Question: Are Instincts the Best guide to follow?
I think when you ask this question you are really asking is your ‘gut feeling’ your best guide to follow. For me a ‘gut feeling’ is not the same as the survival reaction that animals have which is called instinct, it is more like an emotion or like an intuition.
With a survival instinct, one reacts to one’s environment in a conditioned way, without thinking or feeling anything about it, there is just the reaction without any kind of reflection. When you are tuning into your ‘gut feeling’, then you are reflecting, you are taking a pause and taking time to ponder the situation before you make a decision on how to react to it.
I think one’s gut feeling is a better guide to make decisions from, than the guide of one’s ‘mental conclusion’. We get so much information from the outside and at times it can be really confusing to know what is truly being said, or what is truly happening, when we rely only upon the conclusion that comes from our thinking. When things are not clear for me, then I dig deeper and try to see what my feeling is in regards to a happening or what I think another person might be feeling. I’ve often experienced that putting happenings into terms of feelings, can help me have more clarity in murky situations.
I think the reason why feelings are a better guide than thinking is because feelings are the first level of information that we pick up from our outside environment, thus it is the first level of data and in the most pure form – meaning we haven’t added our conclusion to it yet. All living objects are vibrating and when we come into contact with another object, then we pick up their vibration through our sensory structures. Next this information is sent to our brain, where we process all that we received and come to our conclusion about it through thinking or reflecting upon it. Our conclusion coming out of our process of reflection, then affects our bodies vibration, and this feeling is reflected back to the outside world where other bodies can pick it up.
Human communication is perhaps the most complex interaction, and thus a good example to see how our ‘gut feelings’ can be a better guide for us than our thinking in this kind of scenario.
As one is listening to people talk, instinctual feelings are happening in the body at the same time. These kinds of sensations that happen, have to do with survival instincts and can’t be controlled by the person, the vibratory form of the energy of the talker is the cause of the generated sensation in the receiver. However, how one perceives the sensation one feels, is more like an emotion, and how one decides to respond to those emotions is individual and very much subject to one’s conditioned ways of being or conversely one’s ability to respond out of intuition or beyond one’s conditioning. All vibrations sensed, will fall into two categories, it’s either non-threatening or threatening. If the sensation falls into the threatening category, then the tendency from instinct is to fight or flee from the energy that is provoking this response, to protect oneself. If the force of the other is stronger than our own, then we instinctually feel like we need to withdraw from it, because to stay in the presence of it a part of us will be destroyed or damaged. In order to stay engaged in a conversation with another person, one has to be receiving the low-level sensation of non-threatening energy, one has to feel safe. This is not something we think about, it’s something we instinctually feel, and thus can’t be detected from the intellectual understanding of the words of communication.
If the force of the other feels equal to our own, then it’s not threatening and we feel a kind of resonance between ourselves and the other person. This is what is known as having made an essential contact, which we form by listening closely to the other and hearing/feeling their energy. If we are listening to the other, then we have withdrawn energy from our own personality. Doing this step we make contact with their energy in an essential way, we can now feel the other and they can feel us. If we don’t make this step to listen carefully to the other and respond to what they are expressing, then we can know we are essentially ‘having a conversation with ourselves’, our expression had little to do with the other. Essential communication will continue to happen in the space between the parties after an essential contact is made as long as the two energies continue to resonate with each other, as long as they continue to listen to each other. One can see it as both being engaged in the conversation as equals, neither one of the party is trying to overpower the other, there is a synchronization of energies. Essential communication is like being able to express love to one another, people are not self-conscious, and they leave themselves out of the picture.
As long as this feeling is in place, then there is the possibility for essential dialog and creative exchanges. Without this kind of link even being established to start with, there is no possibility of essential communication happening, this is because the two energies are discordant, not in synch with each other, each is still in a world by themselves. (We are all familiar with the kind of casual talk we have with many people called ‘chit-chat’, this kind of communication is easy to do because with it, an essential contact is not made. It exists mainly in the mind and only a light connection is made to the other’s energy, so usually the deeper survival instincts of flight and fight response don’t get triggered. )
At the point that this link gets broken (assuming it was formed to start with), then essential dialog is no longer possible, this is because the connection between the two outside forces no longer resonates, instead the energies of the two people have become discordant, basically they are fighting with each other. What we can know about discordant energy is that expressed discordant energy always provokes discordance in another. The other thing to know about it is that we all produce discordant energy when ‘our ego’ takes over, if we were 100% aware, then we would always resonant harmony, but lets not anybody believe we are like that!
Now it might be that during our conversation, we realize that we have lost contact with the energy of the other person and thus we are no longer tuned into the level of feeling the other. What has happened is that we have become an island unto ourself, we have become immersed into our own world, lost in our thoughts, lost in our singular feelings – because we have broken the link to the other person.
When there appear defensive reactions in our communications, then we have the opportunity to see we’ve reacted to the other in our conditioned way because we’ve lost contact with our essential link . We can become aware WHEN we’ve done this at the exact moment we feel the other person is withdrawing from or attacking us. This can take the 2 forms of instinctual reaction: the person either fights against us, tries to prove themselves stronger or wants to be one up on you, or they feel they are against an opponent who is too strong and thus they decide to flee or run away from us, reject us, close the door, etc. Knowledge about our instincts can be helpful if we know it’s very hard for a person, if not impossible, to not react to discordful energies. If energies are threatening then the person will try to protect themselves from them, whether they are aware they are doing this or not.
So what’s the practical advise?
Everyone should realize that they are not fully aware, if we can accept this much, then we can accept that there will be times when we will act in conditioned or instinctual ways.
Because we are not fully aware, it means we have elements of our personality still intact, which means that we will act in conditioned ways because there are parts of ourselves that are still hidden to ourselves. They are hidden to us, because they are still part of us. To clear up these things that are hidden to us, we have to become aware that they are there. Knowing that they are hidden to me, then it seems that the best option I have is to observe and stay tuned into feelings others – and –mine and see how other people react to my expression. If people want to fight against, reject or ignore my expression, then I know the truth that my ‘I’ crept in and tried to gain something for itself. My expression in fact was not neutral, it was not intuitive, and the truth is that it was discordant.
Right then, I can ask the other about their feelings to my expression to try to discover what is the cause of the discordance. I know I have the opportunity to use my mind in a creative way to uncover the truth, but I will only do this is I truly want to know the truth. By continuing on in this way with dialog to discover the feeling of the other, then eventually the two come back to the point of reestablishing the link of resonance, or of getting to the gist of the conversation, the ‘aha’ moment. When the two people reach the point of ‘aha, this is what you feel’, then you are back in agreement, back in resonance, then you can address the feeling of the other in an essential way, direct to the heart of the matter, instead of through your interpretation of what you thought the other might be thinking or feeling.
I feel that knowing this truth and staying tuned into my gut feelings and the feelings of others – versus relying so much on my mind – combined with my desire to become less conditioned, is the best option I have to dissolve my hidden conditioned parts and become more intuitive.