about basic Human Instincts and wondering what makes us the way we are. Are we really hardwired? Many of us share the same beliefs and that’s great as long as our general beliefs are decent and well meaning. I just came across an article on the subject that I’d like to share.
Can Human Instincts Be Controlled?
Abstract. Like all animals, humans have instincts, genetically hard-wired behaviors that enhance our ability to cope with vital environmental incidents. Our innate fear of snakes is an example. Other instincts, including denial, revenge, tribal loyalty, greed and our urge to procreate, now threaten our very existence. Any attempt to control human behavior is bound to meet with resistance and disapproval. Unless we can change our behavior, humans are facing the end of civilization. Our problem has several elements. (1) We have invented economic and social systems that encourage greedy behavior, and we have actually institutionalized runaway greed. (2) We are in a state of complete denial about the growth of human populations. (3) Earth’s finite resources simply cannot support 7 billion of us in the style to which we’d like to live. (4) We must make a choice between quantity and quality of human life. (5) To head off the inevitable collapse, we can no longer wait and merely react but we must become proactive. We must find ways to control dangerous human instincts, especially denial, revenge, tribal loyalty, greed and our urge to procreate.
As a wise woman from a third world country once said at the UN: “If the rich countries refuse to share their wealth with us, we will certainly share our poverty with them.”
.©Eric R. Pianka
Then I came upon this enlightening article from India’s “The Art of Living.” I am not a religious person but in this case we can equate the relation to “God” as the divine within each of us. Eat, Pray Love? Which reminds me I must make a trip to India.
There are two basic instincts in human beings and these have been with you in all your lifetimes:
There are two basic instincts in human beings, one is food, and the other is sex. These have been with you in all your lifetimes, when you were an animal and now as a human being. You are born out of these two – food and sex.
It is so beautiful that in this country (India) they connected both of these with the Divinity. Food is connected with God. In the Upanishads, it is said ‘Food is God’. When you consider food as God you will not over eat. You don’t simply stuff food, but you eat food with so much honor. No festival in India goes without food. And when you go to temple the first thing they give is some Prasad. Prasad is just a little bit of food that is given. Without Prasad there is no pilgrimage and no festival. Food is connected with God.
Similarly, sex is also connected with God. Otherwise you keep sex separate and think this is my material life and think of God as different. But here in India, the ancient people, they linked sex to God so that no aspect in you remains away from God. A basic instinct doesn’t remain away from God. So when you honor sex and consider it as part of the Divinity, then your obsession disappears, lust disappears and sacredness dawns. And the basic instinct, from being an aggressive lust, gets transformed into a submissive love.
This is the ancient thought. But some people are misusing yoga for their enjoyment of the carnal instincts, this is wrong. This is a blunder. It should be the other way around. Whenever there is a carnal instinct transform that into a Divine inner experience.
There is a beautiful word in Sanskrit called Atma Rati, union with one’s being, oneself; rejoicing in one’s own self.
There are two things, Prakriti (nature) and Purusha (consciousness). Nature and consciousness inter play all the time. Your body and soul – your body is female and your soul is male. So their coupling is happening all the time, and seeing that union within oneself is Samadhi.
That is why Samadhi is considered to be a thousand times more joyful than the carnal instincts. Whatever joy sex gives, Samadhi is thousand times more joyful because there is no effort, and there is no action there. It is only Being and just Being. So just the Being consciousness, the play and display of consciousness comes to one’s awareness, comes to one’s experience. This is very beautiful.
Don’t keep any corner of your existence away from Divinity. The Divine should be interwoven into every aspect of your life and this is called Brahmacharya, which means moving with the infinity, uniting with the infinity.
Isn’t that so beautiful?! It is very deep and very high knowledge. If you don’t get it in one time, never mind, keep listening and keep understanding and one day you will say, ‘Ah! That is what Guruji was talking about.’
So here (in India) when you go to any temple anywhere you find both aspects – Shiva and Parvathi which symbolize Prakrati and Purusha, consciousness and matter. This is to first recognize the duality and then see the unity. They are not two, they are not different but they are two sides of the same coin. You are complete.
What does this mean? You are both man and woman. Coming out of this label, ‘I am man’, ‘I am woman’ – Getting out of your identity, this is Vedanta; the highest philosophy of the universe.
We keep identifying ourselves, ‘I am a man’, ‘I am a woman’, ‘I am old’, ‘I am young’, ‘I am educated’, ‘I am illiterate’. Throw away all these labels. What remains is pure consciousness. Do not even say, ‘I am consciousness.’ Just know that you are consciousness and not even say it. Don’t go around saying I am nothing.
Adi Shankar once said, ‘One who labels themselves as something is a fool and one who labels themselves as nothing is a bigger fool.’ One who is nothing does not talk, so just keep quiet. How can you say, ‘I am nothing’, when you are saying something?! There cannot be somebody there saying, ‘I am nothing.’ So keep quiet.
So when you consider the basic instincts of food and sex as sacred then aggression in you disappears and surrender dawns in you. Gratefulness and love dawn in you.
It is so fascinating, isn’t it?!