How to use your intuition in daily life

Editor’s note: This is part six of a seven-part series on developing your intuition.

It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It’s my partner.

When I worked on the polio vaccine, I had a theory. I guided each [experiment] by imagining myself in the phenomenon in which I was interested. The intuitive realm…the realm of the imagination guides my thinking.

Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.

Jonas Salk

Intuition is my most valued business tool.

Lewis Platt, former CEO of Hewlett Packard

Learning to use your Intuition is like learning a new language. Once you are fully conversant in the new language, you no longer need to think about what you are going to say; it just comes flowing out of you.

So, too, intuition can become second nature. Instead of thinking in a left-brain, analytical mode all the time, you can learn to “think” in a right-brain way, too. Instead of experiencing “analysis paralysis,” you can experience great success and fulfillment through inspired creativity.

Intuition uses a “language” made up of pictures and feelings. Over time, you can create your own easy-to-use “language.” For example, if you want to get a read on someone or some situation, try visualizing them as a car, a book, or an animal. See what kind of car, book, animal, etc. comes to mind and then trust that the “feeling” or image you get is an accurate read of the person or situation.

In time you will learn to trust your impressions and use them to easily, accurately, and quickly “read” a person or situation with this simple, yet very powerful tool.

For example, if I imagine someone as a car and then “see” them as a bright, sporty, red Lamborghini, I’m initially sensing that this person is a major extrovert who is always on the go. But then as I dig deeper and enter the car, I might see that the interior is strewn with garbage and tons of books and papers. That would tell me that this person’s internal life is a mess. So, within just a few seconds of tuning in I have a lot of information about this person. If I chose to look more closely at other aspects of the car, the engine, the trunk, etc., all this would reveal even more to me about the person.

This may sound too simplistic, but I can assure you that after having done hundreds, if not a thousand readings in my life, this technique can reveal a lot about a person.

Please see my next post for further suggestions on how to use your intuition in your daily life.


The other day, I half-jokingly posted on Facebook that I had searched Google to see if there’s a place named Aweville and, finding none, was inviting others to create a new town by that name with me.

I actually got a few responses, including one from someone who said he has the land to create it. While I am clear about what Aweville would look and feel like, I didn’t pursue the possibility. I was thinking to myself that it had only been a whimsical post connected to childlike imaginings. But was it? And how else do dreams take shape if not by starting with such things as stargazing and thinking, “What if?”

To that end, I’m going to draw back the curtain on the field of imagination to describe my version of Aweville, in the hope that others will add their own versions of a place that would inspire daily reverence and awe. It’s time to activate these possibilities as we awaken to the newness of our evolving consciousness.

Here are the key elements of my Aweville:

  1. Healthy, multi-generational interdependence with cross-generational tutoring for life-long learning.
  2. Energy efficient, eco-material housing that is sufficient to live comfortably without the need for excess accumulation.
  3. Community gardens both for food and beauty.
  4. Highly creative, playful population.
  5. Access to larger nature and/or designed with an abundance of natural features, such as parks, solar-sewage walls (greenhouses) for processing waste, aquaculture, atriums, “charging stations” for sun-gazing and Earthing, building designs that blend with and mirror the landscape, multi-use paths.
  6. Beautification through murals, artisan walkways, benches, sculpture, music, theater.
  7. Free energy that doesn’t require grid systems like high-tension power lines.
  8. Mixed-use offerings, such as what would typically be found in small Old World villages.
  9. A plaza where people could gather to socialize and celebrate at no cost. It could even be partially covered for weather.
  10. An attunement with one another that allows for transparency and telepathy because there is safety in being authentic. Along with that, an ability to self-correct when a conflict occurs, through compassion and reminding each other of who we really are.
  11. Lots of laughter and healthy hugs.
  12. An advertising-free skyline.
  13. And so much more . . .

This is a stream-of-consciousness list, not necessarily in any ranked order. It is also not exhaustive and will morph to reflect the personality of the population over time.

With this type of beginner’s, artist’s mind, spaces that are currently lifeless, such as abandoned malls or environmentally damaged areas, could become a canvas for overlaying the features I’ve listed above. Certainly there are visionary, life-affirming developers who could see the value of composting what is draining energy, to create new possibilities that emphasis environmental, social and economic thriving.

Let’s start speaking about Aweville and trust the hand of life to open to possibilities that are waiting to be expressed as the New Earth. I have a lightly packed bag and I’m ready to pioneer a new frontier. How about you?

Image by Poison_Ivy from Pixabay

A story: What we are

I was taught to look outside of myself for God, Divinity, for any sense of supreme power. It has taken a lifetime to come home and find that Divinity within.

As a child growing up in a home with two parents who argued, fought, cried (my mother) and slammed tables and slammed doors (my father), life didn’t appear to have any meaning. That apparent absence of meaning scared me. I fantasized about a world where things either came together in a coherent way or I was invincible, powerful—in control.

My brother and I were taken to Sunday School, where we were told Old Testament stories that, to my mind, reinforced the appearance of an insane and violent world. By the time I was 4 years old I began asking questions: “Why would God want to kill the first-born son in every family? What had those babies done wrong?” I was a son and the idea that there was such an angry, vindictive, and arbitrary force was the stuff of nightmares.

Sadly, I never met a minister or any adult who could offer anything better than a sop: “We cannot understand God,” “God moves in mysterious ways,” or the all-encompassing, “Have faith.” So I abandoned God and to a large extent I gave up on adults as a source of reason. At least, I gave up on their words; I found their actions much more informative.

I’m very grateful to my parents. Despite the on-off emotional chaos in our home they each showed me what they believed-in through their lived actions.

My father lived from a place of faith that I didn’t really recognize until I was in my mid-teens. That faith meant he trusted that what he needed and what our family needed would be there when we needed it. He demonstrated, too, that LIFE gives us what we need when we meet life with a willingness to do our part: show up and get engaged.

I was going to have to go into life and experience all my own chaos and my own violent responses to fear, and I’m not sure I would have made it through without the benefit of my parents’ demonstrations of a deep faith in the goodness of life. A goodness that was expressed in kindness to neighbours and to strangers; expressed through sharing when there was little to share.

In my own journey the anger and fear from my childhood set me on a self-destructive trajectory starting at age 12 and ending with a crash and a whimper at age 34. In those 22 intervening years I put tremendous energy into not believing in a supreme intelligence and into fighting against my own deep devotional inclination. This was a fight with God, and so it was a fight with the essence of what I am. It’s not a path I would recommend.

When I quit drinking alcohol in 1983 and began looking for a way to believe in something greater than myself, I had a transformative experience. While walking on a local beach, I suddenly fully heard the ocean’s waves as they washed up on the shore and felt the wind on my face, in my hair and tugging at my body. I heard a gull cry. I was engulfed in the wholeness of that place and that moment. I KNEW for the first time that I, this separate feeling self, did not create, could not create, any of this. And, in my spirit, I stopped fighting.

That moment marks the beginning of my conscious search for a living connection with Spirit/God/Life.

In the years since, I have engaged in workshops and trainings and meditation, all aimed at bringing me to a place where I could know who and what I truly am. At times I have wanted to give up in frustration, believing myself too weak, too lazy, lacking in commitment, and perhaps even inherently bad. Thankfully, the yearning to KNOW has never let me quit.

I believed that one of my great strengths was that I knew how to work hard. When I quit my first job out of high school they had to hire two people to do what I had been doing. Like all strengths, this turned out to be, if not a weakness, a handicap. I worked similarly hard at waking up, and that approach succeeded only to the extent that it exhausted me and brought me to the point where I stopped pushing and began to learn to relax.

In the past two years, I have eased out of searching and seeking and, little by little, relaxed into being. With this change in orientation, insights have begun to arrive. These insights aren’t anything I can claim to own; they present themselves to me like gifts, to be accepted or not.

This brings me to what I am and what we are. I am not any story I may tell about my self, nor are you reducible to any story you may tell about your self—no matter how enthralling or beautiful or sad.

WE, each of us, and every particle of existence, in form and formless, are all expressions of the SOURCE. In our known world of form, none of it can be judged better or worse, good or bad, right or wrong. This source is infinite potential expressed exactly as it is. As I understand it at this point, I and everyone are God’s expression of the infinite, and any limitations I believe in are only concepts; they do not exist in reality and are not inherent to the truth. We each choose the limitations that allow us to stay within a certain zone of comfort, and we can choose differently.

I have had experiences where I have seen—really seen and entered into—Oneness. And seen that “I” is integral to Oneness and that there is a single “I” seeing through all eyes. My intuition is that every time I or you or any person fully awakens to the Truth of this Oneness, we set our self and every other self free. It may not be the absolute freedom of enlightenment, but there is a setting free, nonetheless. The seemingly single point of awakening is in fact the epicenter of a great ripple AND, for me, that is the most compelling motive for any “personal” awakening journey.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Even more ways to use your intuition to gather information

Editor’s note: This is part five of Yanni’s series on how to develop your intuition. You might want to go back and review the earlier posts.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Albert Einstein

So, as you are walking down the street and something or someone catches your attention, take notice! Pay attention. There are no coincidences. The Universe is talking to you all the time, reflecting back to you something you need to “see” or know about yourself or a situation or person. Read the “signs.” The Universe is a mirror. Everything speaks to you! Watch the language of life’s symbols. Every person, thing, and experience is mirroring some information back at you.

For example, not long ago my wife was contemplating a change in her job. She’d been offered a new position and was unclear whether it would be the best move for her. She decided to stop thinking about it and just trust that she would be guided. A short while later, while driving back on her regular commuting route, she saw a sign at a Real Estate office that just jumped out at her. It read: “It’s Time to Move Now!”  The sign had been up for ages, but that was the first time she’d noticed it. She knew right then that it was time to change. By the way, her new job is a million times better than the old one.

Here’s another suggestion about how to develop your intuition: When you are in a conversation with someone, really “feel into” every word they are saying rather than “think” about what they are saying. Also, become aware of the spaces and pauses between their words. Don’t get lost in your mindless chatter or theirs. This is the key. “Listen” more to their energy and less to the content of their words. There is usually more information in their silence or the “feeling” they are projecting than in their actual words. 

So, take a deep breath and just feel into what they are really saying. Really pay attention. Practice awareness and discernment. This technique helps you understand someone and be present for them. It’s also an excellent way to develop your intuitive faculties.

Slow down, take a long deep breath, ask for ease and grace to enter and take over, and allow for inspiration to lead the way.

…To be continued next week.

“We are the river of gold”

Don Paulson’s “River of Gold” arrived on a postcard a while back. Anne Stadler sent it to us from the IN & OUT installation at the Vashon Heritage Museum on Vashon Island near Seattle, so we could pass the message along. IN & OUT chronicles the LGBTQ community on Vashon. The installation’s co-producer, Stephan Silha, generously provided the clear image we’ve used here.

I’d never heard of Don Paulson, so I did a little sleuthing.

Don Paulson, 1933-2012, chronicled Seattle’s Gay culture, especially the drag scene, and coauthored an in-depth look at the drag culture in Seattle in the 1950’s and 60’s, “An Evening at the Garden of Allah: A Gay Cabaret in Seattle.” The text of the postcard appears in quotes with no attribution in an article he wrote years ago for Seattle Gay News. My best guess is he was quoting someone from the book.   

These are strange times for humankind and Earth. I get can as caught up as anyone in grief and dismay. But when I think about how much has changed in the 50 years since the Stonewall riots in San Francisco surfaced a gay rights movement that had been slowly building up behind the scenes, I remember that some things have absolutely gotten better. Hugely, ginormously, heart-openingly better.

Thanks to the Gay Rights movement and its transition to LGBTQ advocacy, straight and binary-minded people like me are beginning to understand how richly varied human genders and gender identities actually are. We’re being shown more colors for the palette, more flowers for the garden, more lights for the show. Fifty years are barely a heartbeat in human history. And think of what’s been accomplished in that time.

I’m not claiming LGBTQ rights are secure. There are still places, communities, cultures, religions, and whole countries where being gay or someone other than cisgender can mean death, abuse, or abandonment. But the past 50 years have proven that vast numbers of human beings can learn, change, adapt, deepen, and open.

Don Paulson may have been thinking specifically of the gay community when he wrote, “We are the river of gold.” I believe his message applies to all of us, now.

“Who would think that we would drink from the river of gold. That we, too, may dine in the light and sleep safely through the night. Who would think a lowly stream could sweeten a bitter sea. We have the right to win the fight for justice and liberty. We are the land. We are the free. We are the river of gold.” — Don Paulson

More exercises for using your intuition to gather information

Small is the number of those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts….Albert Einstein

For the last few weeks I have been sharing ways to develop your intuition, such as practicing anticipating events, connecting with objects and experiencing objects’ perspective, and sensing people’s inner states. This week we cover more ways to practice. You might want to go back and review the previous posts.

In time, as you keep working with your intuition, you’ll come to realize that everything is a “feeling.” Thus, in time, you’ll remember to always place your awareness into things to discover how they “feel” instead of mentally trying to figure things out from surface impressions and judgments.

So, to further refine your intuition why not approach how you understand things in the following way: How does this tree “feel?” How does this situation at work “feel?” How does this person “feel?” How does a crow “feel” as it flies? How does this business proposal “feel?” Is it safe, crooked, something else? So, how do things “feel?” 

Asking yourself how a situation, object, or person “feels” is the initial step in learning how to access your intuition. This is the basic training. Note that this system is not foolproof, for sometimes your perceptions get cluttered with your beliefs, projections, analysis, etc.. The more you use your intuitive faculties, the more accurate, honed, and sensitive they become.

So, how does the crow feel when it flies? Take a few minutes to close your eyes and become one with a crow and see what it has to tell you.

And how does this person you just met feel? Take a few minutes to close your eyes and sense what he or she has to tell you energetically.

Remember that for you to develop your intuition, you must exercise it! So, quiet your mind, open your heart, and take the time to feel.

“Open for Me slightly your heart and I will open the world for you.”
The Zohar

When you think with your mind, you seek answers to your questions. 
When you feel from your heart, the questions dissolve into answers.

…To be continued next week. This is part four of a seven-part series.

Back to wonder

I’ve spent the last few nights at a friend’s place while his housemate is away. I’m sleeping in a guest room filled with his housemate’s books—five bookcases, thirty-three shelves, filled with titles I’d have once found thrilling. It’s one of the best personal collections I’ve ever seen of books on energy work, consciousness, archetypes, stages of growth and maturation, esoteric and channeled teachings, psychology, mythology, mystery schools, healing, and the human brain. But today it all feels to me like ballast. 

I’m a book person with a thirsty mind. I grew up in a house full of books and became a bookworm as soon as I learned to read. After all these years, a house without books still feels more like a hotel suite to me than a home. So it’s not the presence of books, per se, that’s bothering me. Plus, being among books such as these used to be heaven to me. What has shifted? Maybe it’s simply that the room is small, the bookcases are made of dark and heavy wood, and the books aren’t mine to browse. But I sense something else at work here.

I’ve always loved ideas, analysis, speculation—wondering about what we are, how we work, how we evolve, or don’t. Plus, I’m a writer and editor; word skills are a key professional credential in my world. This collection, however, feels like a 60-pound backpack on a day hike, or too many blankets on a soft spring night. The sheer weight of so many ideas meant to uplift us, so many confident assertions and instructions and results of research into the ways and whys of being—the weight of so much evidence of our relentless drive to know. Once, I’d have wanted to devour nearly every book here. Now all I want is a bottle of water, a sun hat, and good shoes for the day hike, and when it’s time to sleep, one or two good blankets, not a mountain of them.

We don’t know the way things are. We barely know the way we are. Yet in book after book after book, we claim so much knowledge. Why?

I don’t ask that idly. I’ve lived by why. I’ve long been driven by curiosity. I’ve a mountain of “spiritual” books waiting for me back home, all books I love or may yet come to love. But do I still need them to show me what’s essential now and what has always mattered? 

In meditation, when my mind quiets enough to allow Presence to greet, enter, and fill me, it’s not more analysis, more speculation, more explanations that I’m offered. It’s more Love. It’s that simple. Love. Love that inspires me—to move, to acknowledge, to create something, to share.

I appreciate the irony that one of our best ways to share and inspire Love is through books. I’ve written one and I suspect I’ll write more. But the Presence that meets me is wordless. It’s an intimate sense of the life in everything. Sometimes I call it “the hum.” And it doesn’t speak. 

A few years ago I noticed that I was learning more from noticing than from studying. Take photosynthesis, for example. The mind-boggling miracle of photosynthesis that’s occurring in the leaves of the tree next to where I sat this morning isn’t explained in any of my books. They do describe the photosynthetic process—the chemical cycles and patterns involved. Those, we understand. But the wonder of it? No. And noticing that it’s miraculous, noticing what is, seeing the beauty in the patterns and textures and movements and cycles of this astonishing planet, is teaching me more than books right now. Moments of clarity bring me knowings that bypass my earnest mental efforts to understand.

I will always love books. But compared to such moments of knowing, books are like the second-hand garments of experience. They are to life what an archeologist’s thoughtful description of a flint knife’s possible use and origin is to the actual glint of light and blood on the knife’s razor edges, the sound it makes skinning a felled deer, the smells of the mineral blood and the waiting fire. Good poetry and vivid prose can bridge that gulf—they conjure the essence of the living moments they reflect on. So I’m all for writing. But the accumulation of so much expositional information and speculation about being spiritual and human seems more deadening to me right now than enlivening. Presence keeps calling me—analytical, knowledge-seeking me—back to Itself. Back to direct experience. Back to noticing. Back to wonder. 

Photo of plants by Ren Ran; featured photo of books by Darwin Vegher, both on Unsplash.