Tuesdays with a farmer -- Instinct, Intuition and Fear

Student: How do we distinguish between Instinct and Intuition?

Farmer: The way to look at this is your life!  Don’t look at some books you have read or what people have said.  All points of reference have to be finally connected with your life. Don’t look for an intellectual answer. It will make people feel that you are smart. But it really doesn’t move anything far. Find a reference point close to your life. You get straight into the point from there.  

Instinct is more immediate because it is followed immediately by action. That in which you have the liberty of not acting, you call it intuition. If there is no time, you call it instinct.  Because you have time, therefore, the mind would dwell with it and would delay the action further. Intuitions are often left with thinking about “Should I do this or not” for long time because once the mind gets something to chew on, it will chew on and on. In instinct there is no place for the mind. There is actually something that comes up and you act. That immediacy is in someways forced and that’s why you call it instinct.

Student: Isn’t instinct more attributed to women rather than men?

Farmer: There is no something like “Women’s instinct” . It’s just a feminist way of acting. There is a feminine and masculine part to every person, no matter what his physical strength is. And that part will always be like that. It is not the one that analyzes. It is the one that acts out of a different kind of knowing. It doesn’t act out of a knowledgeable knowing. Men are often surprised by what they do instinctively.

This can be seen in the whole idea about left and right brain. People who have become very cartesian need to have some physical entity and hence we have left and right brain. Actually there is no left and right brain. It is actually a part of the whole. That’s why we have the whole thing about yin and yang and together the union exists. There are also yin kind of businesses and yang kind of businesses. Those who are able to do this in a balanced way, often times do much better. There was a time when masculine kind of businesses did very well. That seems to be turning around and you find more and more of services. Service is a feminine kind of quality. Service industry comes from the whole way of wanting to give as opposed to wanting to grab.  

Student: When I see a snake, I freak out and run. Is this also an instinct?

Farmer: Your fear has not come from deep experience. It arises from the lack of experience. You have now created the image of the snake in your mind and that’s fearsome and therefore you freak out. If you stay with snake for long enough, you would know how to handle a snake. You would see that there is nothing to be frightened about. Because you see fear is not a rational fear. Infact no fear is rational. All fears are irrational. They are based on an image of something happening that you don’t want to have happened. It comes from non-acceptance. So, it has nothing to do with past experience in the sense that you have now got an fearsome image of the snake and therefore snake makes you fear.  The snake reacts instinctively to your fear.  They don’t analyze it. They sense it.

You would have children some day. One of the things that often happens is: you make carbon copies of yourself. The things you are afraid of, its strange, your kids  also tend  to be afraid of.