I have been thinking about instinct lately. We all have it in and it comes in different forms. For some it is a feeling, others a voice and others see it in words or pictures. It really depends upon the type of character and how we are wired. I am sure most have experienced it and never knew what it was. I do think it is something that comes from the heart. And yet so often we all live in our heads intellectualizing everything. This may in part have to do with habit, and rather than feel it out, wait for an answer and guidance from the heart we go to our heads – a direct line to our egos. The result, we allow our egos to guide our lives. Then everything we do reinforces the stories of who we are, and we hold on to them throughout our life building up a fortress against instinct.
Instinct is a part of our lives and yet so often we squelch the feeling. Even if we get that inner urge, we turn away from it and put ourselves up in our heads. We get the feeling and then boom up in our head to intellectualize, justify, rationalize or defend. Of course I am speaking from direct experience. I realize these days that I really do not want to speak of anything I know nothing about. I used to be able to talk a good game about anything. I am finding it is more skillful to just speak of things I have experience with. It serves others because they can feel the place in which I am speak from. Just like building up a habit of avoiding instinct, we can find a way to get back to the place of the heart and develop a skill of paying attention to it. It takes work, practice and presence in order to be in that place. The key is to know how to discern when you are in your head or not. For me it starts as pressure and a feeling in the heart that eventually leads to words, but on occasion it can be visuals as well. And when it comes it feels like jumping into a river and riding the wave for as long it is meant to be. It is an invigorating feeling being in touch with the heart. It is a place I would like to live in as much as I can, and wish this for everyone. There is on occasion experiences of weak moments in which I want to please the intellect or what my friend in NYC would say, “the lower chakras.” I find that if I want to continue to do that, and it is my choice, then I would over time slowly squelch instinct by constantly overriding it.
I believe that many are out of touch with instinct for a variety of reasons. Everything from having dug a rut of habitual routine day after day and feel that is all there is in life and given up, others find that change is too difficult and say this is who I am and some have issues that need to be addressed to clear the wreckage of the past in order to let instinct see the light of day. It could be anyone of these or a combination. In my experience long ago I had to put down an addiction in order to start the process of getting in touch. It was a spiritual crisis at the time motivated by experiencing death first hand. Scary at the time, but in hindsight it was what was needed to wake me up. After settling down, I realized early on that it was all about the head and heart. Everything I have done up to this moment has allowed me to open up that portal to allow instinct to direct me. I must be in the moment and once I am out of it I drift ever so slightly away. And when I am off that beam I care just a little less for the world around. And who wants to live a life of not caring?