Monday, October 27, 2008

Trust Your Instincts but Doubt Your Judgment

Welcome, beautiful traveler. I greet you wearily but hopefully, in a certain amount of physical pain but with a spirit fairly bright.

Because I'm tired from overwork and my arms and shoulders are warning me not to type too much, I'll see if I can be succinct and to the point here.

What we feel, immediately, powerfully, when we encounter a certain situation or person, is not always correct. Instincts can lead us astray. But no matter what the eventual outcome, our instincts always tell us something. It may be something accurate about the specific incident, or it may be something about ourselves.

The point is, when you feel something nagging at you, or goading you, or enticing you, unbidden, you should explore it and see what it's telling you.

But you have to be careful about how you explore it. Because in pondering our instincts, we unavoidably activate our judgment. We weigh evidence, measure and mutter and debate with ourselves, until we reach a decision. That decision will in some way commit us emotionally, and if we make it incorrectly, the results will eventually be unpleasant.

A good question to ask would be, "Am I drawn toward this judgement because my instincts are telling me it's right, or am I drawn toward this judgment because I desire it?"

When we doubt our instincts, we become paralytic, unable to act. We have no basis for movement, and will usually follow robotically along some path that the world puts before us.

When we blindly pursue our instincts, we are just as trapped, because we are free to act, but we cannot discriminate or plan or prioritize. 

And when we put too much faith in our judgment, we grow arrogant, and will undertake ambitions that are likely to hurt ourselves or others.

But when we trust our instincts, yet doubt our judgment, we become empowered to act with humility. We can say to ourselves, "I choose this course because I have listened to my heart and I think that I know it. But I also know that I may be wrong, and that I may have to correct my course as I move forward."

Well. I don't know if that's coherent, but my arms and my head are too tired for more.

Thank you, goddess of love, for instinct and judgment and a sense of balance.

Lovingly yours,

A devotee


G-Man said...

Unless you have a terrible track record on this subject...Trust your instincts!!!

Strumpet said...

Oh, my GOD!

This is SO pertinent to my life right now it is ASTOUNDING.

I WISH I had more time in this moment, in this exact instant, to read this over and over again.

But, alas, I do not.

I WILL be back to do so however.

This is so spot on, it's uncanny.

It is like you are in my head.

Though, that is not a very fun place to be sometimes...

....but other times it is. =P

Anyhow, I thank you for this post, Devo.

I think you rock.

I will be thinking about this all the livelong day.


Devotee said...


Your version is probably just as good a piece of advice as mine (maybe better) and lots, lots shorter. Good job!


Glad you like -- this is the post I was talking about when I said you'd given me an idea.

I wasn't specifically trying to write it to get into your head, but I'm tickled pink it did!

Strumpet said...

I guess my problem is that I don't even know anymore what my instincts or my judgment are telling me except that I seem to consistently of late not even know what I think anymore.

I wish you had some temple here in Chi-town I could go worship at right now. Seriously, it would just make me feel better.

So, instead I am here at your blog.

Trying to read this post and understand it better because I know that there is simply something in your words that is so what I need to hear and simply ACCEPT.

And, dearest Devo, it seems as though I have just about the same instincts in determining a spider's gender as I do a Devotee's. I meant no harm. I think you are truly great and special and am so glad to have found your words. They make me think and not only that, I LIKE the way they make me think. You have no idea.

I hope you are getting the rest you need and if I could I would rub your sore muscles and try to make you feel better.

Be well, Devotee.

xo to you

Devotee said...

The nice thing about the goddess of Love is that she doesn't need a temple. Her temple is you. Her temple is the world.

And they are one and the same, just on different scales.






Absolutely inimitable.

These things are you. These things are the world. Here are her altars and her pews and all the columns and statuary to honor her. You are in her temple always, and if you look to it, you can find all the sanctuary that you need.

Not that I'm trying to get preachy or anything.

; )

I'm awfully glad you found my words too, you should know.

(I made a funny little typo there, and then corrected it, and then realized that it was kind of cool. I typed "knwow" and as I was back-spacing, I thought, "You put the 'wow' in 'know.'" So there you have it -- apparently I'm glad to knwow you.)

Don't strain yourself trying too hard to figure this post out, by the way. After I wrote it, I said to myself, "Okay, now apply this to your life and the question of Issue X." And I realized I couldn't really figure out which of my notions about Issue X were instincts and which were judgments.

So I decided to take g-man's advice and just let each instance of Issue X play itself out as it comes, and not feel too guilty if I make a mis-step and screw something up.

I am getting some good rest, although I'm up at the moment with a touch of insomnia. Thanks for your concern and the long-distance muscle-rub!

With love as always,


p.s. Please, please, please don't think that my pronoun comment on your blog was in any way intended to be critical! Perhaps I am too vain about my cultivated aura of mystery. : )

Strumpet said...


I am smitten by you, Devotee.

And I have insomnia too.

And my fingers are in need of activity.

I say 'wow' every time I read what you have to say. So, I liked your typo too.

Yes, I was applying this post to my own Issue X, but we'll call my issue 'Issue Z' so as not to confuse the two, and honestly I have no idea what my thoughts are on instinct and judgment for Issue Z; I can't tell which is which. It's so hard. I guess, it's the difference between your gut and your head....but in between those two places lies your heart and I think THAT ultimately is what I have to listen to. Cos the heart guides the soul. It is our instincts and our judgment that makes what our heart tells us all cloudy. Sometimes I get all caught up in the 'shoulds' instead of just listening to my heart in the first place. I don't know. Maybe for Issue Z my instinct was one thing and my judgment was another thing and I don't know...Issue Z is really confusing. WAS really confusing. I think tonight Issue Z has kind of come to the place where it needs to be. And my heart, instinct, and judgment are all starting to align as one. So, I guess that's good.

None of that makes any sense, I know.

I'm scared to go and read it to proof-read.

But, I will.

Ugh, I just did.

But, I'm leaving it anyway.

Oh, and I like your aura of mystery.

It's fun.

Fun is goodness.

xo, Dev-OH!

Dream sweetly when you get there.

Devotee said...

Let's call that agreement of heart and instinct and judgment "The Alignment of the Soul."

It's a beautiful thing, and what's strange is that once it snaps into place, you can almost instantly get past things that have tied you in knots for months. (I typed "knowts" just then. Apparently, the KN gives me trouble. But that's a cool neologism too: the knots in what you know.)

I had an Issue Y that was going on for the better part of a year recently. I recognized early on that it was a recurrence of Issues J, Q, and W - a pattern of poor judgment that's returned several times in my life and has usually ended in misery. My heart was floating on a cloud over it and my instincts were boiling in a cauldron of horror and my judgment was all over the place. I kept the whole Issue Y completely internal for probably 8 or 10 months, first suppressing it, then indulging in self-perpetuating contemplation of it, and then, finally, at last, confronting it in the real world.

And yep, it turned out to be just like Issues J, Q, and W, and I was nightmarishly miserable.

But then I came back here and started blogging again, and I had an Alignment of the Soul.

And I'm completely and totally over Issue Y, to the point that I can no longer even see why I had an Issue Y in the first place. The true nature of Y now seems SO OBVIOUS.

But because life has to make itself interesting, along comes Issue X. Is it just Issue J, Q, W, or Y wearing a different hat? How can I achieve that Alignment of the Soul sooner, in order to avoid making myself (or the other people involved) wretchedly unhappy?

More than anything else in the world, I have a need to cause happiness and to avoid causing unhappiness. So it's very annoying to me that certain avenues for causing happiness carry a significant risk of causing unhappiness instead (or in addition).

I suppose that's telling me that I should stick to those avenues that carry the minimum risk and just work them like crazy in order to eke the maximum caused happiness out of them.

But that's kind of like saying, "Because chocolate cake is bad for my health and fig newtons are good for my health, I'm going to totally forgo chocolate cake and only eat fig newtons." Not only does the chocolate cake remain there, tempting and luscious, but sooner or later someone is going to offer you chocolate cake and you're going to disappoint them by turning it down.

Why does Life make us feel guilty about doing what's right for ourselves? Probably because it keeps things interesting.

Well, this may be the longest and most confusing comment I've ever left, but I think there's some good thinking in there, even if no one but me understands it (and I'm not claiming that I fully understand it myself).

I'm glad you're having an Alignment of the Soul on Issue Z, and what you said made perfect sense, so fear not! All will be well.