“The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.“
I see it all around me, and it breaks my heart. People who are confused, disgruntled, and desperate. Their lives are, in some way, misdirected and off track. They feel a deep, inner dissatisfaction, wondering, “Is this all there is?”
I was part of a beautiful conversation recently in which a lovely woman, a veterinarian, was questioning how to proceed in her life. She spoke of the hurt she experiences when, in the name of treatment, she causes pain in animals, and she admitted to the pride she feels from having the status of “doctor,” a level of education her father encouraged her to pursue. Her refrain, like a mantra, was, “I’m confused. I’m confused.”
Although we heard her words, what was apparent to everyone else in the room was her clarity. When she expressed a longing to commune playfully with lots of dogs, as a dogwalker for example, the glow emanating from her filled the room.
I came away asking myself, “Who is she answering to?”
Events happen in our lives, and we are making choices constantly. These occurrences come from somewhere. The word authority means the power or right to decide. It contains the root author, which derives from words meaning to write or create. Our lives are continually being created. Who (or what) is creating them? Who has the power or right to decide?
Asking these questions is essential…urgent, even. This is our life. Right now. The moments are ticking away as you read this.
Who/What Is in Charge?
If we consider who or what has authority for our lives, here are some possibilities.
When we give our power to fear, we make the choice to play it safe. What are we afraid of?
- The unknown
- Success or failure
- Other people’s reactions
Fear is an emotional response to an imagined future. When fear is the author of our lives, we turn away from possibility and live a limited and familiar storyline.
Other People’s Expectations
We frequently hear stories of people pressured out of following their childhood dreams to achieve status, image, or wealth. How many lawyers or bankers hold a secret wish to build furniture or paint? If we are answering to the expectations of family or culture, we are living in a tunnel vision that produces a one-dimensional existence, like a cardboard cutout.
Our Ideas About How our Lives Should Be
Some of us give our minds authority – minds that create pictures of what our reality is supposed to look like. We ignore the actual happenings of life while worshiping our mind-made constructed realities. When we pin ourselves in by ideas of what we should be doing, how much money we should be making, how the people around us should behave, we are asking for trouble. When we let the true, one reality express itself organically, well, that’s a different story.
I received my Ph.D. in psychology over 20 years ago, and, from time to time, I catch myself being identified with the role of “psychologist” to the exclusion of what life is actually offering me. These subtle beliefs can run deep. When we give them authority, we end up being what we think is a husband, employee, daughter, or lover. We forsake the freshness of the moment to play a role that disconnects us from our inner wise one.
Claim Life by Surrendering Your Version of It
At this point, you may be expecting me to stand on a soapbox and proclaim that we are the authors of our lives, that we are empowered to create our realities. This is certainly the view a proponent of personal development or the law of attraction would take. But that is not who I am.
Trying to create a better “you” is fraught with ongoing dissatisfaction because there is always something that can be improved in the realm of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The only way out, the only way to be truly happy, is transformation beyond the personal “I.”
So, let’s embark on an exploration to know who is that “I” who is the author of our lives…who is that empowered one. When we look inside, we don’t find it! Really, where is that I? There are thought forms of all kinds and physical sensations. But is there really a thing called a body, a thing called “me” that has your name on it?
It might begin to feel disorienting at this point, but that’s OK, trust me. If we open up even more deeply, all we find is the vibration and energy of life. We are alive! This is real: the current of life.
So who is the author? Call it God, the divine, the life force. The label doesn’t matter. What does matter is who/what we answer to. We are not in charge. When we surrender all false authority, what remains is clarity, intelligence, and perfect guidance that whispers when to stop, go, turn left or right, when to pause.
There isn’t much we can choose in this existence, but the one choice we have is the ultimate one – what we revere. Do we pay homage to fear, our own and others’ expectations, and unquestioned beliefs, or do we bow in humility and allow reality to show us the way?
One is an uphill struggle that mutes our existence. The other effortlessly lights up the world.
Do you connect with your inner wisdom? Do you wrestle with what it tells you? I’d love to hear…