At the Moment – An Instinctual Reaction

Part I

I wear glasses. Those who wear glasses would understand that majority of people who wear glasses are stuck somewhere between glasses and contact lenses. It’s a situation where one keeps on switching and experimenting between the two only to find the right balance.

Day before yesterday, I was going from my rented apartment to my home to spend the weekend with my family. It’s a weekly routine. Every Friday evening or Saturday morning I pack my stuff, put it in my car and drive down home to spend the weekend there.

This time as I was coming, I knew I had to give my glasses to the optician to change their lenses. My power is still the same but the old lenses of the glasses had become real bad.

I am the kind of person who mostly wears glasses but also keep a pair of contact lenses with me as backup. As I was leaving for home, in a hurry as always, I took a cursory glance at the contact lens case and immediately the thought of taking the lenses came to me.

And then came another thought, “Leave it there only, what’s the need for the lenses. I will give the glasses to the optician in the afternoon and get them back by evening. I can live for a few hours without the glasses can’t I?!”

On the spur of the moment came an instinctual reaction taking me to the path of safety, then came the opposing thought throwing the instinct away.

Part II

As I reached my home town, I gave the glasses to the optician in the afternoon and came home. Spent the day with family without full vision. By evening, as I reached the place to get the glasses, it was closed!

I knew that in order to survive the Sunday and the coming week, I will have to use contact lenses. There was one problem. I never took the lenses from my apartment!

To spend the Sunday and the following week in comfort, I went to another optician to get contact lenses. The guy gave me a pair of lenses and a liquid solution along with that to wear the lenses. Those who know contact lenses will know that the lenses need to be cleaned with a liquid solution and kept in a case. Those who don’t can Google it out!

The box of the liquid solution that I purchased from this new shop mentioned that there is a Free lens Case inside the bottle itself. As I was purchasing the bottle, another momentary Instinctual Reaction came inside my head telling me to check inside the box if the free Case is actually there or not. The fact that I was late for somewhere led me to let go of the instinct once again and trust that the Case will be there.

I reached home and opened the bottle to wear the lenses and… tadaaa… there was no Case! The free Case was taken away by someone, most probably by that shopkeeper himself to sell it at a price. If only I had asked the guy at that moment itself, I could have gotten the bottle replaced with one which had the free lenses Case. But then, nothing could be done now. In the night after taking the lenses out I had to do some jugaad and use kitchen bowls as Cases to keep the lenses!


Thinking of the situation, I see a lot of other places where an Instinctual Reaction has come inside me to do something – raise hand when the teacher asked who wants to be the class monitor, stand up and respond to the teacher when I knew the answer, go on the stage and give an impromptu speech, count and confirm if someone was giving the right amount of cash or not.

More often than not, the Instinctual Reactions of the moment are telling us what to do and what not to at that moment of choice. Many a times we tell a story to ourselves and ignore that Instinctual Reaction. Stories like – I am in a hurry right now, or I have a fear of judgment by others, or there’s always a next time, or s/he is my close friend or relative no need to check on her/him, and a lot more.

A little bit of introspection and you will realize that every time you have ignored that Instinctual Reaction of the moment, you have paid the price. When the stakes are high, we say to ourselves, “If only I had raised my hand at that time, I would have been leading this group of the school band!” When the stakes are not so high, we say things like, “If only I had taken my lenses, I would have saved 300 bucks and a lot of other hassles that followed!”

No matter what the situation may be, the price we have always paid.

Think-it-over: Do you recall any such Instinctual Reaction of the moment from your life? How many times did you do the thing that was coming from within? How many times have you told a story to yourself and ignored the reaction? Did you end up being disappointed and said the If only… statements later after suppressing the reaction?

An Instinctual Reaction coming from within is selfish behavior, coming at the moment of choice for the interest of the self. More often than not, understanding the instinct at the moment of choice and following what it says can avoid a lot of hassles and self-doubts at a later point in time.