We need to be willing to risk the loss of external affirmation and approval if we are to know ourselves deeply. We need to be willing to risk listening to ourselves as well as others. The validity of our spiritual path can only be qualified by our own experience and understanding. Through a path of contemplation and meditation, we can untangle the conditioning that leads us to prostrate ourselves before authority. By cultivating a deep inner aloneness, we can nurture our inner resources of awareness and understanding. A vision of our uniqueness is born, an authentic vision of who we are as opposed to who we have been told we should be.
When have you risked listening to yourself contrary to others? Have you struggled with developing an “inner aloneness?” Clarify what have been the dangers, the rewards?
Over 35 years ago I was smitten with a passion for working in the wilderness and exploring its terrain through climbing. In technical situations involving ropes I was not always emotionally equipped to sort out what was best for me when others gave commands.
On a day when I was sick and upset I chose to listen to someone else over my own instincts and suffered a terrible climbing fall in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. I am very lucky to be alive yet sustained the loss of an eye and seriously injured my ankle.
For years after the accident I dreamt of climbing down anything and everything vertical. My spiritual work was to come down to earth and to be in my body. Brought to my knees, my psychotherapist held my hand and helped me grieve.
Before this experience I don’t think I ever knew an inner aloneness. I now know it is the work of a lifetime. Slowly I have learned to listen more closely to internal prompts, sorting out what is my truth from others.
While accomplishing much on the outer level to care for my basic needs, there are many subtle levels where I still grapple with confusion in making difficult decisions. A significant example in my current life concerns the publication of a photography book I’ve worked on for the past five years. It is my baby.
The proofs of the book from the printer have been miserable. The colors are off and the resolution has been poor. I’m waiting on a third set and looking at other options. I’ve created my own publishing company to make a high quality book affordable and all the decisions rest in my lap.
I know I need to wait until it looks right, even if I lose money and have to start all over. Can I trust myself to do this? Will I say “no” or let a few things slide because I don’t want to let someone else down? It’s so my tendency to pretend everything is OK.
I’m putting this out to you because it helps to have a witness to my actions. I know my friends will not collude with the self-sacrificing side of my personality.
In this very moment I get how little I have admitted to how painful this has been. Arrgh. Arrgggh. Aarrrggghhh!!
You just helped. I know you are listening. I know someone shares the inner resources of awareness and understanding. I know it is possible for me too.
Your kind response is appreciated.