Developing intuition can appear to be rather a random process. I remember about one year into my massage training sensing something deeper about a person's body - more than just skin and muscle - there was an underlying feeling of corrugated cardboard. It amazed me that I could sense a person on a double level - the physical and then on some kind of feeling/knowing level.
I believe that there is a "practical intuition" that we all use in some way through our daily life:-
1. Our animal instinct i.e. we can smell food and know it is off, sensing danger, something tastes wrong, reading body language
2. Many years experience can lead us to be able to read situations/people accurately
3. We might study something for a long period of time and suddenly the brain "sorts it" and it becomes an integral part of our inner "knowing"
4. We get a "gut feeling" about something.
For me intuition is also a type of "sensing": Many years ago I attended a meditation course, where we explored several different methods of meditation. One of them was colour meditation - we painted a ball of a single colour and looked at it until we could also see it with our eyes shut. Every time the colour faded we could look at it again until the colour was absorbed. For some reason this experience of different colours stuck with me, and after that I could sense colour when I worked with a client. Through the meditation my brain had developed some kind of awareness about colour and it would overlay this when I worked with people. Eventually I began to sense people's auras - and learnt to interpret what I saw.
At one stage in my development I was fortunate enough to live with a crystal healer for a period of time. Her house was a healer's paradise full of crystals, books and essential oils. And I was able to spend many hours with a wonderful person who wanted to share, experience and learn all about healing! Often I would come home from work and sit with her crystals, holding them in my hands and seeing what I could feel. At times I felt nothing, sometimes I felt different sensations in my body, or a sensed movement in my hand. I would notice which crystals I was drawn to and read up about them in her books. It was a playful, fun time and I learnt so much. Not just about crystals, but about how to develop and trust my intuition.
I found that once I had developed a sense of intuition with crystals, I could use it with anything - essential oils, aura soma, flower remedies and plants. I had an interest in plant tinctures and occasionally helped my friend out on her stall at festivals. Even though I didn't know everything the tinctures did, I had no trouble finding the right one for a person. I would then pass this on to my friend (who was a trained herbalist) to check I had the correct one. One day I was watching her working with a client. Something seemed to be missing from her tincture. I scanned the remedies and picked out the violet tincture and handed it to the herbalist. She said it was for grief. Much to our surprise the customer immediately started crying - talking about her grief.
Doing massage in the workplace and at festivals has also been a great teacher for me. Every person feels so different, and at these events I had a chance to feel many people in a short period of time. Of course there is the physical "feel" of the muscles - are they soft and relaxed, generally tight, or balls of knots. However there is another "feel" to the client as well. For example: they might feel wooden, or there is an inner tension that feels like a wound up spring, or they are calm and relaxed. If I get chance I will talk to the client about this and discuss with them ways to address the underlying issue.
Sometimes I also get a picture in my head. Recently I was working at a healing evening doing massages. Between clients I could observe the other healers working on their clients. As I watched one healing session, I saw in my mind's eye a picture of the client with her feet in the clouds. Later I talked to the healer about this. She said she had been advising her client to be more grounded. The client had told her that she was the second person that day to suggest this to her!
Next Saturday (19th September) I am teaching a Crystal Healing Course, with an emphasis on developing intuition. If you are interested in this area please contact me.