The beast that lurks inside

Photo by Vladimir Proskurovskiy on Unsplash

The most primal energy inside of us is the survival instinct.

Turns out, we humans like to stay alive. We’re wired as such. The daily struggle for self-preservation is real.

But in the last couple thousand years, we’ve gone through an evolutionary change. Far fewer of us these days lack food, water, clothing, shelter, indoor plumbing, Netflix, etc. The threat of being attacked by a leopard on our way home from work isn’t a concern anymore (maybe I should speak for myself, I know).

In the modern age, our internal protective energies have shifted towards defending us psychologically rather than physically. So, now, we’re faced with the moment-to-moment battle of defending our concepts of self rather than our bodies. Our struggle has shifted from protecting our bodies against the mountain lion who might be stalking us at any moment to our own inner fears, insecurities, and destructive patterns.

Today, when we see scroll through an Instagram feed of friends who seem to have perfect lives, we’re triggered by the same impulses we used to experience when the invaders with spears raided our campfire.

These impulses are triggered…

  • When we’re cut off in traffic
  • When the client can’t stand our work
  • When the discussion turns political at Thanksgiving dinner
  • When someone leaves us a passive-aggressive comment on Facebook (do you still read those — because we should probably talk about that too at some point)

Our inner defense mechanisms are getting triggered non-stop these days.

I know we have it good in this increasingly ‘safe’ world, but I find that battling a wooly mammoth is far more interesting than battling my inner concept of self as I scan through social media.

This is why it’s so hard for so many of us to…

  • Go out and pursue work we love
  • Wear our hearts on our sleeve to establish greater connection with the people in our lives
  • Allow our kids to be imperfect in the eyes of their teachers (or our parents)
  • Boldly shift the creative direction of our project in the face of a committee shackled by mediocrity

Because the thought of doing any of these makes us internally shape-shift into a frightened rabbit scampering away from the sight of a coyote in the brush.

However, you and I both know that these scenarios above (and the ones, I’m sure, you’ve thought about in the context of your own life) have extremely safe consequences, even if we fail horribly while attempting them.

This is why spirituality is so important these days (especially if you make your living creatively where you’re routinely having to challenge industry and societal norms).

I’ve tried to shift away from the topic of spirituality, but I just can’t. It’s too vital. More so than ever, in fact.

Spirituality can help us dance this newly-evolved energetic dance with our inner defense mechanisms.

Because today, the beasts aren’t attacking us from out there. We’re dealing with a new kind of mental/emotional beast that eats us alive from the inside.

Increased awareness through spirituality helps us take notice of what’s going on and remember that in our defenselessness lies our power. That by throwing up protective block after inner protective block, we’re merely shielding ourselves from our biggest life and our best work.

Know that you’re safe. Know that who you are is love expressed in human form. Know that your work is an expression of your soul.

And go forth in the face of your inner attackers knowing they’re mere mental shadows that are nothing in reality.