Instincts – don’t fight them, mature them.
Its said we have 3 instincts, survival, social and enlightenment.
The first two you likely recognize and know well. The third one may be new to you. I use the word enlightenment here to encapsulate the drive toward growth, development, evolution, complexity, maturity, self transcendence. The urge to become more: not to have more, likely associated with survival drive; not to be more connected, likely the social drive; to embody and live more of your potential. Not because of what it will get you – food, money, status, friends, love. Simply because of the inherent pleasure of being more you.
Rather than thinking of them as three separate instincts I prefer to think of them as the same life force coming into being and maturing along the spectrum of consciousness.
First life must survive, then connect with and interact with other life, then having stabilized the first two it begins to unfold its potential. Its the same force moving through stages of development. The goal is to get in touch with this force as it expresses its self through each of the drives in your life. Doing so allows you to shift how much of your life force is invested in each drive and to make changes that support your wellbeing and growth.
Notice which instinct is active as you go about your day. What behaviors are being driven by survival, social or enlightenment instinct? As you start to notice, gently question if the behavior and its drive are truly in sync with your life, surroundings, situation. Sometimes we may have survival level energy behind relational dynamics with a friend. You might ask your self, ‘is it true that my survival depends on this friends approval’? Chances are the answer is no – great you have found a place to do some inner work. To free up some instinctual energy that likely could be reinvested at another level.
The task is to evaluate how much energy you are investing at each level then optimize your investment strategy.