Connecting to your spiritual intuition each morning is the most powerful action you can take to maximize your happiness, your effectiveness, and your growth. For HSPs, a spirit-led life is the key to peace and joy.
How do you answer the question, “What shall I do today?” While I’ve always been a list maker, spiritually intentional list-making is a relatively recent addition to my morning routine. I still list my plan of action for the day, but with a major difference: instead of asking, “What do I have to do today?” I ask, “What am I inspired to do today?”
To put it another way, I used to ask my mind what I should do. Now, I ask my spiritual intuition. Two different approaches…two utterly different worlds. In my view, no choice is more important for a highly sensitive person. When we find a way to live a spirit-led life, we find both our peace and our power.
Spiritual intuition is such a powerful force that if you asked me what single thing you could do each day that would contribute most to your happiness and effectiveness in life, I’d say, “Connect to your spiritual intuition each morning and ask for your inspired actions for the day.”
As I put it on the “How I work” page of my website,
If you are built sensitive, you know what I mean by “spiritual intuition”, even if you call it by another name: I’ve never met a sensitive person who hasn’t experienced this deep sense of inner guidance or inner knowing at least once in their life. This knowing feels so grounded and secure that to be disconnected from it is nothing short of devastating. You feel like a pilot flying blind, navigating foggy weather without instruments.
If you struggle with anxiety, as I did for many years, you may think the anxiety is caused by current conditions: your relationship, your job, your health. No doubt, these conditions stimulate anxiety. But the root cause of anxiety is disconnection from your spiritual intuition. No wonder you are anxious then: you are flying blind.
Spiritual intuition can be subtle
Listening to your inner knowing takes practice and intention. Have you ever heard the sound of a star as it is heard by a radio telescope? Stars emit a range of sound waves, from very low to very high. To hear a particular star, you have to tune in to the frequencies it is emitting.
Spiritual intuition can be similarly subtle, especially if you haven’t even known to listen for it. You have to lean in to hear it. Or it can feel like a child tugging at your sleeve. You may be busy and distracted with other things, yet you are vaguely aware that something the background is persistently trying to get your attention.
What can you do to hear this quiet inner voice more clearly? For one thing, you can fine-tune the radio telescope of your mind, using whatever meditation practice works for you. I’ve found that if I want to lead a spirit-led life, a regular mind-quieting and spiritually connecting practice is the non-negotiable foundation of my daily self-care.
You can also use your breath to calm your mind. Your mind listens extremely closely to your breath. Think of how quickly you react if, for example, you begin to choke. This reaction works the other way too. That is, by calming the breath, you can rapidly and dramatically calm the mind. (At the end of this article I’ve included a recommendation for a very good breathing program called Breath-Body-Mind™: they have an introductory workshop coming up.)
Strengthening your spiritual intuition requires trust
Meditation and breathing practices will help you hear your spiritual intuition more easily. However, if you want to deepen your trust in your spiritual intuition, you need to act on it. The more you act on it, the more you’ll see you really can trust it. But this can be tricky, if your brain thinks one thing and your knowing tells you another.
For example, I’ve never had a problem acting on my inner knowing when it tells me to finish an article or pay bills or work on my QuickBooks project. My mind always agrees that “work is good.” Only recently, though, have I dared to trust my spiritual intuition when it tells me to rest, because this goes against my conditioning.
This happened earlier this week. I woke with the alarm at 6 AM, feeling unusually tired. After I did my morning breathing and meditation and asked for my inspired actions for the day, the first thing I heard was, “Go back to bed!” For once, I did.
To my amazement, I slept for four hours. I woke up feeling a new person. I found myself smiling as I read the email a client had sent while I was asleep, in which she wished me “a peaceful and fulfilling day.” I replied,
It’s funny that you kindly wished me a peaceful and fulfilling day, as I chose to go back to sleep for four hours: I just got up again for the second time! I do feel truly peaceful and fulfilled, contrary to the perennial expectations of the “something in me” that counts only material productivity as fulfilling. Not that it can’t be, of course! But as an HSP I’ve had to learn the lesson again and again that sometimes the most important thing to do is to “not do.”
Sometimes the guidance I get is so surprising that I have to remind myself that my spiritual intuition never plays games with me. One day last week my divine download included instructions to bake German pfeffernüβe cookies. After a moment of disbelief, I made time during my lunch hour to mix the dough so it could chill, and baked the cookies that evening.
What was that about? I have no idea. Fortunately, I don’t need to know. My energy was happy and light all week, which seems to happen a lot more often when I trust my spiritual intuition.
Spiritual intuition feels like a Zen archer
Like many HSPs, I have a mind that generates ideas like a pasta factory produces spaghetti. Then it drags me down rabbit holes or off on wild goose chases. I end up feeling scattered, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Elaine Aron comments on this phenomenon in The Highly Sensitive Person, remarking that if you go into business for yourself, the sheer abundance of your creativity may hamper you by causing “a certain lack of focus:”
If your creativity and intuition give you a million ideas, at some point, early, you will have to let most of them go, and you will have to make all kinds of difficult decisions.
However, you don’t have to be a solo entrepreneur to suffer from idea overwhelm. I experience it in every area of life. I’m always in the middle of ten books at once, with multiple projects on the go, articles I want to read, movies and documentaries and programs I want to watch, new self-care practices I’m messing around with, and half-knitted hats on the couch.
Does this sound familiar to you? Our countless choices create an ongoing challenge. There are countless things you could do. How do you decide what you will do? For me, asking my spiritual intuition each day for a few inspired actions has turned out to be by far the most satisfying, growth-producing, trust-building, anxiety-reducing method I’ve ever found.
When I put my spiritual intuition in the driver’s seat, though, it cuts through my cloud of ideas like an arrow flying to a target, honing in on what truly needs to happen today. Thus my inner knowing serves as a direct antidote to my tendency to go in ten different directions. It’s an indescribable relief to hand this task over to Spirit.
A final caution about asking for inspired actions
Once you’ve learned to listen for your spiritual intuition and have begun to trust it, you enter a positive spiral of action and feedback. You listen. You act. Then you notice that as a result of your spirit-led action, you feel better. To keep this feedback process clear, I suggest you limit yourself to just a few inspired actions each day. Five is my maximum. And writing them down is key so you remember to notice what happened.
However, even when you’ve identified your inspired actions for the day and written them down, a final pitfall lies ahead. It’s called life. Life is complex and unpredictable. There are so many distractions beckoning, from humdrum ones to delightful ones to hair-raising ones.
Perhaps that’s why, as I mentioned earlier, I nearly always get an inner reaction when my spiritual intuition tells me to go rest. I’ll hear myself saying, “OK, I’ll rest! But first, let me just________”
“Let me just….” I’ve learned the hard way that these are the three most dangerous words in my vocabulary. “Let me just check my email one last time first.” “Let me just finish this article.” I just do this, and I just do that. Before I know it, my rest time is gone and I’m out of sorts. I’ve sold myself down the river.
To counteract these ever-present distractions and to make sure you get to your inspired actions (or at least some of them), you must be single minded. Identify your discretionary time during the day. Start with one inspired action. See it through before you move on to the next. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked.
If some delectably trivial task is tempting you, use it as a carrot: make it your reward for finishing an inspired action. The more you ask for, listen to, and act on your spiritual intuition, though, the more you’ll notice that completing an inspired task is its own reward.
Surprisingly, this deep sense of satisfaction arises whether the task itself seems tiny (“Call Susan”) or momentous (“Email my boss giving two weeks’ notice.”) Your mind will want to evaluate the relative importance of your inspired actions. That’s fine, as long as you keep trusting what you hear. When you make a habit of connecting to your spiritual intuition, each step you take will move you towards more peace, more integrity, and more joy.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Breath-Body-Mind™ workshop coming up
I mentioned above that I now do breathwork in the morning before meditating. It regulates my nervous system and quiets my mind so I can better hear my spiritual intuition. For the past few months, I’ve been practicing the Breath-Body-Mind breathing and movement practices I learned at a three-day introductory workshop last October. I found the work so powerful that I went on to complete their Level 1 teacher certification in December.
The more I’ve practiced and shared the Breath-Body-Mind work, the more I believe the practices are an ideal fit for HSPs. So I wanted to let you know about the next upcoming introductory workshop in case you want to explore it for yourself. (Note: As always, I’m offering this recommendation because I use and value the practices; I will not receive any commissions or benefits if you choose to attend.)
The next three-day introductory Breath-Body-Mind workshop will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday February 24, 25, and 26, 2021, from 9 AM to 1 PM EST on Zoom. The workshop is 100% participatory: you are actively engaged with movement, breath, or sharing for all twelve hours, so you do need to attend “in person.”
What the workshop was like
The presenters, psychiatrists Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg, teach a select few practices from traditions from around the world, including yoga, Qi Gong, and tai chi. Each practice, including the core breathing practice, “Coherent Breathing,” is evidence-based and was carefully chosen for its safety and effectiveness at regulating your nervous system. The practices create an optimal balance of calm and alertness and bring a long list of mental and physical benefits.
Dr. Brown and Dr. Gerbarg model a high level of integrity and create a safe and inclusive space with an atmosphere of intimate curiosity, trust, and discovery, and advanced Breath-Body-Mind teachers are on hand to offer 1:1 support and instruction during the workshop for anyone who needs it. These advanced teachers also lead weekly ongoing practice groups to support you with follow-up.
For me, the overall effect was like attending a meditation retreat, where you come out feeling incredibly calm and centered. Even better, I found that with daily practice I could recreate this effect on my own, after the workshop ended. Some people had deep emotions come up. Others experienced profound fatigue. Breathwork reveals the true state of your body, providing immediate insight into the self-care you need in a given moment.
Cost details and options
The workshop costs $400 and there may be some scholarship aid available if you have financial need. I felt the cost was eminently worth what I gained—a powerful daily practice I can use for the rest of my life. The three-day immersion is a big help in establishing that practice. If you are interested but can’t attend the workshop for whatever reason, you can make a good start with Dr. Brown and Dr. Gerbarg’s book, The Healing Power of the Breath. I recommend the physical book because it includes a CD with many of the practices on it.
I will be assisting at the workshop, so please let me know if you decide to attend. In addition, as some of you already know I’m now qualified to share the practices with 1:1 clients. I’m delighted to be able to offer these self-regulating practices as a powerful complement to the inner relationship work of Inner Bonding and Focusing.
Image 2020 Duke Duchscherer. Thank you Duke!