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The Power of Instinct

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Faith & Inspiration

By Charles Towne

Instinct, habit, or willpower?

Baby wood ducks - creatures of instinct - take the leap, literally! At a certain stage in their development they leave their nest in order to survive.

Now keep in mind that the only home they know is that hollow up there in the tree, perhaps fifteen or twenty feet above the ground. This has been their home since hatching.

When that magical day comes - and come it must - the baby bird takes an incredible “leap of faith.”

Understand now, that the little guy can’t fly yet; but it doesn’t matter, he knows what to do. And, knowing what to do, even though he has never done it before, he approaches the entrance, and jumps!

Hey, where is the safety net?!

He hits the ground… and, BOUNCES!

This is all in response to a wonderful thing called instinct.

You and I don’t act out our lives according to unthinking "instinct", and it is a good thing; otherwise there would be a lot of broken bones.

We play out our lives by habit, and something else we don’t hear much about any more, a thing called willpower.

Where does willpower come from exactly?

When we determine that a certain behavior, or action, is going to have a negative result physically, socially or spiritually, we try to summon willpower to not do that thing.

And of course, there is also something else that enters the picture, a thing called COMMON SENSE!

Although, here we have to consider that common sense isn’t all that common anymore!

Baby wood ducks starve to death if they don’t respond to instinct and take that plunge into the unknown. Likewise, we humans - if we defy our natural, God-given instinct (conscience) and don't summon our willpower - we will have a not-so-comfortable outcome. Unlike the ducks, we don’t bounce, and very often we would end up with something other than amicable results.

Of course, we humans are always pushing the limits, venturing into the deep water, defying logic and “venturing where no man has gone before!”

How does common sense, logic, instinct and all this other stuff impact us? Do these traits really affect us, positively or negatively?

And what about those words conscience and willpower? Are they even relevant any more?

“...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report...think on these things." Philippians 4:8 (KJV)


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

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