Living an Authentic Life
I just totally adore looking at these colony of baboons. It is like a village in there and I realize how alike we are as living beings. They are not much different, they live their lives, take care of their young, eat, fight and argue a bit here and there—and most importantly, they enjoy their lives simply. I don’t think they think too much, not in a way we do. We can be so simple if we choose to, like nature itself. When was the last time we actually sit around doing nothing and just bask in the sun? It is so relaxing to watch them as they go about their business, they just seemed so relaxed and the more I see them, the more relaxed I feel too; that is how contagious energy can be.
Nature really is a source of relaxation, simply because you don’t see nature rushing its rhythm. It is only humans that rushes in life. Everything has its own pace and flow. There is really no need to go some place fast, we have already arrived in the here and now.
Have your shadows ever taught you anything about yourself? When you try to catch and chase after it, it goes on forever and out of reach; when you turn around it follows you instead. You cannot grasp it but you know it is there. Authenticity is something like that, it can be an upward struggle or it can simply be something of minimal resistance; the only difference is whether you are chasing someone else’s shadows or simply turning around and letting your own shadow follow you. No matter which path you choose, it will always be a part of you.
“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.”
Have you ever thought about how much time belongs to you in a day? Most people are not aware that they actually have very little time left in their day that they can call their own. As long as you think you have to or need to do something, most probably those time are dictated by someone else like having to go for a job and listening to the boss, meeting clients, tending to family affairs, handling normal mundane stuff and the so-called responsibilities that were taught to you. When you add up all those time that you lost in a day to a whole lifetime, you don’t really live very much. Adding to that is one-third of the time spent sleeping. I am not saying sleeping is bad, on the contrary I believed that sleeping is good just because it is the only time where most people switch their minds off and you need to replenish the lost energy somehow. The mind takes up the most energy expenditure in the form of ceaseless thoughts and most people don’t meditate when they are awake, they are busy serving someone else’s need and chasing after the illusion of success.
If you are meditative however, you not only save a lot of unnecessary energy expenditure but you realize that the moment flows in you and you are able to accomplish more with less struggle. Imagine if you are doing work that you dread, the dreading part takes up so much energy without you realizing it, adding to the action of doing the work itself, you would be drained before you even know it. The only way to escape that dreading part is to do work that is a calling to you. When you heed your calling, it becomes effortless, energy flows and you become alive. In order to heed your calling, you have to be authentic—authentic in a sense that you know who you are and you commit to living your life the way you envision, undeterred by anyone else. You have to be able to differentiate what is it that you want to do and not mistake what others want you to do as your own; sometimes it can be a subtle difference but your emotions can be a strong gauge on who is deciding the actions and directions.
If one is on the path of authenticity, one values something that cannot be valued. That something comes through existence and is built into the very nature of your being.
For living an authentic life, you have to be extremely courageous. It is not a path for the weak. There is a chance that the world would be against you but I have discovered that if you are your authentic true self, only good will come out of it and the universe will cooperate with you to take your efforts to fruition. Sometimes it might seem like an authentic person is a rebel, that is not necessary the case. A person of authenticity is neither for nor against the society. He or she follows the calling of his or her own nature, with existence as the guide. If the society is doing things that are right (the society does many things, some things would have to be right), he would gladly join and follow, but if it is against his nature, he would walk alone. That is the dedication to authenticity and a person like that will only bring true value to another because he decides to walk his unique path, being unique means that he brings something that no one else can bring. For far too long where everybody is trying to be like everyone else; it seems like we are lost sheep being herded together to serve the Shepherd and that essentially makes everyone a slave.
I came across something interesting in Taoism, the Taoists believes that there is no purpose in life and this teaching shocked many people. They believed that life is the purpose. Come to think about it if there is purpose in life than the purpose has to be greater than life itself. What ever you are doing is more important than you as a living being. It is like saying the action of killing and hunting is more important than the animal itself or that the act of a flower blooming is more important than the flower itself. If all the actions of serving a purpose is more important, there would be no need for the variations of the living creatures in the world. The creator would just create drones and make them serve in the factory called Earth. The reason for purpose is so that we can attach a value to things and this helps the society runs a certain way. When one is authentic, one will realize that the most valuable things in life are those that cannot be valued. Love is one such thing. It is like how we work hard to make money and we based our value on the amount of money we make; then we go home and give all those hard-earned money to our wives and children. That action and purpose cannot be valued by any monetary terms. In the end all we are truly valuing are the valueless.
If one is on the path of authenticity, one values something that cannot be valued. That something comes through existence and is built into the very nature of your being and the thing is—it is unique for you so only you can hear it. Since only you can hear it, it doesn’t make sense for others to support or approve of your path. They don’t understand your unique path at all and they have their own to worry about. I have come across lots of people seeking approval to do this or that, they will forever be seeking. The only thing you can do is decide and walk it, your days are not infinite. The true value of your existence will come when you stay authentic to your true nature. I have been dissuaded many times in life to not be an artist, it is said that the value as an artist is worthless, you will only be famous and rich when you are dead or maybe not even then. Friends and family thinks I am crazy, not logical and impractical; living in my dreams and in my head all the time. These are just some of the things you will hear a lot of on the path of authenticity. They do not understand that every worth of gold is nothing at the end. It is never about the end, it is about the now. One never knows when the end comes, one can only know the truth of this moment and during this moment you have a path to walk. Do you want to walk your own path or the path of someone else’s opinions? You only got yourself to answer to when the end days come.