have spooked me while I was still trying to pass as a normal young woman. If we're not going to wait for that tunnel of light or the moment when we face a divorce court, there's a great deal we can do, either to start ourselves off or to encourage the process already underway.

The simpler, the easier, the shorter the method, the better--otherwise we won't bother. You can customize this method as you prefer. But, remember, the simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to fall back on when you are at work, on a commuter train, or on hold with a phone call, and when you need to access your intuition right away. You don't need to light a candle and incense, adjust the lights, chant, or find your ritual dragon scarf.

The main thing is to figure out how you speak to yourself, how you and you communicate.

Here's the hardest part: You need to sit down and relax your body. Count down from 10 to 1, slowly. Then breathe easily for a minute.

Before you count down, think of something you want to know about: a current issue, something you're curious about. Don't pick anything with a huge emotional charge.

After you've counted down, just let yourself be. Wait. Sit. Know you'll pick something up. It could be an image, a word or two, the tune to a song, a feeling, a sense in your body. Something you simply know. Or something so small and fleeting that you're not sure you picked it up.

Let's say you are planning to move. You've found an apartment that seems almost perfect. You've done the obvious things, checked it out as best you could. Now it's time to use your intuition.

Sit down, relax, empty your mind as well and as gently as you can, and count down from 10 to 1. Ask yourself about the apartment. How would it be for you as a place to live? Wait. You will get something.

The question then becomes: what form will the messages come in, and how will you interpret them?

When I say, "Empty your mind," I don't mean dump out everything in the desk drawer and keep it that way. Instead, let thoughts come and go without hanging on to them. When an intuitive flash comes, it will feel different, perhaps even surprising. What does the apartment look like to you? How does it feel? Check it out from the outside with whatever methods you prefer.

Now, it's time to go inside. Picture or sense yourself in the apartment. How does it feel? What about the light? Is it glaring, clear, or gentle? Do you hear any sounds? Is it too warm or too cold? Do you smell anything odd or pleasing? Now just sit in it for a moment or two. Be quiet. Wait. What else did you get? Don't rush the process. The main thing is to notice everything you get without judging it. For the moment, put aside your critical mind. You are gathering information, not conducting a scientific study. The more open you are, the more you will pick up. When you feel you've picked up everything that's trying to get your attention, it's time to stop. Write down what came to you. Now you're going to evaluate it. Once you've tried this out and considered what you got, you can see how your impressions correspond with so-called reality. Was it helpful? Try to be as open-minded as possible. What you're interested in is the way your data corresponded with what turned up, or didn't. Back in the workshop, the participants have made new discoveries. The older man realized, by paying attention to the uneasiness in his body, that he'd been putting off an important decision. His stomachache is much better, too. The tattooed kid found that he didn't need to wait passively to hear a voice; he could ask a question and get an answer. "I think that's my guide talking to me," he said happily. "I got some awesome spiritual advice." A few people discovered something that pleased me most: they recognized subtle movements somewhere in their "bodymind" as messages they had never before picked up. One woman said, "I felt a tingling in my hand, and it got stronger as I noticed it. So I thought, what does my hand want to do, and it wanted to write. So I let it--and it wrote two lines. I don't want to say what, but it was just what I needed to hear. And I can do it again!" Maria discovered, "I don't need to see. What I did was, I was just quiet, and I heard the beginning of this song--an old Johnny Cash standard, 'I'm so lonesome I could cry.' And I knew why I heard it! Ever since I broke up with my boyfriend, I've been sorry. But my mother didn't like him." She tossed her head, setting her gold hoops swaying. "I don't care, now I know he's the right one for me. I'm sorry to leave the workshop early--it's been wonderful--but I have to go call him!" Not everyone has a first experience like Maria's. She not only got a message, she was able to understand it in terms of her life and even act on it spontaneously. Most of us are slower or more guarded. But we can all do this.

Tapping in to your intuition will make your life more interesting and enjoyable. It will fit into the edges of your life the way an extra pair of socks slides into the corners of your suitcase. You can do it any time you have five minutes. Not only that, it's fun.

You can do it while waiting for a phone call (forget multi-tasking) or a bus, in the shower, whenever you have a minute to tune into your own consciousness and beyond, into the source of information, however you choose to define it. It will keep you younger in spirit, more flexible, more compassionate, more curious about the whole world. It will guide you. It will enrich you. There is also a spiritual benefit to this kind of work. The Talmud says an unexamined dream is like an unread letter. The implication is that we are passing up an opportunity to learn something about our inner truth. If we do not listen to our intuitions, they, too, remain unread, unheard, unexamined.

To recap: you need to know the information is available; learn how to retrieve it; learn how to evaluate and translate it; learn to trust it, whatever that means for you in action--and to learn how to use it wisely. So why not sit down, relax, count down, and welcome the information that will come to you: it's that simple. And don't forget to say thank you.

Tuning in--to What?

In today's threatening atmosphere, it's important that we separate the collective-unconscious fears from our individual inner knowing. When you feel that danger is nearby, are you picking up a real problem that needs to be dealt with or only a ripple of unease from frightened people tuning in to and amplifying each other? Telling the difference takes a lot of practice.
It's like tone. You can tell the difference between a student first learning to play the cello and Yo-Yo Ma--even if you aren't a musician yourself. You may be able to tell the difference between an advanced student and Yo-Yo. If you keep paying attention, eventually you will be able to distinguish between Yo-Yo and another professional cellist, even if you can't quite say why. They just sound different. Admittedly, in the heat of the moment it may be much harder. Sometimes I feel a spike of fear so rapid, I can't tell where it's coming from. If I let this activate my old terror messages, the ones from earlier in life, I'll be lost in fear of earthquakes or guns. If I calm down and center, however, I'll be able to notice the tone of that cello--that fear--even if it's an after-tone, a slo-mo replay. If there really is an earthquake or a gun, I'll be ready; if there isn't, I'll feel that, too.

If you can't relate to the cello example, think of something you are an expert about. Is a sip of red wine corky or delicious? Is a bite of croissant flaky or stale? Is an image distorted or clear? Do words make sense or seem confusing? Whatever your method, you can discriminate between "true" and "false." In this way you can learn to tell the difference between your old tapes, the static emitting from the collective unconscious, and the crystalline voice of your inner knowing. All you need to do is pay attention--and be ready to give up your old habits, to stop identifying with mass attitudes and automatic assumptions. You'll feel lighter, clearer, and freer as you do.
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