Our level of thinking is directly related to our authentic self. The more we think, the less authentic we are and the less thinking, the more authentic we become. It’s a conundrum. How do we lessen our thoughts without overthinking it? Some people are masters at switching off and allowing their flow of thoughts to gently drip at a slower pace. Others find that the more they try to turn off the thinking tap, the more gushing and muddied the waters become. Meditation is generally cited as the best approach to quietening the mind. However, it is not a quiet hat to pull over your thinking cap to silence all your thoughts. It takes continuity of practice.
The road to authenticity begins at the point when we can no longer live with our conditioned self, the self bound by tradition, beliefs and expectation. We may come to this point through a personal crisis, or perhaps we might come in contact with an authentic person who ignites the flame of the authentic self within us. In my case, it was a combination of both. If we do not undertake this journey, we will continue to struggle and blame others for our shortcomings and frustrations. Worse still, we will project our dissatisfied self onto the people around us. Life is a mirror, it will reflect and attract the many facets of our character. Everyone is living a life created by their thoughts and these thoughts are generally caused by early conditioning, limited beliefs and expected achievements.
We must allow the emergence of our authentic self, we must encourage it, water it with conscious exercises such as breathing. Read the words of spiritual masters. Practice mindfulness, not only through meditation but in mundane tasks also. Become present to whatever it is you are doing in this moment. Otherwise, we will become misanthropes, at odds with ourselves and our fellow man because we cannot bear to see our limitations reflected to us through their thoughts, words and actions. Every political leader, celebrity or friend will become a mirror which we will want to crack from top to bottom because of the feeling it evokes in us.
Authenticity is a kind of inner rebellion. The true self struggles to outgrow the tight bud of ego, and to bloom in all its glory. After all, it is a seed of the cosmos. No less a star than those spilling forth from any cosmic nebula, straining to make their mark in the galaxy. We are star seeds, planted by the governing principle of the cosmos. To bloom, we must allow our conditioned self to wither, and watch as our authentic self flowers and brightens up our corner of the universe.
The embrace of loved ones, moments shared in a busy café, or the joy of driving to a favourite beauty spot for a bracing walk are all simple pleasures put on hold for almost a year now. Loneliness, illness and death have shadowed our communities and our nations, and the coping mechanisms people employ to deal with stress, anxiety and grief have been stripped away during successive lockdowns. Social distancing, a term in itself that seems to contradict the purpose of society, has caused a secondary impact that will reverberate for years to come, perhaps changing forever our habits and rituals as a society.
We were cautioned about the catastrophe that awaited us if we didn’t adapt our ways and reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. Scientists and environmentalists issued a chorus of warnings about the perilous state of our planet. Our planet was in danger and we, humanity, were the cause. It seems to me that we were always the ones in danger, the planet existed millions of years before us, it knows how to rid itself of threats to its continuance. Maybe it is an arrogance in humans that we felt we must save the planet. We must save ourselves from the reaction of the planet if we continue to abuse its energy supply. The planet has its own intelligence and will deal with us in its own way. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for ignorance. We cannot ignore the fact that we do not own the earth’s resources, we are guests here. If a guest entered our home and started pilfering our belongings, or littering our living room carpet with plastic and rubbish, there’s no doubt we would show them the door. The intelligence that guides us also guides the planet. It too, shows unwelcome guests the door.
Evolution has been happening on the planet for billions of years. The fittest survive, and thrive. Humans have thrived and multiplied to the detriment of other species. There is an imbalance. We must evolve as a species. This doesn’t mean we need to grow an extra thumb or expand our lung capacity. On a physical level, we do need to develop immunity against new viruses, however, the real shift must be an evolution in consciousness. We must develop an innate intelligence that connects us to the governing principle of the planet and the cosmos. If we continue to rely on the opinion of scientists and politicians to guide our path, we can readily ignore their opinions and advice. If we have a direct connection to the governing principle of the cosmos, we shall act accordingly, in harmony with every other living thing on the planet.
We must adapt and learn to interact with each other and the planet in a more conscious, harmonious way. Perhaps then we can return without guilt, or fear to our favourite beauty spots, cafés and bars.