INTUITION — the Divine Voice Within
Excerpts from Finding The Joy Within You by Daya Mata
Solving Your Problems With Guidance From Within
Gurudeva Paramahansa Yogananda often quoted this saying:
"The Lord helps him who helps himself."
When having to make a decision, we would like nothing better than for some divine force to just tell us what to do. It would be so easy; we would not have to make any effort if at any given moment we knew we were receiving God's direct guidance. But it is not meant to be so simple, and the reason is this: We are a part of God, but we don't know it—and we will never know it if all we do is put the burden on Him and say, "You tell me what to do," as though we were dumb puppets and He the Puppeteer. No, He expects us to use the mind He has given to us, while asking His guidance.
Jesus prayed the ultimate prayer: "Lord, let Thy will be done." Now, many people interpret this to mean that they are not supposed to do any willing or thinking at all, but just sit and meditate, and wait for God to do something through them. This is wrong. We are made in His image. He gave man intelligence such as He gave to no other creature, and He expects us to use it. This is why Guruji taught us to pray:
"Lord, I will reason, I will will, I will act;
but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity
to the right thing that I should do."
We practice this religiously in the ashram. In our meetings about the work, we meditate for a few minutes and then offer that prayer. Only then do we enter into discussion and make decisions.
So do not sit back and expect God to initiate the necessary actions. Applying the principles of reason, will, and action, pursue what seems to be the best course. Work conscientiously, using your will and intelligence, and at the same time pray throughout: "Lord, guide me; let me follow Thy will. Only Thy will be done." By doing this, you keep your mind receptive to His guidance. You may then find that you will suddenly see clearly, "No, I must go in this direction now." God shows you the way.
But remember, when asking God to guide you, your mind must never be closed; let it be always open and receptive. This is how God helps him who helps himself. It works, but the initiative and effort have to come from us.
You do not have to live in an ashram in order to serve God and follow His will. Each one of us is at this moment where God and our past actions have placed us. If you are not satisfied with your present condition, meditate and ask God's guidance. But while doing so, apply your God-given reason. Analyze the options you have in connection with your life and your future.
Listen to the Divine Voice Within
The Divine Voice within us will help us to solve all our problems. The voice of the conscience is a God-given instrument of divine guidance in every human being. But in many, it is not heard because over a period of one or countless lives they have refused to pay any attention to it. Consequently, that voice becomes silent, or very, very faint. But as an individual begins to put right behaviour into action in his life, the inner whispers grow stronger again.
Beyond the semi-intuitive conscience is pure intuition, the soul's direct perception of truth—the infallible Divine Voice. All of us are endowed with intuition. We have the five physical senses, and also a sixth sense — all-knowing intuition. We relate to this world through the five physical senses: we touch, hear, smell, taste, and see. In most people, the sixth sense, intuitive feeling, remains undeveloped from lack of use. Blindfold the eyes from childhood, and years later when that blindfold is removed, everything will appear flat. Or immobilize the arm, and it will not develop properly for lack of use. Similarly, through lack of use, intuition no longer functions in many.
Ways to Develop Intuition
But there is a way to develop intuition. The sixth sense is not able to function until we quiet the body and the mind.
So the first step in developing intuition is meditation, entering a state of inner calmness. The more deeply you meditate, and then put your mind on some problem, the more your intuitive power will express itself in resolving that problem. That power develops gradually, not all at once; just as a muscle or limb is strengthened gradually by exercise—it doesn't happen overnight.
To be intuitive, one must learn, as Guruji said, to be "calmly active and actively calm; a prince of peace sitting on the throne of poise, directing the kingdom of activity." When an individual is excited, restless, or emotionally overwrought, he cannot feel or express intuition, but becomes confused in thinking and makes wrong decisions. This is why it is important for all mankind — not only those who are seeking God, but everyone—to learn to be quiet by practicing meditation. Guruji's techniques of concentration and meditation are therefore invaluable.
As you live more in a state of calmness, you begin to perceive yourself less as a physical being. You become aware of an inner stillness coming from the soul, the real you. That stillness is the foundation of the intuitive sense.
Intuition can be developed by those persons who are deeply contemplative, those who have reached by meditation that state of absolute calmness of heart and mind. One must be neither overcome by emotion nor bound by intellect.
Intuition is a blend of thinking (the thought process)
and the heart (the feeling process).
Many people have intuitive experience through reason —a sort of guidance of their thoughts.
In my own case, very often intuition expresses itself through feeling. When I have certain feelings about things or persons, those impressions are like subtle vibrations around my heart, and then I know, from years of experience, that these intimations are correct.
When you have developed intuition to some degree, you will find that as you make decisions, something within you says: "This is the right way to go." That is intuition guiding you. Do not expect this to happen all at once. There will be some mistakes in the beginning as other factors within you impede the flow of intuition. But as you go on practicing meditation, and living more in the state of interior calmness bestowed by this practice, you will find increasing improvement in the development of your intuitive power.
Very often now, when something comes before my mind, I see not just the present matter, but
projecting ahead, I see the end result.
That is intuition.
And if you act on it, you will find that everything runs smoothly— well, not always. Even though you have made the right decision, there will be some rough times. They are part of the growing process, learning how to deal with conditions that are normal in life. But your intuition tells you that even though there are problems, you have taken the right course of action.
Learn to distinguish when inner "guidance" is an authentic intuitive message, or only imagination or emotionalism (which in some people are very strong, and are sometimes misinterpreted as intuition).
You can recognize intuition if whatever guidance you feel from your experience produces the correspondingly right result. If the effects are contrary, you know it was nothing but imagination. Intuition will always bring forth the correct positive response for the good of one's own life or that of someone else. Only time and experience will enable you to tell always whether a strong inclination is imagination or a natural, intuitive feeling.
Learn to enter the state of deep calmness that comes during the practice of concentration and meditation techniques; become a more peaceful being throughout all the day's activities; and use your God-given intelligence to make the best decisions of which you are capable, while at the same time continuing to ask divine guidance and remaining open to it as you proceed.