Beast Mode

Beast Mode.

We all have one—a way of reacting to the world that does not involve higher-order, logical processing capacities, nor does it draw upon loving compassion for guidance. This level of reactivity conjures up a survival instinct far more primitive, and it triggers violent behaviors that are far more primal. 

Beast Mode switches on automatically whenever we experience a direct (real and present) threat to our very survival. The energy surge that enables a mother to lift a massive car off an injured child? Beast Mode. The impulse to fling the entire family into a car and barrel through a blazing wildfire to get to physical safety? Beast Mode. The decision to tackle an active shooter in the instant he stops to reload? Beast Mode. The compulsion to run for your life when the shooting starts? Also Beast Mode. 

It’s vital that we do have access to Beast Mode for our own survival, because our physical bodies depend upon it for protection from the more powerful energy flows that exist well beyond our personal control. The challenge? Because we all have a beast mode, and because the primary characteristic of Beast Mode involves switching off instantly our capacity to reason, as well as silencing our more complex emotional center—which it does in order to make certain that all incoming emergency signals get directed where they need to go, and that enough physical energy flows to the body parts that need to react most urgently to whatever emergency is arising for us—we remain expressly vulnerable to anyone who seeks to stimulate us deliberately into activating our Beast Mode. For once stimulated into Beast Mode, we automatically surrender the power to reason, and to feel our more complex emotions, in exchange for a temporary surge in our physical capacity to react to a direct threat upon our lives. 

Beast mode can feel good when it expresses, because it feels strong, alpha, decisive, bold, brave. It enables us to jettison the delicate inner balance between mind, heart, and body that normally keeps our physical dynamism in check. Unleashed, however, Beast Mode enables us to violate civil norms and act violently, selfishly, cruelly, and unapologetically in service to our physical survival. It therefore represents the absolute id of the life force itself, powering up within us and then erupting into the world in a furious outburst of physical energy.

Because it can feel good to express Beast Mode, some people become addicted to the powerful energetic surge that they feel whenever this inner demon comes out to play. Such people can even become conditioned to make Beast Mode their first strategic reaction to the slightest provocation that they suspect may exist “out there” or “in the future.” They learn how to use their minds not to reason through a complex challenge properly, but to tell melodramatic life stories that justify allowing Beast Mode to become their default mode of engagement with most other humans. I find this approach to be a horrible misuse and a waste of the rational mind. It causes people to grow addicted to outrage because outrage gives them an excuse to let out the mindless rage that makes them feel powerful.

Others feel terrified to even acknowledge they have a Beast Mode, and repress it ruthlessly out of fear of what they might do if they ever accidentally unleashed it. These people decide that—rather than get to know Beast Mode and become more masterful at learning how to use it appropriately through greater conscious awareness of both its gifts and limitations—they would do well to tenderize the entire universe sufficiently, so that Beast Mode becomes obsolete in humankind. Some refer to this repressive impulse as “spiritual bypassing” because it avoids the dark and treacherous work of turning inward to meet and explore one’s own Beast Mode. These people, who preach only love and light by cursing the darkness, have condemned Beast Mode before meeting it directly, so they tend to be repulsed by its existence, which they then find seemingly everywhere they look…just beyond themselves. They may even call themselves empaths, but all too often they hide behind the concept of empathy as a means of avoiding acknowledging Beast Mode in themselves. Being “too empathic” to tolerate Beast Mode when it arises in others can often be simply a fear of Beast Mode masquerading as “highly empathic distress.” A fancier, more acceptable name for fear. 

Getting to know Beast Mode—befriending it even—therefore seems essential for our capacity to experience genuine communion and participate successfully in collaborative, creative endeavors. Why? Because those in denial of Beast Mode within themselves cannot be trusted to collaborate congenially once their pressure points get unexpectedly triggered. And those whose “go to” reaction defaults to Beast Mode once the slightest stressors appear cannot be trusted to not disrupt the collaborative creativity underway. 

Those who accept the existence of Beast Mode within themselves, and who have unflinchingly observed Beast Mode in action (both internally and in others) appreciate that—like so many processes in this world—it belongs to the class of energetic behaviors that serves us best when it remains fully available, freely accessible, and rarely (if ever) used to achieve the desired objective. 

We are not here to slay some angry, exhausted beast who lives within us, nor to reject it as “unworthy” by locking it away in our subconsciousness and losing the key forever. For it isn’t “a being”, so much as a way of expressing. We are here, therefore, to relax and allow our personal Beast Mode to find its proper place in the human toolbox of energetic ways to self-express. This will allow Beast Mode to be fully loved and accepted for serving us in its highest and best energetic expression whenever its energy is truly required.

— Eileen Workman
Author of Raindrops of Love For a Perfect World
and Sacred Economics (The Currency of Life)

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