Opening to Inner Knowing
The ability to hold and connect from a state of being that invites a deeper type of wisdom than the rational is a key skill for any agent of transformation.
In this conversation, John and Joel explore the quality of inner knowing, how to access it, and how to bring it into the coaching context.
What is inner knowing?
We often speak about a sense of knowing that comes from somewhere other than our rational minds; but what is this form of knowing and how can we strengthen our access to it?
When we start to explore the nature of this awareness we experience a sort of knowing presence that has a distinct quality of being; there’s a sense of joy, intimacy, freedom and openness. The natural impulse to try and control everything – fuelled by fear – is however much louder than this inner knowing, so in order to hear it we have to learn to turn down the noise.
Letting go of conventional knowing and trusting a deeper intelligence that is native to us and to life itself is very vulnerable, but worth it; there’s a deep sense of relief when we manage it. At some point the fear of the unknown shifts into excitement and an experience of intense aliveness or vibrancy is common. Aspects of and portals into this state include openheartedness, groundedness, deep somatic relaxation, a sense of alignment, a core aliveness and vitality, an openness and spacious in the body and an expanded sense of self.
When we relate with each other from this space there’s a sense of unfolding, an attunement of being, an intimacy, often surprise. When we’re used to being in the mind, this dimension of being intimately connected can feel overwhelming, and letting ourselves be deeply seen can bring up core stories of not being enough or of something being wrong with us; being mindful of this and advancing gently is therefore of great importance.
The key mindset shift to go from rational knowing to inner knowing is to become more interested in the truth than in being comfortable. This means leaving behind the idea that we will get to a place where everything is ok (where we’re ok) and learn to just be with what is.
Coaching with inner knowing
So as coaches, how do we bring this quality of being into our coaching practice in order to allow this dimension of knowledge to benefit of our clients?
The foundation for creating this space with a client is to facilitate a dropping into stillness – a quieting of the noisy mind so that this state becomes more accessible to both of you. It’s helpful to drop any sense of “I’m the expert” to facilitate intimacy in this context. As this shared stillness deepens you might experience a sense of receiving, of taking each other in.
In this state, a co-exploration of what’s true and alive in the moment becomes possible, a shared listening for what wants attention.
Deepening your emotional resonance
The phenomenon of resonance with another person is what enables us to feel empathy. It allows us to feel what the other is feeling and so have a sense of what their experience is in that moment. This can be incredibly useful as a coaching tool as it allows us to deeply accompany and understand our client, and is something that naturally increases as we strengthen the connection to our inner knowing.
If your client is open you might even be able to pick up what they’re feeling before they speak about it. This type of energetic sensitivity can be developed through learning to be more in touch with your emotions and sensations, which can be done by shifting your attention into the body and fine-tuning this awareness. The body is constantly responding to an ongoing truth and always has useful feedback for us.
When we sink into this “ground of being” together, this base of awareness, we have a sense of sameness, of a shared awareness looking out. We enter into a space of heart wisdom and there’s a recognition of each other, a meeting at an essential level of being – the sense of being recognising itself. A whole other level of work becomes possible when we inhabit this quality of being in connection with a client.
Living from inner knowing
All this talk about inner stillness can lead one to think that being connected to inner knowing requires us to relinquish external activities, but in fact when it is used in service of action we become far more intentionally creative.
This openness leads to a feeling of being well used by life – there’s an aliveness that comes online and that can be expressed through us, a sense of natural purpose that guides us.
When we begin to access this state of being, the first stage is often an emptying; a letting go of illusions and beliefs that are currently clogging our systems. Clearing that space allows us to be far more present and engaged, and leaning into the embodied experience of connection to others and to life itself begins to melt the conditioned anxiety caused by the illusion of the separate self.
As we progress in our skilfulness in accessing this quality of awareness, we come to understand that this state of being, rather than being something extraordinary, is in fact utterly ordinary. This frees us from a need to be special, the construct of the “enlightened” person, which is accompanied by a deep sense of relief and an increase in inner spaciousness. We shift from viewing ourselves as a self-improvement project into a more peaceful state of self-acceptance and self-love, and a sense of fundamental wholeness.