In a world where religious beliefs often discourage trusting one’s intuition, I found myself questioning the wisdom of relying solely on sacred texts. Immersed in an extremely religious community, I grappled with the fear of embracing my inner voice. This blog post chronicles my journey of breaking free from dogma, discovering the power of intuition, and finding the courage to trust my authentic self. I hope to explain how religion made it difficult for me to trust my intuition and give tips on how to trust your intuition.
I was taught to believe that intuition was some form of mystical and magic thought motivated by demonic forces. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, I know. In one of the (extreme) religions I practiced for a short period of my life, even yoga was considered a sin, so you can probably imagine how intuition was also viewed.
There was a verse in the bible that was often repeated that was something to the likes of “do not lean upon your own understanding.”
It always confused me.
I later learned that for every decision that had to be made, every stressful situation at hand, it was believed that there was a bible verse meant to guide you in how to respond and what decisions to make. Therefore, trusting in yourself was out of the question because you were supposed to refer to the Bible for guidance, not yourself.
So I suppose you could say that I was trained to believe in myself as far inferior to the wisdom presented in the bible. I couldn’t really argue that line of reasoning, so I submitted, matching different scenarios in my life with advice from the almighty book.
That was until the almighty book…or the religion’s interpretation, advised against leaving an abusive marriage and their views of shunning and shaming people when they decided to do.
It was hard to shake the belief that my thoughts and experiences were inferior to that book’s wisdom. And I did give it a valiant effort as I asked questions like,
What was the point of anything then?
Do we actually gain any wisdom through life and experience?
Do we practice the teachings so often and diligently enough to confirm their validity?
Where’s the growth in sticking our noses in the bible every time something difficult arises?
And where’s the value of learning through experience?
It gave me a new understanding of the saying, “What would Jesus do?” Because my intuition told me one thing, but the Bible advised the opposite. Therefore, I began to ignore that little voice inside that nagged at me when things felt off or wrong.
How religion and spirituality are different
Religion emphasizes external practices as an important part of worship: the bible, churches, community, traditions, and rituals. On the other hand, spirituality is described as “an inward journey that involves a shift in awareness rather than some form of external activity.”
So while the lines between religion and spirituality can bleed into one another, the religions that I chose to participate in were quite the opposite. The lines between spirituality and religion were practically delineated in permanent markers labeled “Them vs. Us.” There was a direct agenda to remove spirituality from the equation.
Side note: It is easy to polarize between the two modalities, but I am trying to emphasize that my experience with religions was on the extremist side.
Consequently, it was incredibly difficult to tap into my intuition when I decided to break away from religion. I had to learn how to lean into my values, question how I truly felt in certain situations, and lean into a place of love rather than fear, as I had always done within the confines of religion.
A Holistic Approach
Ultimately, everyone heals differently, experiences life differently, and my goal here is not to bad-mouth one modality over another. But I will say this: taking on a more spiritual mindset has changed my life in ways I could never imagine.
There is a direct correlation between the health of the mind and spirituality, so if you find spirituality in religion, I’m all for that! This is why true healing MUST combine mind, body, and spirit. We can not look at them separately.
When our minds are in a state of chaos, our bodies reap the physical consequences by releasing stress hormones that make an ideal environment for disease. And our spirit then becomes increasingly disconnected from love because we are operating from a place of survival, which is all fear-based, making us perceive life and our experiences as a threat.
And in case you haven’t heard it before, I talk about that concept here on my IG.
Trusting your Intuition requires Accountability.
Learning to trust oneself is required to tap into intuition. It feels much more comfortable (although less impactful) to let someone else or some tradition or belief guide our decisions. It eliminates personal responsibility and releases accountability, making it so much easier.
Let me explain:
When you are part of a religion or community with a particular belief, it is much easier to follow it based on communal expectations. This is commonly called “social conformity” or “group conformity.” Social conformity happens when individuals adjust their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors to align with the norms and expectations of a particular social group they belong to.
So…when the religion practices shunning, rather than listening to their own intuition guided by love, they follow suit, believing they are doing the “right thing” while never taking accountability for the pain and suffering that their actions cause in a person’s life.
And yet, the entire religion practices this daily without ever questioning what their intuition is saying. Because to me, it always felt wrong.
If you’re unfamiliar with the damage that shame can do to a person, I’d recommend looking at the work of Brené Brown on the topic of Shame because it’s profound.
“I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”Brené Brown
Conforming to religious expectations can make it easier for people to follow religious teachings and rituals because the group supports and reinforces them. That being said, it’s important to note that social conformity can have both positive and negative consequences. On one hand, it helps maintain social cohesion and unity within the group. On the other hand, it can also stifle individual critical thinking, creativity, and intuition, suppressing diverse viewpoints.
Three Things You Need to Know When Learning How to Trust Your Intuition
- Intuition is a muscle that is formed over time.
- Before you can trust your intuition, you have to have good regulation of your emotional state (aka emotional maturity).
- You have to understand the difference between your thoughts, which are a product of past, prejudice, beliefs, influences, and fear, and that of true intuition guided by love.
Without understanding these three things about intuition, trusting this thing called “intuition” can be dangerous.
How to Trust Your Intuition: The Path Back
It was not easy, but today I have learned to trust my intuition, and here’s what I did to get there.
- I make self-awareness a regular practice in my daily life.
- I use my logical mind to gain a truly objective approach instead of allowing my feelings to create unnecessary drama.
- I sit with my feelings, even the uncomfortable ones, and identify the needs behind them without letting them run haywire in my life.
- I have a clear set of values that guide my decision-making
- I journal and practice meditation to connect to the highest parts of me.
- I regularly check in to verify if I am being guided by fear or love.
- I have made it a regular practice to unravel the subconscious programming that affects my belief system.
Embracing my intuition has been a liberating and transformative journey, leading me to break away from religious constraints and find my authentic path. I now make decisions aligned with my true values through self-awareness and spirituality. I hope my experiences inspire others to embrace their own intuition, overcome societal norms, and embark on their own journey of self-discovery.