The Limits and Liabilities of Cultivating Your Intuition


The Limits and Liabilities of Cultivating Your Intuition


Tapping into your intuitive “sixth sense” isn’t always a foolproof process. Learn more about how to skillfully access your intuition while balancing it with realism.

We are living in an era when pagan religions and personal spirituality are having something of a revival. Organized religion is still very powerful, but many people have been turning away from an official hierarchical religious structure and exploring spirituality on their own terms.

For some of us, this means cultivating certain powers we didn’t know we had—listening to our bodies, intuiting other people’s emotions, hearing the voice of gods (or goddesses) through meditation or plant journeys, and sometimes even having access to our spirit guides or ancestors who have passed over to the other side. These experiences are powerful and fascinating—and a little confusing.

The Complexity of Cultivating Spiritual Power

As I’ve been cultivating my own intuitive abilities, I've been thinking a lot about how and when they are useful and how and when they are not. I’m aware that I want these powers to mean I can control what happens to me and protect myself from all harm. Intuition can help with that, definitely, but it’s not absolute. I’d love to have a magic wand, but as it turns out, I’m still beholden to the rules of the universe, whatever the heck they may be.

Having access to the unseen world is, essentially, a sixth sense. It gives us information about an aspect of the world we normally don’t pay attention to. For the record, I believe this is something anyone can do, and that it comes with practice and time. But what does it mean to have access to this part of life?

It’s not unlike our other senses. We can see what’s in front of us, but not beyond that. We can hear to a distance, but not farther than that. We can feel what we’re touching, but not what we aren’t. Our senses give us information about what’s right in front of us, but there’s still plenty we can’t fathom. Our sixth sense can give us a little more information, but not the whole picture.

Intuition vs. Imagination

There are two ways of thinking about intuition. The first is the way we subconsciously pick up on cues from our environment and the people around us that we’re not consciously aware of. This can give us the feeling that something is wrong or that someone is not trustworthy even though we couldn’t give you a reason why. This version of intuition is based on past experience, and evidence and doesn’t always provide accurate information about the present moment.

The more we slow down and listen to our bodies, the more easily we’ll be able to access this version of intuition, but we must remember that this is based on experience. If we’ve been hurt before, we’ll be more on alert for signs that someone might hurt us again, and it’s easy to misread the signs with a bias toward our expectations.

The second version of intuition is a little more mystical. Here we can tune into the spirit world, spirit guides, ancestors, and energies. When I’m working with my clients, I can sometimes “see” what’s going on in their bodies and their mood, or I can hear a voice speaking to them. This information always feels like imagination (except that it usually appears all of a sudden). Trust is a part of this practice; self-doubt only gets in the way.

But what’s the difference between our intuition and our actual imagination? It’s not foolproof. I ask my clients a lot of questions to see when I’m intuiting and when I’m projecting my own feelings and experiences. Even when I’m right, however, the information only goes so far. I can get a sense of what’s out of balance, what changes might be needed to bring that balance back, and what messages might be trying to come through from guides or ancestors. But it’s not a magic wand (as much as I wish it was). Not to mention, I’m way better at intuiting for other people than for myself.

In the end, the old adage remains true: As above, so below. Just as we have control over some things and not others in the seen world, the same is true for spirit and energy. I may be able to influence some things, but I am far from omnipotent. My connection to Spirit doesn’t protect me from hurt and disappointment. It doesn’t mean I understand everything. The seen world is much bigger than we have the capacity to understand, as is true for the unseen world. Wherever we have power, we also have limitations. We can work with our intuitive abilities to help us in certain situations, but we mustn’t forget to use our other senses, too, when we need them.

Learn how to strengthen your intuition through the lunar cycle.


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The Limits and Liabilities of Cultivating Your Intuition

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