The main question that tends to come up when beginning to connect and work with our intuition is:
“How do I know if it’s my intuition or ego talking?”
This is a completely understandable concern. For many of us, we’ve been led by our ego for most of our lives, and it can be difficult at first to discern between the two.
I am here to tell you that it’s not at all impossible. In fact, once we gain a certain kind of awareness, it becomes incredibly simple.
The number one way to gain the self-awareness we need in order to practice discernment is – you guessed it – a meditation practice. Meditation allows us to sit with and observe the thoughts that pass through our mind in a state of non-attachment. In the act of unattached sitting, we are able to pick out and decide what is ego and what is intuition. In regards to intuition, meditation is also a great way to get clear and get quiet so that we may receive more intuitive insights than we would without.
If you’re not particularly one for meditation, simply finding something that works for you individually is perfect. What practice allows you to get quiet? Is it art, writing, making music, cooking, cleaning, exercising? Is it just sitting outside? Find out what gets you in a space of stillness and awareness and begin doing that more often. The more we spend time with our thoughts, the easier it is to practice discernment.
Ego VS Intuition
Am I feeling fear or am I feeling safe?
Ego is rooted in fear, scarcity, and insecurity. It wants to gain control because it operates on the assumption that the world is unsafe and scary and a place in which we have to compete because we don’t have enough. It pushes away change, wants to keep us the same and play it safe. It assumes we live in a world of lack, and so wants to do all it can to gain, gain, and gain – often at the expense of something or someone else. It focuses on what is missing no matter how much we actually have. It lives in a reality of duality and separation – rich and poor, winner and loser, successful and unsuccessful. It’s all about “me versus them.” It judges and criticizes, both ourselves others, adding onto the perception of separation and keeping us from expressing ourselves fully. It tells us we are not good enough or worthy. Ego wants to dominate in order to feel good.
Intuition on the other hand is based in love, abundance, trust, and the assumption that all is safe and secure, so there is no need to control anything. It’s point is only to open space for expression of our true selves. Our Higher Self only knows abundance. It assumes that there is enough for everyone as the Universe is limitless and expansive. Intuition wants to share and co-create. It inspires gratitude and appreciation and reminds us of our inherent greatness.
Am I living outside-in or inside-out?
Ego needs external results in order to feel worthy or good. Ego will push us to achieve as much as we can in the hopes that we will become happier on the inside because of this accumulation – again, it operates on scarcity. The more we get, the better we’ll feel. Ego also wants to blame the external for everything. Ego is all about victimhood.
Intuition requires us to work on our inner world as the source of our happiness. It knows that happiness or success can only be found within and that we have everything we need inside of us. Intuition does not blame. It works with us and for us, serving us in the Highest way by guiding us to develop and express our best qualities outward, recognizing that as we realize that we are the source of all we seek, the external will begin to mirror the internal.
Am I in my head or am I in my heart?
The voice of our ego lives in our head. It will explain and justify and list all the reasons why it is right. Many times we will hear “but..” statements. It will debate with us, it will try to prove itself to us, and it will mentally exhaust us, leaving us still with doubt, anxiety, and confusion. Ego screams at us and is often all over the place.
The voice of our intuition is heart-centered. It enlivens us and fills us with peace and upliftment. It is a deep sense of knowing, one which doesn’t attempt to justify or explain itself as it is truth and therefore does not need to prove anything. It just is. It’s our personal truth teller that knows instantly what is right for us. It is certain and with it comes feelings of peace, relief, and comfort. It is quiet and calm and there are no “but’s”. Even if we attempt to debate with it, it will continue to give us the same answer over and over again, never changing.
Am I thinking past/future or am I thinking present?
Ego has been built up over years of experiences. It holds onto the past and wants to remind you of what happened, often instilling fear that it will happen again in the future, thus urging us to not trust and stay small. It wants to keep us comfortable by reminding us of our experiences, which are often familiar, no matter if they’re good or bad. Ego would rather keep us in bubble wrap than risk being hurt again, regardless of how likely or unlikely it is.
Intuition is in the now. It’s here and in the present. It’s not concerned with the past or the future, as it recognizes the truth that the present moment is all that we have and all that matters. It knows the unlimited possibilities that may come and so is not focused on anything but the moment. Intuition does not remind you of what happened or what may happen – it is about what IS happening. It is relaxed and trusts in the Universe.
A few real-life examples of this would be:
- Intuition guides you to write a poem that comes from a place of fulfillment and peace. Ego pushes you to write a poem that will become famous.
- Intuition guides you to start an endeavor that is altruistic and based in community and generosity. Ego urges you to start an endeavor that will make you rich, no matter how it affects others.
- Intuition guides you to forgive and express love. Ego wants you to hold grudges or seek revenge in any way you can.
- Intuition guides you to take a chance. Ego urges you to never try that again.
Do you notice how between all of these intuition is guiding and ego is all about pushing, urging, wanting? This is another way of recognizing which is which. Intuition is like holding hands with someone as you slowly walk down a path. Ego is that someone yanking and pulling you down the same path. It’s controlling and aggressive. Intuition is everything but.
The more awareness we gain and the more we practice, the easier it becomes to discern in the moment what it is we’re receiving. As we begin to do so, we will realize which one to follow so that we may make decisions which are for our Highest good that are based on our truest selves and deepest values, hopes, and dreams.
Acknowledging and acting on our intuition invites a flow of more love, abundance, and joy. Acknowledging and acting on our ego invites more fear which pushes us to gain more control.
Both of these manifest a continual cycle – which do you choose?
As a disclaimer, I want to stress that I don’t believe ego is inherently bad. We absolutely need our ego, as it is, at its most basic level, our perception of self and the world. The issue comes when we become imbalanced. Our ego often wants to keep us safe and protected, but many times it only blocks us from fully stepping into who we are, and in turn, a strong connection with our inner wisdom and guidance. Ego can absolutely be beneficial in certain situations and does serve a purpose. For example, setting boundaries for our own self-protection such as someone continuously being disrespectful to us and having to put our foot down. As with anything, though, it’s all about balance.