Instinct is all there is

By Philippe Nirav


p1070268It has been a rich creative day and the sun is setting.

The phone rings and I am being asked if I could write about “Instinct “. Short notice sorry.

“What? Instinct? Now? …Oh, okay, YES! “

I have never thought about Instinct. It is not a word I use much and I have no idea what I will write. But I say “yes”. Something will come and I know it and I trust it.

This is the way I love moving through life.


And here I am looking at the sunset and recalling what I used to call my day, my thoughts, and my actions. I love trying to find something that I obviously did today, maybe that watercolour painting that I started after lunch, maybe that morning walk in the forest that I initiated, maybe this crazy idea to write about Instinct. But no matter how deeply I investigate I invariably come to the same conclusion: I didn’t think a thought, didn’t initiate anything and didn’t decide to go for a walk. Certainly all those did happen.


I just turned 50 and I love to look back at my life and see how everything has been unfolding since the very beginning. My first memory brings me sitting on a bright green sofa and I can barely walk. I am about 3 years old. I still remember noticing how every move, every word, and everything that happened around me was just happening on its own. I could see that life is moving through people the way it is moving through the clouds or the ants on the floor.  I remember looking up at the adults and knowing they were mad and deluded. I remember the clarity I had through those little eyes, and I remember feeling very alone with it.


Those years have been an incredible journey where I have been blessed to touch the stars on many occasions and rock bottom on quite a few others. I have known the depths of sorrow and the highs of presence and love like few people have. So many twists and turns, so many rainbows, so many dark valleys and sunlit peaks have blessed my path.


I have been a spiritual seeker since that day on the green sofa and probably much earlier. Since as long as I remember I knew by instinct that there was more to life than what I was expected to see. I knew I didn’t know who I was and I had to find out. I didn’t know what I was after. I didn’t know the nature of that thirst. I didn’t know why I had that longing that no one around me seemed to have. I didn’t know. But the instinct was there, the deep unspeakable knowing was there, the unshakable longing was there nagging. I was ready to give my life in order to quench that thirst.

Instinct has been my most intimate friend since the very beginning. Instinct is by nature always right because instinct is the very breath of existence.

How I came to trust my instincts before my intuition or my reasoning is a mystery that I won’t try and elucidate but it has been the greatest blessing. Everything beautiful that has happened in my life has come out of that unknowable space.


What I know today as an unshakable truth was with me all along in the instinctual form. I knew and I didn’t know; and yet the knowing was stronger then the not knowing. The knowing was the instinct. The not knowing was the reasoning.

Instinct is knowing without reason. Instinct is the deepest form of intelligence.

Instinct is creativity, instinct is the unfolding presence of life, instinct is trust and love forever united. Instinct is fearlessness because instinct is all there is.


Instinct is the bird on the wing and the autumn leaf dancing in the wind.

Instinct is the universe forever giggling.


Now the sun is well set and the first stars are appearing. Again I look back at how this “okay I will write” appeared, how this piece of writing has been happening, wondering where all those words are coming from. I once more have a closer look and once more see that I didn’t write a single word. This life is unfolding here is front of me, under the grace of instinct, now and forever.