How to know whether are you tuning into your intuition or simply engaging with ‘old’ unhelpful thoughts and beliefs? This is a complex topic and a skill we all need to mature. Intuition comes from your Higher or Wiser Self. This Self offers you a broader vision of who you are, what you really need and the best way to make ends meet.
Thoughts and beliefs come from your Ego Self. They are the result of a blurry, unexamined consciousness, conditioned to a great extent by external factors (e.g. culture, tradition). We could then say that intuition comes from your essential core, while egoic thoughts are mostly automatic responses with the sole aim of saving your most superficial identity.
Since both intuition and unhelpful thoughts can arise automatically within us, it takes some level of awareness and practise to start being able to differentiate which one is which. The best way to go about it is to pay more attention to your own mental patterns. What is going on in your head? Which part of you is talking? And how?
Intuition always comes as a soft and gentle inner voice, whereas ego-driven thoughts are often loud and and sensory overwhelming. I’m sure you will agree that your intuition works best whenever you are calm and relaxed. It happens so because that’s when we are able to even hear it in the first place.
When we are stressed or feeling that our wellbeing is threatened for any reason, we can’t tap so easily into our intuitive self. We tend to make it worse by feeding and fueling our Ego Self with unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. That’s why it is so important to live with what buddhists call right mindfulness, the ability to see and witness what is occurring inside and out of yourself, with non-judgment, and from a place of acceptance of what is.
Only then you will be able to hear and begin recognising the soothing voice that is your Wiser Self speaking to you through intuition. The more you practise and expand your level of awareness, the more you will be able to tune in and make decisions that are more aligned with who you truly are and, therefore, better for you.