I am a psychiatrist with a passion for combining spirituality and intuition with mainstream medicine, business, and the everyday world. Intuition—available to everyone—is a still, small voice that looks out for our well-being. It can help us discern the character and integrity of our relationships, not just on the personal level but also in our work, revealing the true spirit with which businesses, large or small, operate. To gain the advantages intuition can offer, use these five steps. My hope is that they will increase your insight about co-workers and colleagues, and enhance the clarity of all your decisions.
Step 1: Notice your beliefs.
Your beliefs and those of the people around you set the stage for productivity and joy in the workplace. Positive attitudes stimulate accomplishments. Negative beliefs impede them. It’s important to rid yourself of counterproductive attitudes about work that you may not even know you have. For instance, are you motivated by what truly moves you, rather than simply by finances? Do you surround yourself with colleagues who work with the same commitment toward the well-being of humanity and the planet? An important indicator of character and integrity is if an individual or company embraces a service-oriented approach to the world, not one that is solely self-oriented.
Step 2: Be “in your body.”
Most businesspeople in the modern age are conditioned to live from their neck up, ignoring the rest of their body. This is foolhardy. Your body is a complex and sensitive sensor. Enjoy your intellect, but listen to the wisdom of your physical responses to people or projects as well: What does your gut say? Do you feel relaxed? Does your energy increase? Do you have a sense of breathing more easily? Do you have a feeling of comfort, even inspiration or love? Or does your gut sense “danger,” indicating that something just isn’t right? Do your stomach and shoulders tighten? Do you feel uncomfortable, edgy, and even want to physically move away? Pay attention. Factor your body’s response into the overall assessment of an individual, a business practice, or a corporate system.
Step 3: Feel your body’s subtle energy.
We are composed of flesh and blood, but also of subtle energy. People, even businesses as a whole, can give off positive or negative energy. What’s most important to me about people is their ability to love. It can’t be feigned. Love can be felt as a distinct energy. The kinder a person is, the more love he or she exudes. Colleagues may say all kinds of things about their intentions. If you want the real scoop, stand next to them: You’ll sense the truth. Positive energy feels warm, loving, expansive, inspiring, a feeling that you may notice localizes in your mid-chest. Negative energy feels cold, numbing, contracting, draining, even painful. Surround yourself with people and projects that feel good. Stay away from the people who deplete you.
Step 4: Ask for inner guidance.
Because our intellect is usually so loud, our intuitive voice often gets drowned out. It is essential that we learn to access the stillness within through meditation, contemplation, prayer, or connecting with nature. Spend a few minutes each day listening to this voice. If you have a business or personal question, ask, “Is this choice right for me?” Then stay quiet—no effort is required—and wait. Your answer may appear as a gut feeling, a hunch, an image, a sound, a memory, or an instant flash of knowing, as if a light bulb suddenly switched on. Trust the signals that your inner wisdom sends.
Step 5: Listen to your dreams.
Intuition is the language of dreams. They can provide answers about the integrity of relationships, career choices, and business strategies. The secret is learning how to remember them. Keep a dream journal by your bed. Before you go to sleep, ask yourself a question. For instance, “Does this project make sense for me?” The next morning, write down any dreams immediately, before getting out of bed. Try repeating the question every night for a week until answers come. As you develop the habit of remembering your dreams, you’ll be able to benefit from this form of intuition.
As a physician, I am in awe of our enormous intuitive capacity. As your intuition expands, it will show you how to be more discriminating and compassionate. It will teach you how to see and love, instill in you the clarity and faith to make true-to-yourself decisions, and restore in you a renewed vigor to pursue your dreams.
This article, adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness (Times, 2000), appeared in The Inner Edge: A Resource for Enlightened Business Practice (June-July 2000). Subscriptions: $49 (6 issues) from Box 681, Holmes, PA 19043.