I was working with a client on his flash anger. My cat jumped up between us and caught a moth and ran from the room moth in mouth, all in a some seconds. I realized when we have these instinctual responses we often see them as us or as our real selves.
I decided to look deeper into myself and saw that i also do this. When i am using skill i see it as work and when i say whatever i spontaneously want i see it as natural. Yet that is really preferencing my conditioned responses over considered conscious skillful responses. When i look at this i wonder why did i do this so long? Well one feels easy and natural – although not very effective, and the other feels effortful and contrived. Yet we teach children not to just hit each other when they get upset, this takes practice and skill. Once learned not hitting and using words instead feels natural or at least ok. Then once learned using skillful words feels extremely satisfying because we are able to be engaged with the others perceptual system as well as our own. I not only find this connecting but interesting and satisfying. I do not lose anything, I only gain satisfaction – even if i do not get my own way. It is that feeling you may also get when you at least gave it a go instead of just giving up.
I imagine it is the same feeling couples feel when they do couples sessions before they break up. They heard each other, explored together the issues, and from that feeling of giving it their best shot – then they decide. Years later they often still report a feeling of clarity/groundedness that is not dependent on getting their desired outcome.
Is driving a car natural? Riding a bike? Planting a garden? In our current world I recon skill is not only useful but necessary and even satisfying. So i for one and going to start using it in my personal life as much as in my professional work. (another whole blog on is there really a difference anyway? all these separations we make).