So the key to Instinctive Health is the instinctive part. How can we see, hear, and feel more instinctively or more accurately? It’s a great question.
I wrote last time about how we generally develop these habit reactions – it’s a short cut to deal with routine activities and interactions – historical relationships from our childhood and how we resolved conflicts there get applied to current relationships – but it’s inexact and it creates a skew in our communications and interpretations of our relationships. It’s like a flawed logic problem a reasonable logic equation looks like this: if a =b and b=c then a=c ; habitual reaction patterns look like this: if a =b and c=d then a =d. Do you see the flaw? That’s what we’re doing in our communication styles. To be more accurate if a certain relationship gets resolved in a certain way it doesn’t actually follow that always relationships end up that way. Habit reaction patterns set it up as if that is true – we create habit reaction patterns that are descriptive of our early relationships. We relate in past time, but just as we are different the other person is different so we’re interacting in historical time not present time within the same relationship. And we apply those same patterns across relationships. The problem with relating in past time is that you are not actually seeing the person in front of you. Present time interaction means the relationship is happening in real-time and related to current events not past events. It requires fuller, and more complete interactions with questions like what does that word mean to you because it means this to me or what did you hear me say because your reaction to what I said indicates you heard something different from what I meant to say. Most people in daily interactions want a short cut they want a faster degree of communication do the habit reaction pattern feels like it’s better. The problem is that although it’s faster it skews the interaction so that over time two individuals interacting in this fashion will ultimately feel unheard, unseen, and unappreciated in the relationship – generally not the goal of relationship.
Okay great, so how do we more accurately hear, see, and feel more instinctively (and by instinctively I don’t mean habit reaction patterns, I mean something that is a natural response that holds our highest goals and best interests at its center, something a priori – it’s our sixth sense, intuition, that Blink response referred to by Malcolm Gladwell in his book by that name). My first response is to say well it’s best if we listen to that part of ourself early in our lives and don’t push it under and apply the habit reaction pattern to begin with – – but that will only work when our parents are living that way and able to tolerate us living that way – so hopefully current day parents can create that for their children. And this will be the content of a future blog. So stay tuned. For the rest of us who are going to have to unlink charges to our words and actions and those of others the answer is different. A charge is an ident attached to a word or action it’s like a personal note to oneself that says this word or action always means this extra negative fear based thing that requires defensiveness. So that when one hears the charged word or sees the charged action then one feels the charged defensiveness and habitually reacts as such – and guess what that feels like? Right defensive but also it feels like it’s an instinct because it is reflexive. So we interpret that it must be true and we don’t question that it may be a habit.
Okay following this out HOW can we tell the difference between intuitive instinct and the things that feel like instincts that I’m calling habitual pattern reactions? The first step is to again slow down the process – when you immediately feel defensive, question yourself – does it seem right that this person who loves me is trying to hurt me? Now if it does then certain actions need to be taken and we’re no longer dealing with habit reaction patterns but if it doesn’t which is typically the case in relationships then you can begin to follow the thread of when did you feel defensive; what word or action seemed to reflexively bring that out in you? Then you can try to do some investigation about what the other person is actually saying, meaning, doing and see in present time what you feel.
In my experience intuition is a quiet voice in the back of your mind – like the thought or automatic action of getting an umbrella even though it’s sunny and warm out – and then you say to yourself why am I doing this and you leave that umbrella at home and it rains in the afternoon. We’ve all had that happen and then we remember we had an instinct to bring the umbrella but our cognition talked us out of it. Or a nagging bothersome feeling like something is not right in a situation or with a person. Habit reaction patterns tend to be loud thoughts that punch through in your body to the front of your mind saying: danger. Now these are not the blink responses that are like nagging bothersome feelings – the feeling like the hair standing up on your neck, or the thoughts that say: hmm I don’t think that person is okay or I don’t feel this is a safe situation.
Get the difference quiet easy to push away and ignore – loud and pushing through difficult to ignore. The former is what you want to start paying attention to in your everyday life; the latter is what you need to start to question and investigate more fully. Ironically, completely counterintuitive – which is the reason we don’t typically just stumble onto this on our own.
So here’s what I’m suggesting if you want to create balance, start today to observe both those experiences in yourself the loud and quiet and act according to the above equation and see if that makes a differenc in your life and relationships.
I think the possibilities are kind of exciting.
See you tomorrow.