The Physical Channel of Intuition
Marcia Emery


Have you ever had a tight stomach before an important meeting, a pain in the neck after a confrontation, grinding teeth when you're chewing over a dilemma, or a frog in your throat before making a presentation? That's your body trying to tell you something! Physical cues like these are screaming, "Pay attention to me!" Listening and becoming aware of the messages your body sends is pivotal when you begin to cultivate your intuition.

Sometimes it's your entire body that gets the message. Marie was having a job interview, and she thought it was going quite well. But as soon as the interviewer mentioned hiring her for full-time employment, her body just wanted to get up and run away. She had to hold herself down to keep from jumping out of her chair. Fortunately, she paid attention to this warning and asked for time to think over the offer. Her discomfort stayed with her for the entire day, so she turned down the offer even though she really needed the work.

Weeks later, a friend who did take that job told her she was very unhappy with this incredibly disorganized company. Marie's body knew this way ahead of her logical mind.

Writer and producer Arielle Ford, author of Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Lover, told me about a client who wanted her to do a big project involving huge sums of money.

After the meeting, Arielle had a sick feeling. She somehow knew that working with this man would be a nightmare. She canceled the deal, and others later validated her intuitive assessment he really was a pain to work with.

Many people literally get intuitive input from their gut or stomach. Writer Ray Bradbury said we can stay well if we pay more attention to our stomachs. The late J. Peter Grace, chairman of W R. Grace & Company, said simply that intuition "is what your stomach tells you." For Bradbury, Grace, and many other people, the "gut feeling" -- which emanates from the stomach or solar plexus -- acts as an intuitive barometer. 

The late Brandon Tartikoff, whose genius at television programming is legendary, was called the "man with the golden gut" because of his unerring ability to pick successful shows. Since executives in the entertainment field are immersed in a fast-moving and ever-changing industry, it is not surprising that people who rise to the top are highly intuitive. That is the only way they can survive.

Daniel Goleman's work on emotional intelligence indicates that emotional skills like self-awareness, empathy, motivation, and paying attention to gut feelings will contribute more to your well-being and success than your intellect or technical expertise. An integral part of emotional intelligence is knowing what you're feeling -- which includes noticing your gut feelings or intuition about important life decisions. 

After a decade of research, Goleman has isolated a large class of neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals called peptides, which were first discovered in the gut. He says, "They're identical mates to brain-cell receptors, and that means that what's working in large parts of the brain is also active in the gut, and the central nervous system is wiring the two together. So it's not really a surprise that gut feeling should be a way you get "messages."

Begin now to become aware of your body's messages. Notice, for example, when your stomach feels tight or heavy, your lower back hurts, your knee feels locked in place and can't move, or your gums ache. Ask yourself what's going on at that moment or in your life. Are you facing an unsettling decision at work, in relationships, in your personal life?

Begin to connect these bodily sensations to messages from your mind, heart, or soul. This is called making the mind-body connection. Sometimes they send messages in the form of puns, as dreams often do. If my neck abruptly begins to ache, for example, I ask myself, "Who's the pain in my neck annoying me right now?"

Start noting these instances in a journal to keep track of the correlation between these body bulletins and what's happening in your life. As you begin to become aware, you'll probably notice that you respond more quickly and appropriately.


Acting on intuition means heeding one's premonitions, paying attention to an inner voice, and responding to what seem like creative bolts from the blue.  When people feel uncertain -- in their jobs or their relationships -- it's often because they're not seeing the range of options that intuition can provide.  After explaining intuition's basic principles, Marcia Emery takes readers through a personal training course, helping them to develop their intuitive muscle and teaching them how to incorporate hunches into daily life.


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