Instinct: The Natural Guidance System

One day while out for a walk with my dog, Thor, I noticed that his actions appeared to be completely instinctual. He didn’t stop to think about what he should sniff and what he should avoid. His movements were natural as if he seemed to know what was right for him at any given moment. He delighted in every moment. He was so sure of himself, it made me wonder what it would be like if humans followed their noses the way animals do.

As we moved along the path, I noticed how excited he was to be outdoors. It was apparent that being out in the wild, so to speak, brought out an uninhibited joy. He tugged me along the trail sniffing every spot that another animal preceded him and left a message. (My husband calls this part of his walks reading pee-mails). He also left his messages for those that will follow.

Photo by Daniel Frank on

At times he would stop and sniff the air as if to bring himself present to what else was possible and available to explore nearby.

The most fun observation of Thor being instinctual was his delight. He was not following anyone else’s plan for him. He seemed to find joy wherever he went.

As I enjoyed watching him enjoy the world around him, I wondered what happened to those of us that have two legs and a ton of self-made fears, rules, and restrictions.

Photo by James Wheeler on

Did we forget that our natural tendency and instinct is to be happy? Did we forget that joy is always within us, waiting to be expressed? Or do we believe that others have the say on whether or not we could follow our path of joy? Does our fear of what may come in the future obstruct our present moment instincts? Or have we simply gotten into the habit of planning every detail of our lives, missing the spontaneity and creativity that comes with personal freedom?

Whatever the reason, I believe that we all can grow our natural instinct to live happy, joyful lives, regardless of where we are on our journeys.

Perhaps if we paused long enough to be present and sniff the air, we would discover bliss was nearby.

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