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I won't mince words: If you've never learned to tap into your intuition, your life is almost certainly much more difficult than it needs to be. Why? Because your intuition helps you make choices based on what you actually want. It helps you avoid trouble, draws you toward positive situations and away from negative ones. It circumvents your intellect—which can tell you all kinds of inaccurate, critical, self-defeating things—and instead guides you based on what your body, your very essence, knows to be true. Your intuition never criticizes you. If you're hearing an inner voice that sounds shaming, blaming, disdainful, withering, or mean, you're not hearing your intuition, which functions more like a kitten: It may be urgent, nervous, or resistant, but it could never imply that something is wrong with you.

Of course, it's all well and good to know how valuable your intuition is—but that doesn't mean you know how to listen to it. Many of us don't.

Which is where I come in. If your mission is intuition, these five lessons will get you started.

Lesson 1: Dropping into Yourself

Since intuition relies on physiological sensations, you switch it on by transferring all your attention from your thoughts to your body, focusing equally on every part. Start by relaxing your muscles. Breathe deeply and evenly. Now scan your whole being without judgment or effort, just noticing any areas of comfort or discomfort, relaxation or tension. Some places, such as your gut, shoulders, or jaw, may be so tense and "frozen," you won't be able to feel them at all. Wiggle them around a little until you at least become aware they exist. Don't fight any pain you may encounter. Just let yourself melt into it.

The more you can become aware of your body from the inside, the more clearly you'll notice areas of gripping or contraction. These tight spots could be information from your intuition. As you attend to them, they'll begin to bring up images and emotions. Allow this to happen. Your knotty lower back may conjure the irritation you feel toward your snobby sister. The clutching sensation in your throat may reveal hatred of telemarketing. Simply observe this information, without moving or acting in any way. If you do just this, you'll open up your intuition and begin learning hidden truths about yourself.