Instinct or ego?

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We often curb our instinct and this habit makes us lie, there can be no honesty in it. We have lost what we were born to do, to live and discover and question. If I could but hold a frame of sweet honesty in my head, un-perpetrated by the thrusting delusions of egotism … then I could enjoy bliss.

My brother wrote these words when he was 19 years old. I’m 42 and I only recently realised how easily my ego can corrupt my instinct.

‘Follow your instinct’ a good friend said to me. What wonderful advice, I thought and regularly re-gifted it to others.  It’s just that its not that simple, well not in my experience anyway. If only I had honestly been able to follow my instinct throughout my life, what a better place I would be in now and how much heart ache might I have saved myself, not to mention others. Indeed I’d probably have several failed relationships less in my bag right now.

The problem to me is that emotion clouds instinct and ego smothers it. The more angry, or sad or frustrated I became, the harder it was to follow my instinct for it became obscured by a cloud of smoke. If I waited patiently for the smoke to pass, sometimes I could see the light that shined on the path towards instinct. But when something happened that picked at an old deep wound, the emotion ran so deeply that invariably my ego would run riot before I was even aware of what had happened. I came to realise that the ego is the master of deception creating ‘thrusting delusions’ as my teenage brother said.  In other words it is one powerful mama with an insatiable appetite.  I invariably held a futile jousting match between my instinct and my ego. Futile because the ego almost always won, skilfully deceiving me into believing that I could take whatever route my heart desired. Almost without fail this would be the one that satisfied my ego, and allowed me to move forward safe in the belief that I was following my instinct and the advice bestowed upon me. Basically the ego was a handy, if destructive tool that I used to justify any action I wanted to take. Unfortunately, I’m starting to figure that out, which often doesn’t allow me to take the smoothest path. But perhaps as my brother said ‘if I can hold a frame of sweet honesty …then I might enjoy bliss.’