For everyone else who is earlier in their practice of using their intuitions, please check out these posts:
Using Your Intuition
Confused Perceptions and Wrong Intuitions
But then you take the water-wings off, and you keep swimming. You swim past all (or at least lots of) social conditioning and old ingrained patterns that tried to tell you how to live and what to do, and now you are in the middle of this grand turbulent ocean. Quite frankly, you might be a little frightened--even though you've worked out a lot of fear already. It's okay. You've found your next lesson: learning to trust your intuition with no expectations of them ever being confirmed.
Extending the Tether for ValidationPart of the spiritual path is patience. As we learn patience, we start to see how intuitions work out over the long haul. So you didn't go out with this person that you were crazy attracted to. Time goes on while you still don't know why you didn't call this person many months ago. You just had an intuition to not do so. A year later, you find out that this person is linked to the Mafia and is being indited on federal embezzlement charges. You had no way of knowing this, and since you trusted your intuition, you potentially avoided a whole lot of trouble. Regardless of the fact that all situations offer us a chance to learn and grow, some of them we really don't want to experience in our lives. There are other paths that naturally feel more true. As such, your intuition--while it didn't make sense for a long time--eventually was validated. In this way, you have seen that your patience and trust in your intuition has been rewarded once again.
No More Treats and RewardsBut then, those treats and rewards start to disappear. Sure, you probably still get confirmations from time to time, but the part of you that needed that confirmation is also disappearing. They often go hand-in-hand. Since you are no longer looking for that reassurance, reassurance isn't seen as much. Naturally, the ego-self that needed the reassurance is also disappearing. As such, you don't need that little reward and confirmation that you are going down the right path. Or at least, you're breaking the habit.
Up until now. Because this is how it goes. It seems like you are free and clear, and then the next chain that is holding you back is felt. The next wall limiting your life appears, and suddenly you want some confirmation again. This may be when you run up against a really deeply ingrained social program. For instance, someone has died in your family. Everyone is going to the funeral. You even liked this person, but your intuition says not to go.
That's it, of course. There's no justification or reasoning. Justification and rational are the perview of the ego. The intuition simply feels like you shouldn't go. So what now?
Who Is Still Looking for Confirmation?By now, you are wise enough to know most of the ego's tricks. Or rather, you are wise enough now to know most of your tricks. In an interesting way, the further we go on this path, the less likely we are to say that it is my ego doing this or that to me. This is a created idea, and if it is not used well, it perpetuates an illusion of separation that is simply not real. That's the whole essence of what many spiritual teachers are talking about with the ego--it's not real. It's not separate from you either. It's your creation. It's like a hand. You can teach a hand to pick stuff up or break windows. So I often like to discuss the ego in terms of retraining so that it is a useful lens on life, helping you to interpret all the billions of inputs you receive throughout your everyday life.
But whenever there is fear or the seeking of confirmation, we know that another part of the unconscious old ego is being revealed to us. The more we relax into the space that is, the more we don't need to know why we call someone, go visit a place, spend money here, don't go to a social gathering, and so forth. We have done enough inner work to know what is intuition, but it's never a bad thing to check in with yourself to make sure an old bad habit hasn't grown up again to limit how you flow with any given situation.
As such, we can look at the funeral example I just mentioned and check in to see if there is an avoiding of emotional pain and grief that might be going on. We can check in to see if there is an issue with traveling (like fear of flying that you once had) or something else. Especially when an intuition is going to really rock the boat (because there is plenty of social stigma around such things like not going to the funeral of a loved one), it's good to check. And if it is still clear, then you have to trust it and appreciate that you are probably not going to get confirmation or validation for this intuition. Instead, the external world may give you quite a bit of grief of another kind.
What Is Stopping the Flow?I've discussed going with the flow in a past spirituality blog post, and it's not simply doing what's easiest. Trusting your intuition is that flow. Your intuition shows you where things are flowing best for you. To stop listening to it and try and meet some external idea such as a social obligation to go to a funeral means you are now stopping the flow. And stopping the flow brings with it a sense of inner resistance. That inner resistance is what got us all into trouble in the first place, and the truth of that is that we probably don't know all the opportunities for love, joy, and growth we missed because of the resistance we carried for most of our lives. We've also generally never really understood the full power of flowing with our lives and the suffering that gets avoided in so doing. And there will never be a way to benchmark it anyway.
At no time is following your intuition about looking for life to show us what we want. It also isn't about going anywhere any faster than we are already going. We may be heading exactly where we need to go at a snail's pace, but if that is the appropriate pace for us, then nothing is wrong. There can be a tendency to over-correct when there is nothing to correct. If this is coming up for you, you've found more of the unconscious ego that cares about what is right or wrong, correct or incorrect. What is correct anyway? Those of you who have done your work can appreciate this. Those of you just beginning should be mindful not to assume that this yet applies to you. The spiritual path is always a dance between allowing and acting, but we first need to really know ourselves to understand how we are dancing and why we are dancing the steps we dance.
Nonetheless, no matter how well you know yourself, new and old issues (generally old ones after awhile) like to show up. Suddenly you hit a reef in this ocean, and this reef of doubt makes you wonder where you are swimming to and why you aren't going to this funeral. This little doubt can clog a whole ocean of life. So the best thing to face it with is simply a little bit of trust. That's it. Nothing extreme.
Gentleness and Softness Win the DayYou have to understand that confirmation from the world is over. It is unnecessary. It is almost impossible because life is so vast that knowing the right or wrong way for something to transpire becomes a complete absurdity. In the times past, confirmation and validation seemed possible because the smaller ego mindset lives in that space. Back there you were operating by narrow definitions of right and wrong, good and evil, and so forth based on the minute lens of human experience. And it is minute. Just think about how vast the universe is. We are truly tiny little specks of dust in the grand scheme of things.
But without those old definitions, the ability to evaluate and judge your intuitions becomes increasingly diminished. When I write about feeling what's true for you, I am simply saying that you naturally know how and where to swim. It's much like a whale that knows where the breeding grounds are. It doesn't need to think about it. Yet, we can also think and make conscious decisions, and that makes our intuitions even more powerful. The combination of intuitive awareness and conscious action re-shapes lives. It is no small thing, and yet, it is such a small thing.
And a soft thing. As I've said many, many times before, intuition doesn't make us do anything. In its purest, it's simply a sense that going in one direction or saying five words is what feels more at peace and in love with what is. But you'll never have to follow this intuition. It doesn't force you to do or say anything. Generally speaking when we don't, we feel resistance and disharmony inside of us. That is the current lesson of much of the world. Thus, coming to our deepest intuitive awareness--the crossroads of our divinity and our humanity--is a very understated and gentle thing. It's no big deal. It's simply a tree flowering in spring and growing apples for fall. The tree needs no confirmation that this is what it should be doing. It simply follows its own path and arrives wherever it arrives.