This is a question that I often hear when people are in doubt, confused or lacking enough confidence in external information to arrive at a sound judgment.

I am however not at all pleased to use the term ‘instincts’ in the title, or anywhere else for that matter. The word ‘instinct’ generally means having a preset behavioral pattern which is genetically encoded and inherited. In other words it is a behavioral template that organisms follow unconsciously and automatically. It very much alludes to a general lack of free-will and creativity.

I believe that the real ‘instincts’ that guide us through indecisive or difficult moments in life run in opposite direction to unconscious and automatically responsive behavior.

In fact it involves our ability to momentarily ‘awake’ from those unconscious cycles of behavior and see through the veil of socially and individually constructed realities. It is a temporary transcendence beyond the compulsive patterns of thought and emotional habits that are ultimately not authentic but socially induced.

Trusting your ‘instincts’, or as I prefer calling it ‘listening to your heart’,is like connecting to a ‘web of consciousness’ in which energy and ideas flow naturally and freely. I have written something about this in the past here.

Of course many people might discard this notion of ‘web of consciousness’ as metaphysical mumble jumble. I think that this notion is a little bit ahead of its time and this is why it might be cynically labeled as metaphysical hogwash with no scientific basis whatsoever.

Yet I believe that time will tell a different story. Future exponential growth in science and the interdisciplinary understanding of our reality – That is the nature of Consciousness, complexity,hyper-dimensional space, Quantum fields and the interdependence of information in the Universe  – will enable us to better understand and appreciate that our consciousnesses are linked and communicate at different dimensions of reality.

Back to the question: “Can I trust my instincts?” or in better words “Should I listen to my heart?”. The answer is a definite yes. Listening to your heart means, amongst other things, listening to your self in a more complete way.

We often read off a situation with a very partial and limited view of reality. We can reason out something on purely rational grounds or just act on it in a way that is socially accepted as viable or good. Yet by not listening to our inner motivations and feelings we are only tearing off a few pages off a book without actually reading the whole story.

As I said in other articles, I think that wisdom is when your knowledge and reason are aligned with your heart. If not, even the brightest intellect can be consumed by internal conflict between reason and feelings, or minds and hearts.

In fact listening to your heart, is more of a passive thing rather than an active thing. It doesn’t involve doing more but actually doing less – such as setting your mind free of habitual thinking and switching off your ‘social filters’. It is like the ancient Chinese concept of ‘Wu Wei’ or effortless action. It’s about being still and in that inner stillness your mind and heart resonate together in a more complete self or whole.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Tracey


    I completely disagree that instinct is a contrived or learned set of behaviours. We may be evolved but we are all animals our instinct is exactly that, it is not learnt it is intrinsic,apart of us from birth. The learned behaviours through life and consciousness as we grow is our head rationalising our natural instinct, our intelligence that enables us rationalise emotions and situations is to the very detriment of our “instincts” that are 100% never wrong. It’s that knowing feeling something is wrong, when someone lies or you get an uncomfortable feeling about someone or a situation or a food etc never try and get your head to rationalise it like we have all been taught to do as adults. trust those feelings no matter how much they may disrupt a set oath you are on that you would rather stay with. Listen to those feelings, instinct, inner voice or your soul whatever you call it follow it and you will never go far wrong xxx

  2. Topi

    I’m also not a fan of the word “instinct”, for the same reasons as you. But I do like the term “listening to your heart”. I definitely think there’s something inside us that speaks to us when we need it, and I trust my inner voice because it’s never let me down. Sometimes when my head is full of distracting noise, it’s my inner voice that calmly shows me the way.
    .-= Topi´s last blog ..10 moments to savour during the day =-.

  3. Gilbert Ross

    Hi char,

    What a great quote! Those were actually the words I loved most from the teachings of Don Juan! I’d say cherish the serendipity in your life because it is the precursor of creativity.

  4. Gilbert Ross

    Hi Kaushik,

    I like the order you used – Awareness, releasing than listening to your instincts. I absolutely agree. Thanks

  5. Gilbert Ross

    Thanks Evita!

    Yes ‘intuition’ is the word I like best too 🙂 Nice way of explaining it. Yes I think that when we grow in conscious awareness and tap into that awareness, inner creativity is one of the results which spurs the best decisions.

  6. Evita

    Hi Gilbert

    Great article and I have to agree with you about why the word “instinct” is actually not the best choice of words.

    It is so true, instinct can be generated by any animal, and normally has little to do with conscious thinking, but lots to do with built-in behaviors and patterns.

    I personally like to use the word intuition. I know some are very comfortable using this word, while others think it is some fairy dust 😉

    But the more I grow in conscious awareness and connect with myself, the more I realize that yes, our hearts and souls speak to us, and whenever I tapped into that energy, I have always come out making some really awesome decisions, and was left in an amazing place in my life.
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..A Special Encounter: Darshan With Mother Meera =-.

  7. Kaushik

    Awareness, releasing…and then listening to instincts happens. In my case it’s been slow and steady.
    .-= Kaushik´s last blog ..A Chinese Finger Trap =-.

  8. Yes~ I am all for following one’s heart. How did Castaneda say it, “Does this path have heart?”

    I am getting better at following my heart; discerning yearn from need (the head/ego). My life can be very serendipic in general, sometimes this makes it difficult to discern a meaningful coincidence or an ego-bound latching on to what I want to see.

    No wonder life is such an adventure ~:-)

  9. Gilbert Ross

    Well said Eduard,

    Sometimes our ‘instincts’ can be tainted and confused after many years of limiting beliefs and distorted self-image. I think that is why listening to your heart requires ‘unlearning’ some old ways and discarding some old beliefs. In fact I believe that listening to one’s heart is a passage to authenticity and self-discovery.

  10. Hey Gilbert,

    I’ve been asked this question a lot lately. It seems like a common topic for the people I meet. And I always say one thing: you can trust your instincts, if they are well tuned to the world, instead of founded on limiting beliefs. A shy person will always be told by her instincts that others judge her, but her instincts will usually be wrong. Because they’re polluted.

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