Rising above Instincts and the Source of Our Negative Messages

Written on June 4, 2012

I'm plagued by negative messages.  They are in my head.  I hear them so much that sometimes I hear myself saying them.  At one time I'd say that I was talking to myself or something like that.  But not anymore.

Why would I deliberately try to sabotage my own life?  Or why would you?  The answer is that you would not.  These messages are no more from yourself than are advertisements on the Television.  It makes no rational sense that I would deliberately set out to destroy myself.  But I know that these messages will quite literally kill me if I let them.  I know this based on a few visits to the hospital.  My case may be extreme you say, but aren't you too hearing messages in your head that chastise you when you make a mistake, or that can't seem to let go something that you did earlier in the day, or yesterday.

So I've decided to treat them as something external to myself that is out to kill me, or at least undermine my healthy happy existence.    And I want them to stop.  I had someone tell me once that if you have character defects, you first must realize you have the defect, then have a strong negative emotional response to this defect.  This causes you to have a great willingness to have it gone.

Let's talk a little about our brain.  I've heard people say that most of our brain is composed of the same stuff as there is in animals.  And even reptiles.  I get the impression that it's the part of the brain that's not on the outside.  And I've read that what sets apart man from animals is the appearance of a rather thin layer above and to the front of the brain.  We are different from animals because we are rational.  We can think, we can reason.  We can also make rational decisions based on evidence, act intelligently and behave according to our deductions.  This is rational behavior.

In my Zen books, I've read that when sitting (their form of meditation), we are to always sit with a straght back, with shoulders slightly back, and never never never hunched.  Our heads are not to be drooping.  They refer to this type of sitting position as a "majestic" position.  I can't remember the reason for it, but it says to me that we are human beings.  We are empowered.  We have an existence that we are proud of and we never are to grovel, or be less than our higher selves.  Our higher selves is made possible by the non-reptile part of the brain.

Now I think about my spiritual teachings.  I think that one major part of them is our character defects, the correction of these defects, and making reparations for damages we have caused.  Well I've learned that ALL of our character defects are caused by excessive instictual reactions to situations.  The instincts are for acquiring sex, having enough resources to ensure our security (such as money and a place to live), to ensure that we have our social needs met and to feel as if we are part of something or of importance.  All of these things are our lower needs.  The are reptilian.  A reptile behaves like this.  Now we are majestic beings, we are able to rise above these reptilian needs.  And when we don't it leads us to problems.

If you look at your existence rationally, you will see that you indeed have enough to be able to eat today.  You have enough social needs met, you have enough importance, and you probably are not being affected by not having your sexual needs met.  We need very little.  Many of us eat three meals or more a day.  We don't need that; we just do it.  And yet a lot of us eat like we need to eat to store something for the future.  The same can be said for the pursuit of sex and our social needs.  We don't need what we seem to be always pursuing.  It's not rational.

You may know that all of these pursuits are fear driven.  That we may never have enough.  Also very much like a lower animal.

So, if we stop behaving like animals and behave like the majestic human beings we are, our lives will be oh so much better, and we can participate in higher pursuits.  Some mythology indicates that man once occupied a very majestic place on the earth before his fall from grace.  He was the master of all sorts of higher pursuits, and had a lot of power.  Well we've lost that power.  All due to our pursuit of our reptilian instincts.

So my enemy is the reptile.  It is this reptile that is trying to undermine my rightful majestic place in this world.