• Ariela Sarai

Instinct vs. Intuition

Lately I have been noticing that we use these words interchangeably. We say "My instincts tell me to leave this relationship” or “My intuition tells me to stick with this job." But are they really the same? Instincts are vital when it comes to survival. But it is important to discern the difference between instincts and intuition when it comes to our personal goals and our path of evolution.

Harry Palmer says "Instinctive mode is principally motivated by survival... It consists of pre-programmed behaviors: to hunt, to hide, to control, to feel secure..." (Private Lessons p22) "In the intuiting mode the spirit takes on the characteristic of a higher self... It has the ability to lead others skillfully and wisely. And, if invited, will use its vantage point to guide the ego." (Private Lessons p30)

Knowing the Difference

Instinct and intuition also have different motivations. Because our instincts are designed to keep us safe and help us survive they usually come with bodily sensations and are loud and hard to ignore. There may be a feeling of threat, being triggered, of alarms going off. The motivation of our intuition is to grow and to be in service and to fulfill a higher purpose. It is a more subtle voice, with a sense of inspiration, exploration and forward movement.


When we want to evolve, it requires stretching out of our comfort zone. Very often we start out with an intuition to create something new, then we encounter obstacles. This is the point where instincts cause many of us stop ourselves. One of the most common misconceptions is that if there are obstacles to overcome, or any discomfort, we are not on the right path. If we buy into that, we are replacing our intuition with instinct. Sometimes our intuition will lead us in a direction that requires us to really stretch through challenges, and many valuable lessons are learned!

Being able to discern between intuition and instinct is a skill that is worth developing. The Avatar course teaches people to recognize where they are operating from so they can make deliberate decisions. Designing our lives and making choices from intuition enables us to align with our higher purpose instead of reacting to circumstances. When we learn how to go from instinct to intuition, we go from surviving to thriving!

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© 2019 by Ariela Sarai 


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