Let Your Body’s Innate Intelligence Lead You
by Linda Sechrist
What if you could consistently tap into answers to life’s problems when you need them, knowing deep down that you are on the right track and that the decisions and choices you are making are the correct ones?
Our body is a wellspring of priceless wisdom, yet heeding our innate voice seems constantly tested, as society distracts us with the busy acquisition of external knowledge and rewards more visible work. Those used to focusing outwardly over-stimulate their five senses and so tend to disconnect from their body’s deep innate intelligence; our sixth sense, also known as intuition.
The resulting joylessness, discontent, isolation, depression and illness have sent millions in search of a real solution that discerning experts believe already exists within. Our ultimate guide to the fountain of personal health and happiness, they believe, could well be our own intuition.
For years,Katie Teague, producer of the documentary film, Money & Life, lived with the consequence of sublimating her intuitive impulse. “I felt a restless itch in my soul,” relates Teague, who intuited that life was prompting her to change careers so she could use her talents in a more meaningful way. The vision of her 94-year-old self lying on her deathbed and faced with the question, “What are you not saying yes to?” pushed Teague to take a leap of faith, close her psychotherapy practice and enroll in a filmmaking class.
Teague recognizes that a deeper wisdom activated her response. She observes, “The individuals I was counseling about their restless desire for something better mirrored my own discontent, and my restlessness was an emotional response to what was emerging.
“Today I no longer concern myself with making the right decision. I trust that whatever the circumstances are, I need to listen, observe and reflect, because ‘now’ contains information for my next step,” she advises.
Amanda Owen, author of Born to Receive: 7 Powerful Steps Women Can Take Today to Reclaim Their Half of the Universe, has studied the state of receptivity that Teague references. Also a longtime mental health professional, Owen explains, “Receiving is a dynamic and productive state. When the body is relaxed and the mind and nervous system are calm, we become receptors, so that we can feel and intuit subtle information contained in the energy received from external and internal environments.”
We learn that our parasympathetic nervous system works when we’re in such a listening state. In contrast, rushing through the day engages our counterintuitive, “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system. “Mind chatter, which drowns out subtle intuition, has been mistaken by our culture for higher intelligence,” Owen notes.
An intuitive energy therapist, Marilyn Eppolite strongly relies on intuitive guidance in her southern New Jersey practice, believing it emanates from her body’s intelligence. “I listen and it’s always present,” she says. Eppolite shares an example of a time she received a clear image and perceived the bodily sensations of a grieving small child from a female client that a psychotherapist had referred. “When I described what I was sensing, her tears flowed and she also connected to the feeling,” she says. “It proved the needed breakthrough she needed to access her feelings and move forward in therapy.”
Eppolite is keenly aware when roadblocks—busyness, willfulness and a fearful, restless mind—create interference. “These feed each other and can rarely be separated. I can’t hear or feel my intuition when my energy and attention are willfully directed outward,” she observes.
Abandoning the drive for personal control and surrendering to stillness is how Eppolite signals her body intelligence that she’s ready for whispers of guidance. “I sense that surrender as strength and trust that the information received is for my greatest good, even if I don’t fully understand it,” she remarks. “Discernment is necessary because deep wisdom frequently comes in segments that I must piece together and put into action before more of it bubbles up from within.”
“Individuals that learn to live in their body instead of in their mind chatter report more peace of mind, inner harmony and a more meaningful life.”
~ Sue Morter
The teachings of Yogeshwari Kamini Desai, Ph.D., combine Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. As the director of education and lead teacher of the Amrit Method of Yoga, at his facility in Silver Springs, Florida, Desai instructs on listening to the voice of intuition identified as prana in yogic tradition, which he characterizes as “the energy that enlivens and carries out all balancing and life-giving processes in nature.
“It speaks through the body as sensations, impulses and urges,” he says. “This ‘inner divining rod’ informs us what feelings, thoughts and actions are moving us into alignment with our Source and what is moving us out of alignment.”
Quieting the mind and strengthening the directives of prana through meditation, yoga and being in nature moves us away from what we tell ourselves and back to directly responding to its promptings. “Absorbed in the present moment and bodily sensations, we connect with inner guidance,” explains Desai. “With practice, our mind becomes a servant to inner intelligence. It can both direct our lives and make us sensitive to early symptoms suggesting oncoming illness,” he adds.
“There is growing interest in energy medicine and developing a deeper connection to the body’s intelligence through yoga and energy practices like qigong and tai chi because people are tired of taking medications that don’t heal the root cause of health problems,” comments Dr. Sue Morter, founder of Morter Health Center, near Indianapolis, Indiana, and the healing phenomenon she terms Energy Codes. A regular practice of any one of these disciplines expands sensory function to also encompass internal recognition and referencing of subtle information.
Morter teaches how to awaken gut feelings, personal power and self-love to restore wholeness left behind in pursuit of external pursuits of happiness. “Participants learn to trust their gut more than the opinions of others, which turns up the volume on the whispers of intuition,” she explains.
Fearlessly following our intuition frees us to fully live an authentic and satisfying life.
After Pat Hall, a therapeutic bodyworker, read Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight, she was certain the habit of listening to mental chatter interfered with feeling and interpreting her body’s helpful promptings. “Jill’s experience of her body as energy and her mind as silent when the left lobe of her brain shut down due to a stroke was my ‘Aha!’ moment,” says Hall. For her, heeding inner guidance took practice and a commitment to dismantling reactive thought patterns and habits, plus discerning between intuition and distracting chatter.
“Mind chatter generally creates fear, negativity and pressure to do something,” she explains. “Intuitive guidance is gentle, expansive and undemanding.” Hall believes in the Buddhist concept that mindfulness of the body allows us to love fully. She finds, “It brings healing, wisdom and freedom.”
She relates how she is led to direct a client’s attention to their own body’s intuition, which works best when she is following her instincts, rather than thinking. “After one session, my client, who had been silently experiencing numerous feelings in her stomach, asked me why I had touched her abdomen. I was just intuitively led to that place on her body.”
Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz, Ph.D., a medical intuitive and co-author of All is Well, notes that everyone has a connection to intuition. “We get a gut feeling and sadness in our heart from our inner intelligence that we don’t know what to do with. While some individuals consult a practitioner, others listen to their body’s intuitive language and reflect on their insights and dreams—the language of soul,” says Schultz. “Intuition can speak softly through symptoms,” she observes. “Eventually, when disregarded, it can become a full-blown illness.”
Biochemist and author of Secrets of Our Cells: Discovering Your Body’s Inner Intelligence, Sondra Barrett, Ph.D., is awed by the body’s cellular intelligence. “Our cells are invisible, so we don’t think of ourselves as cellular beings. However, a deeper understanding of our constitution and that our cells speak to each other and collaborate harmoniously could inspire us to befriend our body’s intelligence for life,” she says. “We might shift from wanting to fix an ache or pain to understanding that our cells are warning us of something.”
Sonia Choquette, a global consultant who recommends we rely on our sixth sense as our first sense, has authored several books on intuition. She finds, “With intuition, we have a personal compass and an ally in discerning what is authentic and true for us so that we won’t be tugged and pulled in different directions when we make decisions.”
Laurie McCammon, co-author of Enough: The Rise of the Feminine and the Birth of the New Story, was relaxing and reflecting with two friends when intuition graced her with a message of information-laden energy: “I am enough. We are enough. I have enough. We have enough. Enough!” The experience inspired them to collaborate on an e-book celebrating the grassroots groundswell toward a major shift in the world. “I believe intuition is an aspect of The Grand Plan, which always moves us toward greater expansion, inclusion and an ever more mature and loving response to life,” says McCammon.
Ute Arnold, founder, director and teacher of Unergi School of Body-Psychotherapy, in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania, describes several physical signatures of body intelligence that can foster improved self-care. “You feel more expansive, available and receptive—with a sense of a longer spine, a wider and deeper body and feet rooted in the Earth’s powerful energy,” explainsthe author of Touchback: A Self-Healing Journey with Body, Art and Nature. “Expanded into a condition of soft relaxation, your mind stops talking; you enter a mind-body state of energetic receptive listening, where emotional intelligence is accessible.
“These feelings and sensations are indicative of wholeness. From it, we have access to the eternal place of the fully healed soul, which whispers intuitively, nudging us toward what can heal our life, body and mind.”
Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Visit ItsAllAboutWe.com for the recorded interviews.
Spend time with your feelings: Write down how you feel about your job, relationships, house, health and what is going on in the world.
Build and strengthen feeling receptors: Choose one feeling and spend the day with it. Notice every time you see that feeling expressed in yourself or someone else. Do not judge it or form an opinion about it; just notice.
Receive Everything: Pay attention to what you are feeling. Do not worry about what you will do with what you feel or your thoughts about those feelings. Just receive them. You can decide later what you want to do with them.
Maintain a flexible “thermostat”: When you want to freak out or shut down, check in with your feelings instead. Be present, engaged and genuine. The feeling and associated intuition need your attention and the present is the time to attend to them.
Source: Adapted from Born to Receive, by Amanda Owen