“Every man has his instinctive mental region within him and from it are constantly arising impulses and desires to perplex and annoy him, as well as to serve him occasionally. The whose secret consists in whether the man has mastery of his lower self or not. From this plane of the mind arise the hereditary impulses coming down from generations of ancestors, reaching back to the cavemen, and still further back into the animal kingdom. A queer storehouse is this.
“Animal instincts—passions, appetites, desires, feelings, sensations, emotions, etc., are there. Hate, envy, jealousy, revenge, the lust of the animal seeking the gratification of his sexual impulses, etc, are there, and are constantly intruding upon our attention until we have asserted our mastery. …
“These things are not ‘bad’ of themselves … but that does not mean we should the beasts loose upon ourselves or others. … We have outgrown that stage of development, and it is ignoble for us to return to it.” ~William Walker Atkinson
The beast within is something we all have. That primitive, instinctive part of the mind that reacts without much thinking. The primitive instincts that served us well when we live in jungles and had to run from lions and bear as a moments notice. For most of us, those days are way in the past. But many still let that part of the mind control much, if not all, of their behavior.
It’s a lot like when you are in the water and have to choose whether to float or swim. If you simply float, you don’t get tired, but you have no control over where you go. The currents carry you like a piece of driftwood. If you actively swim, you have to work harder, but you can now control where you go and when. Letting the beast mind control you is mental floating.
If you don’t thing you are letting the primitive beast within control you at least some of the time, consider the following:
- Are you willing to ban all members of a religion because a few of them have committed crimes, while ignoring the fact that even more people of your own faith have committed similar crimes?
- Have you bought guns, locks, fences, alarms, and many other things to protect yourself from non-specific dangers?
- Do you react emotionally to things you see happening rather than thinking before acting?
- Have you sprayed everything you touch in the gym with antibacterial sprays, then taken pro-biotic pills to get healthy bacteria back into your body?
- Do you vote for someone who promises to maim, kill, destroy all the thinks you fear, without specifying how he can possibly do such a thing?
If you are honest and answer yes to some of these question, or similar ones, that you are being controlled by tour beast within, at least occasionally.
Beyond the Beast
There is a beast within, but there are also higher levels of consciousness. First, there is the level generally called “reason”. This is the level which can think and find the best solution for problems on the material level. This is the level that says it would be better to call animal control when you have a bear in your back yard. The beast within would suggest either wrestling with it, or running down the street screaming like a banshee.
This higher mind is the one that solves problems. It is the place where mathematical formulas are formed. It is where scientific investigations are conducted and theories formed.
But even beyond the reasoning mind and the beast within there is a spiritual mind. This “mind” when fully activated, has knowledge that goes beyond the physical. This is the mind that knows the spiritual dimensions as well as the physical, and how to function wisely in all of them. With this mind, St. Francis would have talked to the bear and asked him to leave. With this mind, none of us would be fooled by lying politicians or deceptive advertising.
Unfortunately, we enter the material world with this mind in a dormant state. This ‘mind’ is the Soul. Only the soul knows worlds beyond the physical. So if we really want to get beyond the beast within, we need to make the necessary effort to awaken the spirit and soul with the light of the spiritual sun.