Thursday, February 21, 2013

An authentic life

Your nature is truth, and when you oppose it, you don’t feel like yourself. Stress never feels as natural as peace does.”

Byron Katie (Loving What Is, 2002).

Tsum Valley, Nepal by Julia Day 2012

Our recent discussions at The Light Tree have revolved around what happens when we attempt to live an authentic life while living in the ‘real’ world. It can be a challenge to stay in the peace of our true nature and live from there with complete trust. Demands from the world quickly emerge to distract us in one form or another.

The conflict between our desire for inner peace and the need to jump up and fix something are often at odds with each other. How do we stay authentic in our relationships while staying true to ourselves?

Sometimes the belief that our spiritual life is separate from our daily life can cause us to lose our center. We find ourselves trying to attend to both aspects of our seeming needs and desires. We feel we need to choose one over the other. Maybe we give up the yoga, the book club, or the painting class in order to take care of our worldly demands when the discomfort of our inner conflict is too great.

But what if we could just use our internal barometer to notice our reactions to thoughts and choose from that place? What if we stood firm and stopped betraying our inner wisdom in order to keep the ‘external’ peace. The anxiety calms down temporarily when we give in to the worlds demands, but the gnawing sensations continue…

Maybe we can just stay present until we get a clear yes, a sense of opening to life. Perhaps the only choice we need to make is the one that gives us a deeper sense of happiness and fulfillment. Ego will always find way to keep us running and second guessing ourselves. Something or someone will appear to keep the guilt running.

In the end, there is only Truth, only Presence. The other stuff is temporary and passes away as swiftly as the clouds move through the sky. We can commit to be one with the sky, the eternal, unchanging ever-present moment. If it doesn’t work out every time, that’s ok. There are no mistakes and we can’t get it wrong. There are just more opportunities to practice.

If there is anything to ‘do’ it is simply this: commit to authenticity in all our daily activities. Learn to say no gracefully. Be determined to practice kindness and compassion with everyone we meet.  If we stray, find ways to restore peace by staying with what gives us joy.  After all, we are all in this together, walking each other home one small step at a time.