How (and why) to tap into your intuition

If you feel like you’re missing out on something in life, follow your inner white rabbit and see where in Wonderland you go
By Suzan Colón  Published on 08/23/2018 at 12:20 PM EDT
Illustration by Suzan Colón

If you’ve ever wondered what your intuition looks like, picture a white rabbit.

The first time we get a visual fix on intuition is in Alice in Wonderland, book or Disney version. In the classic story, Alice impulsively follows a well-dressed hare with a chronic lateness issue. Alice has no idea where she’s going, or what’s going to happen to her, when she follows this white rabbit; she only knows it’s something she has to do. Results: amazing adventures and a more defined sense of self-awareness.

The same thing happens in The Matrix, when Neo gets a message to follow a bunny. Result: enlightenment. Okay, this time things got a lot more violent. But don’t worry, we’re going to trust that you have safe judgment if you choose to act on a message from your gut.

Following the white rabbit is the way I think of listening to my creative intuition. There are other kinds of intuition, like the kind that warns us about danger, or the kind that tells us that someone we were “meh” about at first is actually The One.

But creative intuition is, unfortunately, the kind we’re likely to ignore the most. It can feel illogical, even self-indulgent. After all, we’re busy! We’ve got things to do! We don’t have time for [fill in something your inner bunny would be so, so happy doing.]

A big component of Yoga—the spiritual path, as well as the physical practice—focuses on connecting to your intuition. We’re encouraged to meditate, which helps us get in touch with and manage our true feelings, and to be aware of where we are today physically as well as mentally. Most of our culture is about looking outward and trying to be other than we are; Yoga’s paths all lead inward. Not in a self-obsessed way, but in a trusting, you-are-everything-you-need way.

A big component of Yoga—the spiritual path, as well as the physical practice—focuses on connecting to your intuition.

If we go there, we can go against so-called conventional wisdom (which is frequently unwise) and discover hidden talents and ideas. We “accidentally” find things we’re good at and fall in love with pursuits that don’t have any logical place in our lives. We get happy.

Creative intuition is the rabbit that tries to get you to chase it into an art supply store, or a writing class, to book a trip somewhere, to go on a yoga retreat alone.

Why is all this rabbit following so important? What’s the big deal about intuition? It’s about another thing Yoga tells us: Life is short, and it’s not all supposed to be just slogging to work, paying bills, and then death. Celebrating your blessed existence and experiencing joy, and bringing joy to others, is living. Yes, do your job, pay your bills, deal with all the responsibilities—AND listen to the intuition that whispers to your heart.

So how do you have a fun run with your inner bun-bun? The steps are simple, but not always easy. You just have to be diligent about them. Each time you do them, your connection with your intuition gets stronger.

  1. Unplug. Tuning in to your intuition means turning off your phone, or, if you’re using your phone as a timer, silencing the ringer and all notifications for ten minutes.
  2. Do Deergha Swasam, Yoga’s Three-Part Breathing exercise for a few minutes. Then let your breathing settle back to its natural pattern. 
  3. Don’t try to not think. Meditation doesn’t mean making your mind a blank slate, or getting frustrated when it refuses to cooperate. Instead, let your mind take you where it wants to go. You may have to-do list thoughts, but if you don’t get too involved with them, they’ll fade away. Then other thoughts may swim up from your non-logical brain, the more creative areas. Thoughts about things you used to do that you enjoyed, things you like to do that get put off.

White rabbit alert. Follow those thoughts. You’ve made the space for some free thinking; run with it.

At first, maybe not much comes up. You may feel silly doing this, or the to-do list will rage on. Let it. Do this simple free-thinking meditation for at least a week. Before that time is up, you’ll likely have had some contact with your rabbit. And your creative, free-thinking, intuitive mind may have decided it’s not white, but sporting some wild colors instead.

Intuition can lead you to places that at first don’t make sense, but later, have profound results. Follow your intuitive rabbit and see where in Wonderland you go.

Suzan Colón is the author of Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical, 30 Days to Enhance Your Practice and Revolutionize Your Life From the Inside Out.

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