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.