Trusting Your Gut

The following blog post was written by Simple Habit teacher Kelly Boys and covers advanced topics of intuition, meditative inquiry, and alignment. You can listen to Kelly’s meditations on Simple Habit here and read more in her new book The Blind Spot Effect

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Trusting your gut isn’t easy. Especially when what it might be saying flies in the face of convention, or doesn’t quite line up with the image you have of yourself. It’s also challenging to trust your gut because you don’t always know whether a gut intuition is coming from clarity or from fear. When there isn’t a logical reason you can find for what you feel to be true, it’s easy to stop listening to your gut instinct or push it away in favor of someone else’s opinion.

Yet, gut intuition is powerful and can be an accurate, legitimate source of guidance for your life. Gerd Gigerenzer, a social psychologist at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, has said that 50% of CEO’s decisions come from their gut intuition and yet they hire consultants to try to explain their decisions in hindsight so they can appear rational.

50% of CEO’s decisions come from their gut intuition and yet they hire consultants to try to explain their decisions in hindsight so they can appear rational.

Gigerenzer says we need to have “future-sight,” where we acknowledge uncertainty as a part of the decision-making process. I’d add that in present-sight when our seeing is clear and our intuition is activated, we are open to everything without clinging to certainty or trying to eliminate uncertainty. There’s a middle ground which includes reason, but also makes space for intuition and the felt sense of knowing that we all have access to in our experience.

Gut intuition is powerful and can be an accurate, legitimate source of guidance for your life.

Slowing down long enough to actually listen to the wealth of information our bodies give us as signals (emotions, sensations, subtle feelings) is key if you want learn to trust your gut. When you do that, you start to distinguish a fear (e.g. “I could never take that step”) from an intuition (e.g.“This step just feels right”). Or perhaps the intuition is that the step you want to take isn’t actually for you to take. You can’t know, however, unless you listen.

Once you slow down and listen using meditative inquiry to what you know and sense to be true and real for you, it’s equally important to then acknowledge it and try to find the best action to take, given the scenario. That action may be to take no action at all, but regardless, when you align with taking it that action, there is a sense of ease and clarity.

When you operate from fixed ideas and “shoulds,” you limit yourself and decisions can be filled with tension and confusion. But when you operate from a place of center and alignment with what you most deeply know, your actions can have better accuracy and most importantly, cause less stress in your life. Even if it’s a tough decision, if you’re clear that it’s right, it’s much easier to make!

All of this, of course, is an experiment. There’s no bullseye ‘right’ answer with problems that are complex and rapidly shifting. But, there are better and worse ways to engage your navigation of life. One of the better ones is to learn to trust your gut.

Join me in the Trust Your Gut series on Simple Habit to work with developing access to your inner knowing and inner compass.

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